Cycling

cycling is another excellent way of increasing endurance.

In that same way, cycling isn’t intended to improve the speed, but to do something towards basic endurance.

Together with Nordic walking and running, cycling is another excellent way of increasing endurance. In that same way, cycling isn’t intended to improve the speed, but to do something towards basic endurance. Bicycle is appropriate for any age, because it is a sport that takes more care of the joints, comparing with running, due to the fact that most of the body load is on the saddle and not on the knee articulations. Besides the fact that cycling takes a better care of the environment, it is the ideal start for people who have been long time without practicing any sports. Cycling improves the function of the circulatory system, lowers the blood pressure and strengthens the immune system.

A few minutes after beginning to move, the joints start to get irrigated, and at about 50 min the lipid metabolism is stimulated.

To strengthen the back, the trunk must be bent slightly forward. The uniform movement of he legs during cycling strengthens primarily the lumbar spinal zone and so it prevents pain. An important requirement is that the bicycle is appropriately adapted to the body of the user to prevent tiredness and pains over long hauls. When cycling, it is better to chose low gears with a higher frequency of pedaling instead of using high gears.

Height of the frame

When standing with the bicycle between the legs, there should be a palm-sized space between the body and the crossbar.

The saddle

The saddle should always be in the horizontal position. The seat post must be inserted at least 6.5 cm into the seat tube, otherwise, the seat post could break. Most manufacturers make a corresponding mark in the tube. How to get the ideal saddle height: stretch the foot and put he heel on the pedal in the low position; at the same time, put the other foot on the other pedal. Now, when changing the position of the foot resting on the low pedal from the heel to the base of the toes (the zone of the foot immediately before the toes) the leg bends a bit: this is considered the ideal position. In order to get a safe position when stopping de bicycle, it should be possible to touch the ground, even with the tip of the toes, when sitting in the saddle.

Saddle characteristics

Most cyclists prefer what’s called the gel saddle. In general, a good saddle should have its tip lowered, so as to reduce the pressure on the perineum and the pubic zone. Specialized, competent retailers offer their customers the possibility of trying the saddle for a few days before buying it.

The Handlebar

The handlebar must be at the same level as the saddle, therefore, the saddle should be adjusted before the handlebar. As in the case of the saddle, the choice of the handlebar depends on the appropriate type of bicycle. To measure the right distance between the saddle and the handlebar, you have to put your elbow on the tip of the saddle and stretching out your forearm towards the handlebar, the space between the tip of the fingers and the handlebar should be about 2 – 3 cm. If at all possible, this measurement should be done at the moment of purchase, but it should be possible to make changes after the acquisition.

Suspension

A bike with suspension unloads the spine and allows longer trips, without physical troubles. The back, arms and hand articulations are protected, because the suspension absorbs the shocks and vibrations caused on bumpy surfaces. You can get professional advice in a specialized store to adapt the stiffness of the suspension to the body weight and other personal requirements.

Training program

Novices must start riding on a flat surface, since mountainous terrain, at the beginning, exacts too much energy and the point of overdemand is easily attained.

  • In the first month, you must ride between two and three times weekly for 45 min in each ride. For novices, it’s better to ride at lower speeds in order to promote endurance, with a pedaling rate of 80-100 rotations-per-minute.
  • In the second month, increase the trip duration to 1 hour and 15 min, and starting in the third month, you can ride without problems 2-3 times a week for about 2 hours per trip.

Safety

  • A delicate matter is the use of the helmet. However, when considering the pros and cons of the its use, it shouldn’t be forgotten that in the case of a fall, a hit in the head can have disastrous consequences.
  • It should always be carried a mobile phone for emergencies.
  • Gloves help to get a better grip and protect the hands in case of a fall.
  • Glasses are part of the basic equipment, protecting the rider from dust, branches and mosquitos.
  • Finger numbing can be avoided by changing frequently the position of the hands and with the use of gloves.