Get your shift together!
“It’s like riding a bike!” Seriously, how many times have you heard that phrase? A million, we’d guess. So that means that most of us associate riding a bike with ease, something you never forget. And though it is a relatively straightforward activity – particularly for the Dutchies who basically come out of the womb on a bicycle – it’s just as easy to pick up bad cycling habits that can damage your body or your bike.
Now, are you ready to become a better biker? To rival Lance Armstrong, minus the steroids, of course? Here are the worst cycling habits (in or outside of the studio) and how to break them.
Not being a Goldilocks of bikes. Most of us just assume our bike is the right size or set to the right height in the studio without getting properly fitted. This is a huge no-no. A proper fitting bike is essential in injury prevention as well as your overall comfort whilst you ride. Take your bike into a proper bike shop and ask them to help you adjust it. When you’re in the studio, flag down one of our front of house team and get them to set you up properly. Or watch our ‘how to set up your bike’ video. It will make all the difference in your technique.
Hunger strike. Whether you’re cycling to drop a few pounds, strengthen your heart or blow off some steam, you should always, always fuel properly before and after a ride. Don’t skip a meal or snack just to try and minimise your calorie intake! If you’re cycling inside or outside, you will burn tons of calories that you need to replenish. Also, remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after your ride.
Not forming an opinion on form. One of the best things about cycling is the fact that it’s quite low-impact for your joints. But turns out that’s only really true if you have the correct alignment. Many new cyclists or riders ride with their seats too low or stick their knees out to the sides, rather than tucking them in. New Ro’riders also often arch their backs and ride with their bums toward the front of the bike. Listen to what the instructors are saying and ensure you have proper form to avoid splayed knees and back pain down the line. When you’re on one of our bikes in the studio, there should be a straight line from the centre of where your pedal is to the point of your knee cap.
Getting ahead of yourself. Those of us in Amsterdam are particularly guilty of this: not wearing helmets when we cycle outside. Though it may feel embarrassing and like you’re the only one in the whole city with one on, it may just save your life. With the craziness of the cycling traffic here, we promise you’ll thank us one day!
Being uncool about warming up and cooling down. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s incredibly important to stretch before and after a ride. It’s probably the best way to prevent injury and also encourages recovery and keeps your range of motion as it should be. Runner’s lunges help elongate hip flexors, which often become tight during cycling, and massages are also a terrific idea (you’re welcome for the excuse to book one!). So if you can spare the 3 extra minutes, please stay for the cooldown!