1. Clean your chain and cassette.1 of 12
"Seriously, we 'fix' so many shifting problems by just doing that."
-Dan Richter, mechanic at Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio
2. Breathe consciously.2 of 12
"In other words, watch and recognize your breathing, and experience just that for a few moments. That's called presence. Now that you've pushed the pause button on the momentum that is leading you towards your ride, you have the opportunity to set an intention for the ride. Maybe it's to stop and smell the roses, or maybe it's to push yourself a little harder than usual. Whatever it is, make it conscious."
-Ryan Leech, trials rider for Norco, yoga instructor, and Wheelie Challenge founder
3. Get cleaned up 'down there' before you apply chamois cream and ride.3 of 12
"Don't take bacteria for a ride in your chamois! Nothing good ever comes of it."
-Jill Hamilton, founder of Petal Power
4. Buy a handheld pressure gauge and know your tire pressures.4 of 12
"Most floor pump gauges are anything but accurate and many people run way too much pressure or way too little. Proper pressure is the key to grip, comfort, speed, and ultimately fun!"
-Scott Kelly, lead mechanic with Scott-3 Rox Racing
5. Check your cleats.5 of 12
"They're typically made of plastic or soft alloy, and are meant to be replaced regularly. While they are small and often don't cost more than $40, they account for a third of your body's contact with the bike. Also, if you are traveling on a long cycling trip or abroad, be sure to pack an extra set. This will save you a ton of aggravation if something were to happen mid trip, leaving you chasing for a replacement."
-Blake Bedoya, bike fitter at Signature Cycles
6. If you're road riding, change positions every 20 minutes or so.6 of 12
"Stand, move your hands to a new position, rotate your head/trunk (and obviously if you're in a group, only do this when it's safe to do so). This may not make you better on this ride, but down the road (no pun intended) moving around can help prevent muscle tightness and joint irritation or restrictions."
-Laura Powers, registered physiotherapist at Active Life
7. Lube your chain.7 of 12
"It quiets the ride and makes it feel easier to pedal."
-Rick Danielson, mechanic at Performance Bicycle of Peoria
8. Update your saddle.8 of 12
"Too often, riders will use a saddle for several years and assume they need to stray from their tried-and-true design when it begins to create issues. The EVA foam (or support) in your saddle will break down over time. A saddle may cosmetically be intact and without blemish, but the internal structure may not be so lucky. If you're going to spend money on anything in this sport, your crotch is a worthwhile investment."
9. Take one minute to count the grams of carbs you consumed both in drinks and food during a ride.9 of 12
"Then journal it. This way, you can look back to see what did or didn't work for you moving forward. (All other things being equal, of course, such as your pre-race-day intake of macronutrients.) In other words, know the details of your nutrition heading into hard training or races and then during them. This is the only way to replicate a system and routine that works for you."
-Anne Guzman, founder of Nutrition Solutions
10. At the end of a ride, give your bike a one-minute speed clean.10 of 12
"Do a quick chain and frame wipe, and fix anything that you noticed was loose/crooked during the ride. Best case, you have started the cleaning process and you might do more; worst case, you have your bike in pretty good shape for your next ride."
-Peter Glassford, coach at Smart Athlete
11. "Incorporate child's pose or a knees-to-chest move in your stretches post-ride.11 of 12
"This can help stretch and open the pelvic floor, which may have been constricted on the ride."