/Shift up a gear - 5 Tips for Spring Cycling

For some of us casual cyclist, spring is the time of the year we take the bike out of storage and decide to put some pedal to the metal. Here are some tips to help you shift up the gears quickly this spring.

1 Give your bike some attention

Before you jump on your bike and head off to start of the season make sure you have thoroughly checked its condition. If you are a good mechanic, you could to this yourself, or have your local shop. For a quick initial safety check follow these tips

For a more detailed tune up follow these tips  or check out this YouTube video.

If you are in the market for a new bike, bike selling has come along way and we definitely recommend you to go to a bike specialist, who will check all your measurement and custom adjust a bike that is right for you.

2. Footwear essentials

British Cycling do a good job at presenting the key argument for purchasing cycling shoes (cleats).  "When cycling, you have three contact areas with your bike. Correct handlebar set-up is essential for safe handling, comfort and optimal aerodynamics.  Choosing the right saddle and positioning it correctly can genuinely make the difference between cycling bliss and a long painful journey. The third contact point are your pedals and these are what link the bike’s engine, your legs, to the bike. In just an hour of cycling, you could be performing well over 5000 pedal strokes so it’s essential to get this key area right.

The main problem with cycling in running shoes is that they’re too flexible. This means with every pedal stroke some power is lost as your shoe flexes. This flexibility also results in your feet constantly having to flex which can result in uncomfortable soreness and fatigue. You’ll feel large amount of pressure through soft soled shoes which can also lead to soreness and hot spots developing. Stiff soled cycling shoes solve all these problems and ensure that the maximum amount of power finds it way from your legs, into the pedals and ultimately onto the road."

FootBalance custom insoles customise your footwear further as they support your foot type and your feet properly for better power transfer and efficiency while maintaining good circulation and comfortable feet while bike commuting, road racing, mountain biking or downhill riding. Again top bike specialist will have a FootBalance foot analysis podoscope in store and can quickly assess your foot type and its impact on your power transfer and alignment.

Some really good tips on setting up your cycling cleats

2 Motivate with company

Sometimes a little motivation is needed as we start the season, so ask a friend or look for a cycling club to join. It often helps to have a schedule to join with others to keep you sticking to the task.

3 Plan a route & dress appropriately

A common reason for not cycling is often not really knowing where to go. Do a little searching online, review Google Maps, ask some friends and plan a short route to start with. Having a route planned with give you that extra push to get on your bike.

Spring weather is of course unpredictable so it is good to have the appropriate clothes for the weather but also to have some extras that you can always put in a backpack or into your pockets. Gloves, arm warmers and light rain jackets perfect for taking on or off easily if you find conditions changing.

5 Build your power & ramp up slowly

If you are just starting back it is not a good idea to plan long cycles but instead build up your stamina and muscles. Ramp up slowly! Spring knee is a very common affliction—a form of tendinitis manifesting itself as sharp pain across the top of the kneecap. Spring knee results from increasing the miles too quickly and/or the weights in the gym. Increase your weekly rides by 10 to 20 percent to begin with.

Shift up the gears and enjoy a speedy spring :-)