Tips on Cycling to Work

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I am having trouble fitting exercise into my day, so I am thinking of cycling into work. It is about 5 km from my house. Is there anything I should be aware of to prevent injuries and for road safety?

Cycling to and from work is a great way to get exercise not to mention an environmentally-friendly mode of travel. Plus no one charges you to lock up your bike (yet!).

Your first few weeks may be challenging. I recommend cycling to your office on a weekend so you know exactly how long it will take you to get there. If you live in a major city, cycling may be faster than public transit during peak hours.

When you start a new activity it is perfectly normal to earn a few aches and pains.You are using muscles that you may not have used for a very long time (if at all!). The number one thing that you may experience is soreness in the groin; the tissues of this area will become more tolerant in time. A pair of padded cycling shorts is a great solution to help protect this delicate area. (If you are not yet ready to show the world your legs in cycling shorts, you can always wear the shorts underneath your outer clothing.) Wear comfortable, medium to tight fitting clothing (you don’t want your pant leg stuck in the gears) and either cross-training or cycling shoes.

The Journey to Work

Your body needs carbohydrates and fluids to help you pedal your bike. Be sure to eat breakfast before leaving home, and drink some water. (Save your dehydrating coffee for later). Start your pace off slowly in the morning; think of it as a cruise into work. The purpose of the ride is to get your body moving. Unless you can shower at the office, you will want to save your ‘vigorous workout’ for the trip home. When you arrive, do a little stretching (quads, hamstrings, calves, and shoulders), drink some water and have a snack.

You can put in a real workout on your journey home. Take the route home that will be the most challenging (i.e. lots of hills) or take the long way home. This is your chance to ride hard, pushing your pedal speed and endurance. At home complete your work out with some abdominal work and stretching. Remember to hold your stretches for 30 seconds or longer.

Safety First

As a cyclist you have the same traffic rights and responsibilities as motorists. You travel with the flow of traffic and obey all the laws of the road. Signal your turns: left turn – arm straight; right turn – arm bent hand up; stop – arm bent hand down. It is important to be visible to motorists, so wear bright colors or a brightly colored back pack. If you are riding after dark make sure your bike has reflectors on the rear, and pedals. If riding in the dark is a frequent occurrence, then an investment in a headlight would be great safety feature. And, of course, get a helmet: Seventy-five percent of all bicycle deaths and permanent disabilities are the result of severe head trauma.

Keep your eyes on the road and have fun. Cycling to work is a great way to ensure that your day isn’t all work and no play!

About Author:

Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.

 

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