Calf muscles are engaged during that downward push when cycling. Just because it's a smaller muscle, doesn't mean you can ignore them.
A tight calf can start to throw off the alignment of everything above it, including your knees and hips, says physical therapist Matthew Audia DPT, CMP.
One way to stretch your calf is to place your hands against a wall and lift your toes up so they're touching the wall with your heel still on the ground. Keep your leg straight, or with a slight bend in the knee if necessary. Lean forward into the wall to feel this stretch in your calf. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Standing Hip and Glute Stretch
While your legs are the powerhouse for cycling, your hips work hard to bring your legs back up after each downward push.
If you sit at a desk all day and then hop on the bike, hips can get very tight, limiting your range of motion and risking injury. Be sure to stretch your hips each day, cycling or not, to keep your movements fluid.
Your glutes are also heavily engaged in helping your legs push down on the pedal. Try a standing hip and glute stretch to hit both at the same time.
Find a chair and place one hand on it for stability. Cross your right leg over your left ankle just above the knee. Sit back into the stretch like you are sitting into a chair until you feel it both in your hip and buttocks, holding for 30 seconds as you stabilize yourself with your hand. Repeat on the opposite side.
Neck and Shoulder Stretches
While your neck and shoulders aren't doing the pedaling, they can become stressed and tight from being on the bike for long distances. Release this tension with regular stretching.
To stretch your neck bring your chin into your chest slowly and hold, repeat by slowly tilting the neck towards your left and right shoulder and holding.
For a shoulder stretch, reach your right arm across your body and hitch your left arm underneath and over, so you are pulling it into your chest while your right arm remains straight and you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the left hand side.
You know your body best so add and change up stretches as necessary and never go deeper into a stretch than comfortable.Search for a cycling event.