How Can You Improve Your Cycling Performance?
Cycling has kicked up a storm in Australia since the 1990s. Over 4 million Australians ride a bike for recreation or transport, with over 50% of Australians owning at least one bicycle. And now, the popularity of cycling as a sport is at an all-time high, ranking 5th among Australians’ favourite sport. Moreover, covid has caused an increase in bicycle imports to Australia, as well as an increase in sales of bicycle cleaning products, as reported in reputed shops like Morgan Blue in Australia.
Benefits of Cycling
So, if you haven’t already, you should consider cycling. 5.6% of Australians suffer from at least one form of cardiovascular disease, and cycling is an effective cardio workout. This activity also targets a wide range of muscles, from your calves to your lower back and shoulders. Cycling also increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness, and if you also use a bicycle as a mode of transport, you get two birds with one stone.
How to Improve Your Cycling Experience
Only 8% of all the cyclists in Australia participate in a competition, while the rest are mainly enthusiasts. So, if you are an enthusiast, you will want to concentrate on improving your form and performance as a means to enhance your riding experience. And if you do plan on competing professionally, the following tips can give you a head start:
Any good ride consists of three main components – the rider, the gear, and maintenance.
- Proper mindset: A proper mindset goes a long way in improving your performance. Approach cycling with the same enthusiasm you would with a favourite television show, and be consistent and engaged. Studies show that having small, achievable goals every week will bring you closer to mastering cycling. Nevertheless, it is a better approach than to try and placate your ego by setting much larger goals all at once.
- Proper posture: A study showed that riders with a bent torso and bent arms managed to shave off 90 seconds off their time compared to when they rode with a straight torso.
- Bonus tip: Observe how you take your corners. Try to keep your outer pedals down and inner pedals up, and the exertion of force on the outer side gives you greater control over corners. Also, avoid braking while taking a corner, and instead, break beforehand.
If you are serious about your cycling journey, it is a good idea to consult a professional to guide you on buying the right gear. It is important that the frame of the bicycle is apt for your height and weight, as it reduces drag and also minimises the chances of injury. Moreover, consider investing in a good set of aerodynamic wheels, an aerodynamic frame, a lightweight bicycle, and a set of lightweight wheels.
Just having the right gear is not enough to gain that edge; you will need to maintain your bicycle. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds and looks, and in the long run, it saves you money by preventing the deterioration of a component. So, consider stocking up on the right cleaning and lubing products, such as the ones you can get at shops like Morgan Blue in Australia.
- Chain dynamics: A dirty or dry chain wears down the chainrings and cogs much faster than usual. It also hinders efficient shifting, thus slowing you down significantly. So, it is a good practice to clean your chain after every ride. Besides, once every couple of rides, you should consider lubing and wiping it down. Meanwhile, pros use dedicated tools such as cassette brushes for thorough cleaning of the sprocket.
- A clean bike makes for a happy rider: Once in a few months, and every time after a muddy ride, you must wash your bicycle. Pay attention to degreasing the chain, clean out your brakes thoroughly and brush out the dirt stuck to the bottom of the frame. You can also consider using a cleansing agent which is infused with protective wax components to give your bicycle that glossy shine.
These are just a few basic tips that can help you enjoy your cycling while also ensuring that you improve your game consistently. The National Cycling Participation Survey shows that age and time are the primary contributors to a reduction in cycling hours. So, keeping this in mind, it would serve you well to consciously make time for your cycling endeavours. And slowly, but surely, you will see the results.