How To Stay In Shape For Cycling

There’s nothing quite like the feel of a good ride on a good bike.  Not a motorcycle, but a good ol’ bicycle.  That feeling of the open road, the twisting curves and the thrill of making it to your destination. That sweet burn of pushing through your limitations and climbing that steep grade, and coasting down that wonderful incline.  It’s also nice to feel that feeling of taking time off and those feelings of exhilaration and pride feeling more like pain and anguish.

Staying in shape for cycling is more important than many other sports.  With basketball and baseball, you can reasonably hit the batting cage or shoot some free throws with some time off and still have your stroke or shot intact.  Although you don’t really forget how to ride a bike, the stamina and endurance you build up can be lost in a matter of weeks. You can quickly go from an iron-legged Zeus to a wiggly-legged normal human before your air leaves your tires. That is why staying in good riding shape is important. Here are a few ways you can stay in shape when the snow is on the ground, or there is extra work on the desk.

Keep active

Just staying active can keep your heart rate up and your muscles firing. If you are sedentary for a while, your muscles atrophy and your stamina melts off like an ice cube on hot concrete.  If you are going to be indoors for a while and away from your bike, make sure to at least run in place and get some stationary bike work in.  If you can’t find a stationary bike, a treadmill will definitely work. Anything to keep those quads and calves active.  If you have a phone book, a great exercise is to do step work on the phone book.  Place your heels on a step or the phone book, and lift your body weight up and down until you feel that deep burn. Take a 30-second break and then repeat around three times or so. Deep bends and lunges are a great way to keep active as well.

Eat and drink right

If you are an avid or even recreational cyclist, you are well aware of your diet and fluid intake. Even if you are not riding regularly, you will still want to keep drinking plenty of water. You will want to cut back on your caloric intake, however.  Your body requires a great deal more calories when you are riding than when you are not, so compensate by cutting back on energy bars and energy drinks. Make sure to eat lean meats and plenty of grains during your time-off. It is much easier to get back into riding shape if there are not a lot of pounds to shed.
Remember that muscle has memory, and it does not take long to get your body back in shape after time off.  If you’re traveling on a work trip, you don’t have to fall off the exercise wagon.  You can bring your bike along, as most airlines and Amtrak will transport your bike for a fee.  Make sure to follow the steps above and you will stay in good riding shape.
Air up the tires, fill your water bottle and oil up the gears…it is time to ride!
Mark Boyd writes about a wide range of topics including music, marketing, background checks,business and travel, including writing for, a free online resource to compare checked luggage fees.  He is a father of 3 and enjoys time with his children, being a geek, making music, traveling and hiking.