Three Tips for Spring Biking


The weather gods have smiled this year rushing in spring and waking people from the great hibernation. A craving to be outdoors and active has ignited and soon millions of people will be outside again.

If you have been active this winter and maintained a decent cardio and muscle tone, you’ll still likely need to prep your body to be outdoor bike ready. Here are three areas to focus on which to help minimize aches and pains within your first few rides.

1. Quads- Squats are one of the most comprehensive exercise to tone your legs into shape. We mentioned this last month as a great exercise to help with hip loosen muscles as well. Start without weights doing 3 sets of 10 squats. Add some weight about ½ your body mass then increase each week as you feel your strength improve.

2. Hamstrings- If you are like me, hamstring flexibility is similar to bending steel. Flexibility can take many months of stretching and strengthening working at it daily. Stretching muscles multiple times a day, like a morning shower or while at work using a chair or stool to prop each leg. Keep your legs straight with a light stretch holding for 30 seconds. There are countless websites and blogs on hamstring stretches so spend a couple minutes to find one you feel comfortable with.

3. Neck/Shoulders- This is an area that tends to catch cyclists off guard during the first few rides. Take the time to loosen your neck and shoulders with a few basic stretches. A great way to stretch and increase strength in this area is a few sets of shoulder shrugs. Keep your arms loose down by your side and rotate your shoulders forward 10x then backwards 10x. If you sit at a desk all day hammering away on a computer, then this drill is good even when not riding.

For those of you who were on a major hiatus this winter, I suggest starting with a short ride at 60-80% of your normal effort. It’s important to allow your body time to re-acclimate to sitting in the saddle and muscles firing as intended. Find a day the weather is cooperative for your first outdoor outing. If you tune up your bike through a local shop or do the basic yourself, make sure your ride is ready to go for performance and safety.

Cycling Fact of the Day

Exactly 48 years ago this spring, iconic Chicago brand Schwinn launched a line of bikes called the “Krates”. In 1968 Schwinn launched the Orange Krate, Lemon Peeler, and Apple Krate.

The bikes were equipped with front and rear suspension, front disk brakes, and a “banana” seat. This style bike came with a smaller front wheel creating a craze of chopper style bikes which were incredibly fun to ride offering an aggressive and appealing visual design.

Additional versions followed in 1969 with the Pea Picker, 1970 introduced the Cotton Picker, and 1971 followed with the Grey Ghost. The bikes sold for about $90, an astronomical price for many families then, and now valued well over $1000.

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