Cycling Health: How to Remain Injury Free 

Staying healthy is important to our overall well being and happiness. Everyone knows this, but cycling health is a matter of staying healthy and injury free so that continuous fitness gains can be made and basically, you can just do more of what you love! Ride that is!   Fortunately, with some simple, routine actions, it’s easy to remain healthy and injury free. 

Bike fit: In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. Whether you’re just starting to ride or you’ve been cycling for a long time, consider the benefits of a professional bike fit.  Fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.  If you aren’t sure what to look for, you may want to notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design.  While your saddle may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving. Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike. Handlebars, stems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety.

Bike Inspection:  Just because your bike may not be making noises or shifting poorly doesn’t mean it doesn’t need some TLC.  Noises are obvious signals for inspection yet, regular bike maintenance is a necessity.  As you ride more through the summer season, some things that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection earlier in the year may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential.  There are several things you want to do to keep it in good working order.  For starters, wipe down and inspect the frame. Remember to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, inspect your brake pads. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.

Wheel Inspection: Obvious inspections includes tires, rims, and spokes. Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires.  But maybe you’re considering a new wheel set?  Or perhaps going tubeless on your mountain bike.  Sometimes making changes to your current setup can inspire motivation to get out there and ride.  Check out our video on Wheelset Buyer Guide for What You Need to Know.  Whether you are thinking about road bike wheel sets, mountain bike wheel sets or just getting some thoughts together on wheel buying parameters and how your wheel set will affect your overall ride and other bicycle parts, this video will guide your way.

Biofeedback: Remember, it’s not all about the bike!  Be mindful of bio feedback.  What is your body telling you? Have you recovered from your last training ride or training block? Do you need rest? Or, are you ready to get out there and put some major miles and efforts in?  If you’re not sure of the messages your body is telling you, read our post, Overtraining? How Nutrition and Sleep Play a Role in Recovery for insights as to the stages of training and what to do about them for best performance.  Fortunately, due to the advancement of technology, there are countless apps available to help dial in bio feedback measurements and evaluations on the fly. 

In a nutshell, if you take care of your bike and yourself, then you will remain healthy and injury free. Sounds simple, and it is, but you have to remember to do it. Safe pedals friends! 

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