My little bike and I have cycled all over Ireland, every nook and cranny. We have been to Europe a few times to check out some real mountains. We have had good days and bads day but thankfully we are both still going well!
Ensure the saddle is in the correct position, ie, straight and level. If you find you are getting compression pains or severe discomfort check your saddle. Is it too high? Is it straight? Get out a spirit level and ensure it is level. You would be surprised how 1mm can affect everything. Saddles do not last forever either, if you're clocking up the miles then so is the wear and tear on your saddle.
I'm sure that I don't need to tell any girl the importance of a good sports bra. While we are not runners, trust me, the potholes on some roads can cause serious discomfort. Plus all that bending forward over handle bars.. gravity will take its toll. Strap em in and hold em up! If you're suffering neck and shoulder pain the straps maybe cutting off circulation in around your traps (meaty bit at the top of your shoulders). It maybe that your posture on the bike is all wrong which we will discuss but check out your bra. If you have great big dents in your shoulders then it's too tight.
Ensure your gear last too by washing it on a gently washing machine cycle. NEVER use fabric conditioner on any sports clothes it wrecks the lycra/ technical fabric. I sometimes spray my chamois with a little tea tree solution (five drops to 300 ml water), its antibacterial. Saves you having to use a hot wash which will also wreck your gear.
Beauty and the bike, there is no need to look a wreck on the bike!
I am a yoga teacher so I can't not mention the importance of stretching and looking after your body. I highly recommend Yoga for Cyclists which I teach on a Monday night in Dublin 2. You will usually find me rolling around my floor on a saturday afternoon, either with massage balls, foam roller or just elevating my legs. Sometimes an ice bath or a sea dip is called for if I have been doing a lot of miles. It all helps your recovery and remember, hours bent over your bike, grinding gears and hanging on to the brakes for dear life all take their toll on your body. Undo it before you collapse in a heap on the couch. I have written articles on the subject of stretching. Here are a few to get you started.
1. How to improve your cycling performance while lying on the floor
2. Are you sitting comfortably?
3. The Female athlete
Want to feel great off the bike? Join me in class, Yoga for Cyclists and Pilates are great enhancements to any aspiring cyclists. I also teach Yoga for beginners which is a great place to start your yoga practice.
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About the Author:
Sinéad Kennedy is a Physical Therapist, Yoga Siromani and Pilates Instructor, based in South County Dublin. She treats and teaches people from all walks of life, including many athletes, especially cyclists, runners and golfers. Recently featured in the Irish Independant, FIT Magazine, her Yoga 4 Cyclists class has gained notoriety. A keen cyclist and proud member of Orwell Wheelers she has completed numerous cycling events including La Marmotte Sportive. Sinéad has also completed three Dublin City Marathons, numerous Adventure Races, Half Marathons and the Camino de Santiago.