Cycling has taken off as one of the most popular growing sports in the country. More and more people are getting into the sport, whether to just ride on the weekends and enjoy the scenery, or to start training for races. This creates a wide range of cyclists within the sport ranging from the very new beginners to the more seasoned, experienced cyclists who have been doing it for some time and have risen to a physical level far above the weekend enthusiast. It is these experienced cyclists that may actually benefit the most from following a proven cycling training program. Even though many of these experienced cyclists are already training and probably following some type of plan, if you don’t follow the right kind of training routine, you are simply training inefficiently.If you are one of these more experience cyclists, then it might be a good idea to take a second look at the training you currently do. Even if it feels like you are working very hard, it doesn’t mean you are getting the most out of your workout. You have probably spent a good amount of money on your bike and other cycling gear, so why not consider looking into a high quality cycling training program to help you get the most out of your workouts. It is a small price to pay for the increased level of skill you will see from following a formulated cycling training program.Most cycling training programs out there have a beginner section and then move on to more difficult areas. Obviously this beginner information probably won’t benefit you that much, but you might be surprised to find that you haven’t been following some of the base guidelines that all cyclists should be following and it might actually do you good to take a look at those sections as well. From here, the program should become more advanced and offer some more traditional training programs, plus maybe some bonus “rapid results” training programs. Obviously it will be hard to evaluate the quality of a program without trying it for a while, so make sure you do some comparative research to find a program that fits your needs the best.My recommendation is that you look for a program that was created by people who have a cycling background and who seem to possess the history to be able to pass along the best possible information. If you could find a program offered by ex professional cyclists, professional trainers, or some person of similar qualification, you will probably have the most luck.
Are you wanting to cycle to work but scared of the traffic?First you need to ask yourself if you are ready to cycle in rush hour traffic. There is a definite progression from riding the quieter country lanes at the weekends, to riding amidst heavy traffic.However, if you have done a few good rides and are confident in your bike handling i.e. can stop and start easily, change gears and brake without looking down too often, then you could be ready for cycle commuting in traffic.If you are planning to ride to work and want to get started, then remember to get your bike serviced and take puncture repair kit (like you would when cycling at the weekends). You may need lights too, although if you’re just starting out, it might be advisable to keep night riding to a minimum until you know your route well enough.Building Confidence:Successful bike communiting is all about confidence. Your goal is to attain a level of confidence where you’re feeling ‘on top of’ your traffic. When you feel ‘on top of your traffic’, you are essentially in full control and aware of the traffic and situations around your cycling. To do this and gain confidence you need to:1. Go with the flow with the traffic:One of the first things you need to learn is to ride with the flow of the traffic. By this I mean do not start swearing or gesturing to motorists who cut up your path, or who just haven’t seen you, because this is part and parcel of cycling to work anyway.The urge is always there to ‘react’, but this just makes a situation worse and you risk distracting yourself further from traffic around you. What you need to do is ride defensively, but assertively and simply ‘go with the traffic’ instead of fighting it, wherever possible.2. Make eye contact:Never assume that people see you. Make eye contact continually because you want to know that people see you and acknowledge your presence.To get eye contact, you need to look directly into drivers’ eyes and make sure they have seen you. Get eye contact even when you are riding along a priority road and cars are waiting to pull out from a side road. If you haven’t been seen by other road users, then don’t ride on past! The same goes for roundabouts and major junctions.3. Listen to traffic around you:Listening for traffic is another key survival technique that allows you to judge what’s happening around you. To do this you use your ears and listen for what’s coming up behind you.For example, by listening you can tell how close a car is going to pass you and whether or not it’s a lorry, or a motorcyclist, or a fast car approaching.For this reason, wearing headphones is lethal when riding to and from work in heavy traffic!4. Get used to doing multiple shoulder checks:The shoulder check is critical to your safety as a cyclist on the open roads so you don’t collide with other road users.The first shoulder check you do should be when pulling out of your driveway or pulling off from the side of the road. Always check over your shoulder to see if the road is clear behind you, as well as ahead when setting off.Shoulder checks are also useful when changing lane position so you can spot for overtaking traffic.Other shoulder checks are usually used as ‘glances’ to check the traffic situation behind you. Now, when I say, ‘glance’ I mean no longer than a fraction of a second ‘snap shot’. It’s all you need to get a clearer picture of what’s happening behind you.5. Gesturing to change lanes or road position:Gesturing is important for cyclists because you need to let other road users know of your intentions. For this reason, they need to be clear.In the UK, rules of the road state a cyclist should ‘circle’ their left arm to turn right. However, in my opinion although this is a perfectly legitimate way to turn right, many motorists today get confused with left arm circling and what it means.For this reason, err on the side of caution and use either your left arm, or right arm to signal left or right, respectively.6. Position yourself correctly in your lane (advice for UK cyclists):The position that you hold in a lane will depend on the speed of traffic that is passing you:- Fast traffic – keep far left:When traffic is passing faster than you, be sure to keep into the left side of your lane. You need to be no more than about a foot from the curb on the road, but not so far to the left that you hit dirt or continually ride over drain covers (although sometimes you have no choice).- Difficult congested traffic:Sometimes you will want to position yourself in the middle of the lane. If the road is particularly narrow or you feel it is unsafe for motorists to pass you, consider riding in the middle of your lane.Be sure to keep up with traffic though, because motorists will become frustrated if you are slowing them down and they cannot get around you.- Turning off to the right – position yourself far right of your lane:Before taking a right turn across traffic, remember to look behind you with a shoulder check, move to the far right of your lane, then check again before crossing the central reservation.7. Look ahead (as well as behind).Obviously you must look where your are going when cycling in traffic. It’s easy to get stuck behind parked cars, taxis or road works when you’ve not looked far enough up the road!By looking ahead you can make vital decisions ahead of time to avoid a particular road situations from happening. Looking ahead is therefore key to cycling in traffic. In fact, you need to be reading the traffic situation all around you the entire time.There is no place for distraction, so keep your head up at all times so you don’t miss what’s coming up ahead.Final words:The first few times you ride, you will feel nervous. Every cyclist has to start somewhere and yes, it can feel overwhelming to start.However, know that with a few weeks of persistence, you will find yourself getting used to the traffic and becoming more relaxed as you go.Know though that a little bit of nerves never truly leaves the highly competent bike commuter. Competent bike commuters know that they need to feel a little ‘on edge’ to keep them alive and alert i.e. remember, there’s no place for ‘over confidence’ on today’s roads.So, if you put these basic principles to good use on your first few bike rides to work, it won’t be long before you’re riding with confidence and feeling ‘on top of’ your traffic. Good luck!
Obesity is one of the biggest health problems facing us today. While the statistics show that obesity has plateaued in recent years, it’s still estimated that one out of every three adults are obese. Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises available for those who are obese or overweight to shed pounds and get in better shape. One such exercise is indoor cycling, and it’s really one of the best ways to lose weight. Health experts speak highly of it because not only will it burn fat, but will also improve leg strength, the cardiovascular system, and is a low impact exercise.Cardiovascular BenefitsBy riding an indoor cycling bike for just 30 minutes per day, you will trim a lot of body fat. The average person is said to be able to increase their heart rate by almost 80% when cycling, which is ideal for burning fat. It’s also said that one 60 minute session is capable of burning as much as 1200 calories. Indoor cycling will strengthen your heart and therefore help prevent cardiovascular disease long term.Cold Climate? No ProblemIndoor cycling is very beneficial for those who live in colder climates. Gone are the days when you had to rely on the weather being warm and dry to participate in this activity. Indoor cycling bikes continue to increase in popularity. Not only does it allow you to cycle when the weather is cold, but also during any part of the day. Many work long days and aren’t able to exercise until late in the evening or very early in the morning. Owning an indoor cycling bike allows people to exercise when it’s most convenient for them.No Special Skill RequiredWhat’s also great about cycling is that it does not require great athletic ability or skill. You simply jump on the bike and start pedaling. You can go at your own pace. Also, you can listen to music, read a book, or watch a DVD while doing it. It’s an exercise that can be done by all ages because it’s low impact. This is the advantage that it has over jogging or running. Some are not able to endure the stress that running puts on their joints.Indoor cycling bikes are available in all different price ranges, styles, and sold by a variety of brands. They are a great way to lose weight and achieve a healthier you.