17 Tips for a Stellar New Year of Road Cycling
We all know that New Year’s resolutions don’t tend to stick. You make the promise to do this and do that, and a few weeks in they start to slide. It’s just how it is.
At SportActive, we have your back. Rather than talk about resolutions that may or may not work, we’re providing 17 cycling tips for better performance. You can implement them as and when you can, and you won’t be under pressure to stick to a resolution.
Here we go.
Cycle Tips for a Stellar New Season
1 Ensure Your Bike is Roadworthy
Not glamorous or exciting but vital to excellent cycling, always ensure your bike is well maintained. It is a good idea to get it serviced at least once a year by a professional.
2 Wear the Right Gear
Always wear a cycling helmet and the right clothing. What you wear is seasonal and so whereas in the summer you’ll be wearing a jersey, gloves, shorts, shoes, and your helmet, in the winter you’ll be adding layers to keep you warm on the bike.
For a better idea of what to wear in the cold months, check out:
For more winter cycling tips, Legend Sean Kelly provides us with advice:
3 Carry Spares
When cycling always carry spares in case you get a puncture or some other mechanical difficulty arises. As well as spares, take a bank card and cash in case you need to taxi home. Finally, always ensure you take your mobile/cell phone with you so you have a means of communication. Phones are not just for Strava!
4 Set Goals
Road cycling related goals provide you with an objective and a benchmark on how well you are doing. For example, your goal could be to ride the Mallorca 312 Sportive. As such, your training plan will be geared towards that goal. Setting goals give you focus and you can build other training factors towards that goal.
5 Make a Training Plan
Regardless of level always make a training plan. This gives you focus and something to refer to. You’ll be able to use your plan to see when you’ll have time to train and this can be invaluable in our busy world. Ideally, you want your plan to help you achieve your cycling goals.
6 Cycling Routes
Cycling is an adventure as much as anything else, and as such you shouldn’t stick to the same roads every training session. Don’t be afraid to take a left instead of a right and see where it leads. If you want to combine great road cycling with a great adventure, check out Geneva to Nice over La Route Des Grandes Alpes. It is one of the best rides in the world.
7 Understand Endurance, Strength, and Power
You should think of endurance, strength, and power as the big three for successful road cycling. Base mile endurance is vital to good road cycling as is strength. Once you have both endurance and strength you can focus on power to be a real competitor.
Martin, one of SportActive’s Pro cycling coaches gives you the lowdown on endurance.
For any kind of demanding challenge, you’ll need to understand endurance and cycling nutrition to complete it.
8 Use Training Zones
Training zones are a brilliant training aid. They work by determining your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) which can be done using a heart rate monitor or power meter.
9 Determine your Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
Once you know your FTP you can use training zones to help you train more effectively and perform better in sportives and competition.
10 Understand Cycling Nutrition
What you eat and drink before, during and after a ride is important. What combinations of food and drink work for you may not work for your cycling buddy as everyone’s requirements are different and unique. At the very least, do a little research on the subject so you understand carbs and electrolytes and the importance of keeping hydrated. We’ve published a lot on this topic so follow the link below for cycling nutrition advice.
11 Always Keep Hydrated
This can’t be overstated enough, but you must keep hydrated during rides. Pro teams weigh their riders before and after rides to ensure they weigh the same. Any weight loss after a ride is a sign that the rider isn’t drinking enough.
Dehydration results in performance loss and harm.
12 Pick Up the Basic Cycling Skills
We tend to take the principles of cycling for granted. Turn the pedals, steer with the handlebars, change gear when we need to and brake to stop. This is well and good but when you sit on a road bike it becomes clear that to do it well takes time to perfect.
If you want to take your cycling to the next level, it is a good idea to join us in Mallorca for a road cycling holiday. Here, you’ll learn the basics and soon find you’re taking on climbs more effectively because you’re using the gears correctly.
There is more to road cycling than meets the eye.
While you’re waiting for your camp take a glance at our cycling training tips to get a picture of the correct cycling techniques.
Some techniques you can use right now:
Cyclosportives Cycling Tips
Sportives are a great way to put your training and abilities to the test. So here are some cycling tips to help you ride better on the big day.
13 Learn the Route
Learning the route of your sportive will give you an idea of what to expect. It isn’t just mountain difficulty you’ll discover, but you’ll get an idea of what part of the sportive is likely to have strong winds, for example. You’ll also learn where the food stations are so you can plan when you are going to be able to refuel.
14 Develop a Sportive Strategy
Make a plan to ride the sportive. Learning the route as outlined is a good starting point. Think about what kind of clothing you’ll need. If you are planning to ride the Mallorca 312 or Marmotte Granfondo Alps consider riding with SportActive. You’ll get logistical support including strategy advice, and you won’t have to worry about storing spares or clothing as we can do that for you. On Marmotte Granfondo Alps, we give Tour de France style support with in-sportive riders and backup cars.
16 Ride the Distance in Training
Some schools of thought say you don’t need to have ridden the distance of a sportive on training rides.
However, it is a good idea to know in your heart that you can complete the distance as this gives you the reassurance that the event is achievable. It also gives you a better understanding of the effort involved.
17 Nutrition During Sportives
As stated cycling nutrition is vital to completing any cycling challenge. In training discover what food and drink combinations work for you and determine where you can refill water bottles and buy food by studying the route.
Implement these cycling tips as and when you can. You’ll soon find your performance improving.
SportActive – Faster, Fitter, Stronger