Practical Advice

At the beginning of the season:

  • Make sure that your bicycle is in proper working order.
  • Check that your bike is the right size for you, with the saddle at the correct height and the handlebars in comfortable position for riding long distances.
  • Clean and lubricate the chain and gearing system.
  • Take care to check your tires for wear and inflate them to the proper pressure (check the edge of the tire). Your brakes also need to be well adjusted and replace all worn or defective parts.

During the season:

  • For your comfort, wear cycling gloves, padded cycling shorts and bring an extra sweater or jacket with you for unpredictable changes in weather.
  • For your safety, always wear your helmet and make sure you have the necessary reflectors required by law.
  • For evening rides, equip your bike with a lighting system : a white light at the front and a red at the back. Bring with you a spare inner tube, tire levers, and a small tools kit to do minor repairs on the road. For your pleasure, bring snacks and water along on your rides and plan to visit points of interest to you along the route; enjoy the scenery and the good weather during our short cycling season.

End of the season:

  • Clean and store your bicycle in a dry and safe place for the off-season. If you can hang the bike off the ground, it is better for the tires. Also lubricate the parts that are susceptible to corrosion. Lastly, buy all the gadgets you saw on other riders’ bikes during the year end clearance sales.

Training:

  • Cycle as much as possible to keep in good physical condition. Vary your cycling speed occasionally. This will help you to avoid fatigue on longer rides and to climb hills with ease. A bit of advice, it is better early in the season, to pedal faster in an easy gear without force than to cycle slower using lots of force on your big gear.
  • Minute for minute climbing makes your stronger faster than any other type of riding. Include at least one hilly course per week. Boost upper body strength for more power and control with push-ups : 2 sets of 10 to 20 reps, 3 days a week. To build your upper body, do a set of push-ups, pull-ups and crunches after you finish your rides. Patience is the most important component of improvement, training does not happen in one workout.

Skills:

  • First learn to pedal quickly, than slow it down for power. On gravel roads don’t try to turn. Stay straight until you are out of it. Say this 3 times before your next climb : Shift the gear before you need it. To restart on an uphill, aim your bike up and slightly across the trail instead of just up. Braking on steep down hills: Braking harder on smooth hills. Use front brake for about 70% of your stopping power. But: Ease off the front brake in rough areas to avoid skidding the front wheel sideways.

Health:

  • Keep your skeleton strong. Don’t smoke : Human chimneys lose bone twice as quickly as non-smokers. Sucking cigs doesn’t help your ride. Ditch the COLA : Carbonated drinks, especially colas, are high in phosphorus, which blocks calcium absorption. Plus, they are a big zero in nutritional galagory. Moderate booze : Too much alcohol inhibits calcium absorption and bone formation. Stick to no more than a drink or two a day. To lose one pound of body fat per week, burn approximately 3,500 more calories than you eat. Control your body temperature by wearing a windbreaker with a full front zipper. Zip-up when descending or riding in a head wind. Zip down when climbing or the wind is behind you.
© , Club Vélo Dorval.