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Cycling for dummies: Sanjay Balu’s blog

Cycles may not be as fast as their ICE powered counterparts on two wheels but that doesn’t mean you ride them sans protective gear, says Sanjay

Cycling has become a multifaceted sport which incorporates recreation as well as fitness while also being a mode of transportation. It has managed to catch the imagination of the urban junta and has become a part of pop culture. Again, cycling is here to stay but how can you make the experience safer as well as more pleasurable? Let me tell you how!

So, now that you have decided on a bike, the next thing that you need is your riding gear and accessories. A good pair of cycling shorts, a helmet, a pair of gloves, a tail light, a bottle holder, a floor pump with a gauge and a saddle bag would be on the top of the must-have list that we recommend to make your cycling comfortable and safe. If you ride in the dark, a good headlight is a must. Investing in branded accessories and gear provides better value in the long run.

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Padded shorts are a better alternative than seat covers on saddles as they are safer and more comfortable as you get used to the bikes. Seat covers can move and cause blood circulation issues. Branded cycling apparel adds to rider comfort and helps the rider stay fresh, for a longer time. Avoid cheap knock-offs of cycling apparels at all costs due to the poor quality of fabric (mostly recycled polyester), which can cause skin issues in the long run.

Most of us would have last ridden when we were in school or college so there are a few things to keep in mind when getting back on the saddle. Start with basic low to medium intensity rides of a half hour or so and allow your body to get conditioned before going after speed or distance targets. Be kind to your glutes or else you will be off the saddle in no time. If you are doing it right, then it should be a ‘no pain’ experience except maybe in your butt for the first few rides.

Be aware of traffic and signal clearly when riding. Headphones are strictly not recommended when riding. Most cities have various cycling groups – the casual riders to the serious racers and Randonneurs. Ride in a group, it is always fun and select the group that shares your riding interest. If a medium paced fitness ride for an hour is your thing, the last thing you should do is to join a group that constantly looks at average speed and max heart rate.

When you start riding regularly and you start covering more miles, the best thing you can do is to get a complete bike fit done. This will greatly enhance your riding comfort, performance and most of all reduce your chance of injury. Even though cycling is a low impact sport, wrong posture or technique can lead to injury due to repetitive stress.

So get yourself a cycle and start riding. Fret not, you will be fitter and happier within no time!

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