The 9 most common mistakes in cycling and how to avoid them
When we practice the exciting sport of cycling, we make some mistakes, especially at the beginning. This activity should be taken with full responsibility, using the proper protective gear and a proper body posture on the bike.
These tips will help you avoid the 10 most common mistakes in cycling and thus avoid frustrations in your practices.
MISTAKE 1: NOT WEARING A HELMET
Have you seen cyclists wearing their helmets on the handlebars or unbuckled? This doesn't make any sense. Never make the mistake of cycling without a helmet, no matter how short the ride.
Always protect your head. What a blow can do to your brain:
A cranioencephalic trauma can be mild, moderate, or severe, but it must be treated with care, it requires attention, follow-up, observation, and in moderate or severe cases, medical intervention, because, even if there is no blood, the really serious thing is that there is an internal injury and with it, there can be hematomas, inflammation, and brain damage. The brain is an integral organ, but each sector has specific functions that can be affected or damaged by a blow.
MISTAKE 2: NOT OPTIMIZING THE FITTING POSITION
Optimizing the rider's position on your bike is known as fitting.
The goal of the fitting is to achieve the optimal position of the rider on his bike according to his objectives. Often the endurance athlete may consider that this is of little relevance to his performance and that it is just about pedaling. However, the position does relate to performance, as fitting also involves an analysis of the drivetrains used, pedal position, and saddle setback, and these variables can significantly influence the cyclist's or triathlete's power output.
MISTAKE 3: WEARING THE WRONG CLOTHING
Cycling is one of the sports in which it is most important to dress correctly and appropriately. It is highly recommended to wear quality technical clothing.
Garments must have a design that fits our bodies in an almost millimetric way. Protecting us adequately from the most adverse weather conditions. All this is regardless of the cycling modality practiced at each moment of the season.
Nevertheless, it is convenient to take into account that to all the above, we must add the comfort that is a fundamental pillar for this sport practice.
An important part of being able to enjoy your cycling routes is to wear the right clothing. Well-padded cycling shorts are essential, but so is a jersey. Special fibers absorb sweat from the body.
MISTAKE 4: CHOOSING THE WRONG BICYCLE
The purchase of a bicycle generates a significant economic investment, so it is important to make the right choice. The main thing is to be aware of the use we want to give it, what is our medium and long-term objective, and not be guided by impulses or whims.
Once we have chosen the type of bicycle we want - road or mountain bike - our second dilemma is to evaluate the objective we are pursuing and the persistence of its use, thinking about whether we are going to use our bicycle for recreational purposes or competition.
If we decide on a road bike, we must know that they are offered with different geometries. The choice of geometry is related to aspects such as the rider's discipline, goals, and physical characteristics. All of these will determine the aggressiveness of the frame and the possible adaptation of the rider. Keep in mind that the geometry of a bicycle can be 'modified' by changing some components, but it cannot be changed. Therefore, the correct choice will be important to avoid later problems such as a bad adaptation or the impossibility of adjusting the bicycle to the necessary measurements for the cyclist.
MISTAKE 5: NOT WEARING CYCLING GLASSES
Among the protective elements that we must have when riding a bicycle, are cycling glasses, these are very important because they protect us from dust, rain, sand, insects, or any possible threat to our eyes and thus avoid any accident.
You can find them with large or small lenses, colored frames that match your cycling uniforms, photochromic or non-photochromic lenses, and styles for women, men, or unisex.
MISTAKE 6: NOT WEARING CYCLING GLOVES
Gloves give you more comfort and control when riding. Although cycling gloves are a fundamental piece of clothing, sometimes we see cyclists on the roads or mountains riding with bare or unprotected hands, a very risky decision that could even lead to complications or damage to the ulnar nerve, which is the one that helps the movement of the arm, wrist, and hand.
Gloves provide additional cushioning: Prototypes of gloves that come equipped with gel inserts or other cushioning materials in the palm can improve the sensation of impacts and absorb the vibrations received by the front wheel of the bicycle when it hits an obstacle or travels through areas of great technical complexity. This is a relief for the hands and wrists, as it reduces the stress generated on this area of the body.
They protect you in falls: The first reaction a cyclist usually has when suffering a fall or an accident is to open the palms of the hands to put them against the ground. If we are not protected, it is most likely that all the skin in the palm area will suffer deep wounds and scratches. In addition to this, cyclists who ride in areas with a high presence of branches or trees may suffer from scratched knuckles.
Improve handlebar grip: Sweaty palms or wet handlebars can cause hands to slip when gloves are not worn. Many cyclists use them because the materials they incorporate in the palms and even in the finger area improve steering grip and contact with the brake and gearshifts. You should choose a prototype that comes equipped with breathable mesh that can disperse heat and promote quick drying or materials that can keep your hands warm in very cold weather.
Promote comfort on long trips: Leading manufacturers in the industry have breathable, stretchy prototypes designed with seam allowances that are imperceptible to the touch and strategically placed pads, which are tasked with promoting hand movement and making the fit feel much more natural. These features are perfect for very long bike rides where the hands remain attached to the handlebars for several hours.
Avoid numbness and nerve problems: When riding downhill, receiving vibrations, or assuming a very inclined posture on the bike, it is normal that the wrists end up supporting the weight of the rider's body. That load puts stress on the hands and at the end of a ride can lead to severe pain or even tingling and numbness.
MISTAKE 7: OVERDOING IT IN TRAINING
When riding on downhill terrain, receiving vibrations, or assuming a very inclined posture on the bike, it is normal for the wrists to end up supporting the weight of the cyclist's body. That load generates tension in the hands and at the end of a ride can lead to severe pain or even tingling and numbness sensations.
Overtraining as the name suggests is overtraining. A physical state produced by excessive physical activity or by the body's inability to assimilate training loads.
Overtraining can affect all athletes, but it is more common in endurance sports such as cycling, triathlon, or athletics where the maximum is demanded of the body for a prolonged period. Unfortunately overtraining does not yet have a clear medical profile, so diagnoses are still quite open and reserved.
Cycling offers many benefits, but like other sports, it's all about the right intensity. Don't overdo it on your first ride, pace yourself.
Overdoing it also includes overestimating your abilities. For example, mountain biking on a trail that is too technical can lead to serious injury. Planning a ride over different mountains without having gained enough endurance can also do more harm than good.
MISTAKE 8: NOT EATING ENOUGH
You're planning to do the longest run ever. Halfway through, you realize that only bringing a snack and a bottle of water was a bad idea. And it sure happens to you on a super hot day when you're in the middle of nowhere. You panic and wonder if you can last another kilometer.
If you have a ride of more than an hour in mind, carry a minimum of 40 g of carbohydrates for every hour of cycling. On average, you should calculate half a liter of water for every hour or more if it's a very hot day or you sweat a lot. Plan stops in advance to eat snacks and refill water bottles.
MISTAKE 9: JOINING A GROUP OF CYCLISTS TOO SOON
You've just watched the Tour de France and the other grand tours and you've got an incredible urge to join your local cycling group and start pedaling nonstop.
Wait for it.
Cycling in a group at high speed takes skill and practice: you need to know how to modulate your speed and ride predictably. For the first few sessions you should stay at the back of the group. When you feel more comfortable and confident, you can start riding in the back of the group.
It's for your safety and for the safety of others.