Cycling is only one piece of triathlon training, but as an activity on its own, it has many additional benefits. Many people take up cycling because they want to replace car drives, bus drives or subway rides with something that can benefit their budget and time management.
By cycling to work regularly you will not only increase muscle strength and redefine your body, but you will also have the chance to breath more fresh air (if you can take bike paths instead of sharing the road with cars). You will also reduce air pollution and will ease your budget by paying less for gas.
Some other benefits of cycling include:
Here are some tips to make bike commuting safer and more enjoyable.
After a while, when you have already spent some time in the saddle, you will find which is your favorite riding position. Unless you have a mountain bike, you'll find you have several options to place your hands, and each one will affect your body position and the position of your hips and legs in the saddle. Experiment with what works well on long stretches, and always move to a position where you can cover the brakes as you approach an intersection or heavy traffic.
You may have the right of way in certain traffic situations, but you generally will need to give way simply because you are more exposed, in more danger, and it takes you longer to accelerate than it does a car. Unlike when you are riding on an indoor trainer or a lonely country road, if you are commuting, you need to pay close attention to your surroundings. Look up the road to see every obstacle coming your way, like potholes, broken glass or other types of debris. If you have no choice but to run over debris and you are wearing cycling gloves, you can use the leather part of the glove to carefully wipe debris from your tire while riding.
If you are cycling on designated paths, you may be sharing the trail with other cyclists, as well as runners, families and pets. Be sure to understand good manners, which can vary in different locations. Generally people expect you to call out "passing" or ring a bike bell or signal in some way. This prevents them from stepping out in front of you as you pass. Although you are riding to train for you triathlon, if you are in a high traffic area or sharing the path with small children, you'll need to sacrifice speed for safety.
A beginner might think that steering through a corner means they should turn the handlebars. This is true only when it comes to slow speeds. Bike commuting provides a good opportunity to work on cornering effectively. Guide the bike by leaning the frame while shifting your weight in the direction you are turning. The most important part here is to relax. Stay off the brakes and allow your joints to relax to be able to move loosely. Look through the turn, focusing as far down the road as possible.
When you have to climb a hill, this necessitates more than just strength. You'll need to be skilled at choosing the right gear during your race as you encounter hills and valleys, so your ride to work can be a good training ground. Try to anticipate the climbs and downhills as you see them coming, and shift into a better gear before you begin to have a hard time turning the pedals. Once the chain is under a lot of tension, it is more difficult for it to move between cogs and you may find yourself unable to shift when you need to the most.
Although many triathlon training plans advise building your base by racking up a lot of miles at a speed that doesn't spike your heart rate, it is also useful to do interval training to build strength and power. Additionally, you'll want to understand how your bike handles when you stand on the pedals. Commuting offers a good opportunity, as you can stand up to add power when starting up at a traffic light or stop sign.When beginning to cycle outdoors on the roads, keep in mind the fact that it is ok to go at your own pace. Even if you go for a ride with others, they should understand that you are beginner. You should first focus on your safety, paying attention to all the obstacles. In case the road becomes too difficult to ride, do not be afraid to get off the bike and walk. It will be easier to start again on a flat or downhill stretch. It's almost impossible to start on an uphill, especially if you have clip-in shoes. If you have no other choice but to start pedaling on an uphill, wait until the road is clear and try serpentining back and forth across the road as you build up speed.
Aaron Townsend is a fitness instructor. He enjoys sharing helpful tips on how to achieve a lean and healthy body through constant and safe workouts with his readers. He owns FitnessMembershipFee.com, a small online project about gym guest passes, gym reviews, and deals.