Whether you’re a bike enthusiast or novice, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Tour de France. The 98th edition of the world famous bike race kicks off on July 2nd. Did you get your invitation? Neither did we. Nor are we prepared for the 21-day long, 115 mile per day race either.
It’s easy to say, “Just get out there and start riding,” but there are basic principles you need to follow to successfully train and continue your love of bicycling.
Choose the right bike for your lifestyle. Bicycle riding is a commitment, so get comfortable. Speedsters may find themselves “at home” on a road bike, while those who are young at heart may opt for the stability and comfort of a 3-wheeled cruiser. And for heaven’s sake, don’t forget to provide your head with a well-built protective helmet.
How much time can you commit to your training? Professional cyclists prepare for months – years even – for specific events, and often cycle for six days per week. Unless you are preparing for the Tour de France, perhaps an hour 2-3 days per week would better fit your schedule.
Choose your course. Search your town, neighborhood and nearby bike paths for the route you desire. Try a mix of level and hilly terrain to work different muscles and build endurance. Remember that your body may take more time to recover from more intense courses, but the pay off from your consistent training will make it well worth it.
Watch your diet. A breakfast loaded with carbohydrates prior to your daily ride is highly recommended. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate throughout the day and be sure to carry a water bottle on your ride. Experts suggest a high-protein meal following your daily training. Refer to websites such as Livestrong.com for loads of great training foods.
Don’t get overwhelmed! Bike training should be a positive and fun experience with loads of health benefits. If you fall out of your routine, jump back on – they say you never forget how to ride a bike. So stay focused, chart your routine, and remember – if cycling takes over your life, there’s a little race in France that just may be waiting for you.