6 Ways to Upgrade Your Cycling

If you've done this: Coffee-shop trips

Try this: Riding to work

If you've negotiated traffic to sip a latte at your local java joint, you're ready for more purposeful pedaling. But do a test run first. "Try different routes on the weekend to find ones that are fun, scenic, or low-traffic so you'll look forward to riding every day," says Carolyn Szczepanski of the League of American Bicyclists. Use this time to figure out what to wear, carry, and pack. For more advice on riding to work, see our Tips for Bike Commuters.

More: 6 Safety Tips for Bike Commuters

If you've done this: Long solo rambles

Try this: Group rides

Riding with a group is easier—and more fun—than going alone because you share the work, says Andy Applegate, a coach with Carmichael Training Systems in Brevard, North Carolina. The trick is to choose the right group. Organized rides are usually designated A, B, or C. In general, A groups are fast, and riders often won't wait if you get dropped. B means steady and brisk, but everyone stays together. C rides tend to be more relaxed and casual.

More: 11 Ways to Get The Most Out of Group Rides

If you've done this: Group rides of about three hours

Try this: A century

Use your long-ride momentum to go really long. Find events on sites and through your local bike shop. On long training rides, aim to get about 200 to 300 calories an hour--try fig bars, bananas, and energy bars. Guzzle one 20- to 24-ounce bottle of sports drink or water an hour. "Practice eating and drinking during training," says Anne Guzman, sports nutrition consultant for Peaks Coaching Group.

More: 8 FAQs for Century Ride Newbies

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