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Health & Safety

Ride Healthy: Improve your health, improve your performance

Hydration

It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after a ride. Your hydration is affected by your gender, age, height, weight, sweat rate, climate, exercise intensity, and duration of exercise!

Before - Weight Before
17-20oz./1-2 hours

Before hydration diagram
During
Dependent on sweat rate

During hydration diagram
After - Weight After
16oz/1-2 hours

After hydration diagram


Sweat Rate

During your ride, you should replace fluids at the same rate you lose them due to sweat.Your sweat rate tells you how much water to drink during your workout in similar conditions.
Sweat Rate = 16(weightbefore-weightafter)+ounces drankride time

Water Intake Graph

Nutrition

The longer and more exhaustive your ride, the more fuel your body needs to power through! Plan a quick snack every 15 minutes during you ride. Look for portable, nutritious, and calorie-dense snacks, like:

Fruits High in Potassium and Cards
fruits
Convenient Snacks That Provide Energy and Travel Well
trail mix

Energy Bars That Provide Quick and Efficient Boosts of Nutrition
energy bars
Power Gels That Help Refuel Without Feeling Bloated
power gels

Stretching

Stretching before and after a ride will help increase muscle flexibility and reduce soreness. Don’t stretch cold muscles – do a short warmup before you stretch.Hold each stretch at least20 seconds, and repeat 1-3 times.

Glutes and Hamstrings
glutes stretch diagram
Hip Flexors
hip flexors diagram
Quads and Calves
Quads diagram


Which Muscles do the Work?

Be Healthy and Tone Your Muscles

Cycling provides many health benefits like improving your immune, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems while strengthening your leg muscles more easily and effectively than other exercise activities.

Skeletal muscles make our body move by reacting to nerve impulses that turn thought into action. Muscles in the lower leg are essential to cycling. It is important to note that while we talk about pushing on the pedals, muscle tissue can only exert a pulling force. Thus, the cyclical aspect of pedaling is designed to use the pulling force of opposing groups of leg muscles.  Muscles only pull even when we push. 

Impact of Each Lower Leg Muscle

For reference, imagine dividing the circular path your pedal makes to correspond to the time markings on a clock. As you can see in the figure to the left, your quads are the dominate muscle at the top of the stroke from the 12 to 3 o’clock position. Your glutes and calves take over until your pedal approaches 6 o’clock, then your hamstrings pull the pedal up to the 9 o’clock position. Finally with the help of a little momentum, your hip flexors lift the pedal back to its 12 o’clock starting position.

To utilize the hamstring and hip flexor more effectively, the rider should have their shoes attached to the pedal by means of a clipless shoe or a toe strap over their shoe.


diagram showing the leg muscles used during your pedal stroke 

Increasing Power

Climbing hills demands more power. Sometimes it is necessary to stand on the pedals to produce enough force and maintain speed. Shifting weight from the saddle to your legs results in a change in effort from your muscles.

For example, on a seated climb your quads work at the top of the pedal stroke from the 12 to 3 o’clock positions like explained above. When standing, they work more during the 3-6 o’clock positions helping to produce enough power to complete the climb.

diagram showing bike rider pedaling up a hill both seated and standing

Pre-Ride Safety: The ABC Bicycle Check

Under the supervision of an adult perform the following:

A IS FOR AIR:

Check the pressure in each tire to make sure it is within the recommended pressure range that is printed on the side of the tire.

B IS FOR BRAKES

Pull the brake lever; there should be at least one inch of space between the lever and the handlebars. Also, check the brake pads for proper alignment and signs of wear.

C IS FOR CHAINS

The chain should look clean and not be rusty or broken. Turn your pedals to make sure the chain runs smoothly apply lubrication if needed.

How to Properly fit a Helmet: Eyes, Ears and Mouth Method

Under the supervision of an adult perform the following:
Showing the helmet 2 fingers width above the eye brows 

The helmet should sit level on your head about one or two finger-widths above your eyes.

Demonstrating the ear's position in the "Y" opening of the straps

Position the “Y” of each side strap so that they meet just below your Ears.

Demonstrating gap between helmet strap and under-side of chin

The chin strap should rest below your mouth allowing enough space for one to two fingers to fit under the strap.

Bicycle Safety

With a Few Safety Precautions, Cycling is a Fun Way to Stay Healthy.

Safe Riding Tips:

  • Check your equipment
    Always inspect your bike before using it to make sure it is working properly and ready to ride. Use the ABC Quick Check each time before you ride: Air-inflate the tires to the correct psi; Brakes-check that the brakes work; Chain-lubricate the chain and inspect the chainrings and cassette.
  • Adjust your bicycle to fit
    Stand over your bicycle. There should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top tube if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if using a mountain bike. The seat should be level front to back. The seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be level with the seat.
  • Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet
    Protect your brain, save your life.  
  • Control your bicycle
    Always ride with both hands on the handlebars.  
  • Stay hydrated
    C onsume 16-20 ounces of water before riding and at least 8-10 ounces of fluid every 30 minutes while riding. If you wait, it's already too late!
  • See and be seen
    Whether day, night, dawn, dusk, or foul weather, you need to be seen by others. Wearing white does not make you more visible. Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding. Wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings. Be sure your bike has front, rear, and tire spoke reflectors. If riding at night, be sure to have both front and rear lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn't mean the driver can see you.
  • Watch for and avoid road hazards 
    When riding on the road be alert for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, and puddles. When riding on a trail be alert for roots, rocks, wet leaves, and sticks. If you are riding with friends and you are in the lead, yell out and point to hazards to prevent accidents.