We are just a couple of months away from bicycling season! There are a few hardcore cyclists finding their way on to the dirt roads of Addison county, Fat Biking on the Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) or at the Rikert Ski Touring center at the Breadloaf Campus of Middlebury College. For the rest of us, our bikes have been safely stashed away just waiting for their time to hit the road. Here are some tips to consider in preparation for the upcoming season:
* Hit the Gym! Cycling is an endurance activity, but you still need the muscle to move over the hill and dale. Core strength links your arms and their grip on the handlebars to the power churning from your legs - ensuring that all 3 of those parts are strong is essential for a successful and enjoyable ride.
* Be flexible! The positions on the bike are sustained for long periods of time and can be rough on the neck, back and shoulders. A flexibility routine should pay particular focus to the upper back, neck and chest muscles. If you are especially uncomfortable during or after a ride, perhaps you should consider a bike fitting. This is a consult with a bike shop where the set-up of your bike (position of handlebars, seat and pedals) is done with you in the saddle - a minute adjustment can make monumental difference in your comfort.
* If you use clipless pedals... you know, the ones that clip in (I know, it seems a weird term to me too), do consider the fact that there are no other times that you get to pull in such a manner with the muscles that flex the hip and bend the knee. Hip pain and back pain are common complaints when cyclists return to the saddle, and the overuse of these muscle groups can play a role in the onset of pain.
*Get your bike serviced! The experts at Frog Hollow Bikes have been a wonderful resource for Addison County cyclists, young and old. If your gears and wheels aren't spinning properly, your ride can be frustrating, possibly resulting in an issue that could leave you stranded! Also, ask them about that bike fitting!
* Volunteer! There is a growing bicycle movement in Vermont. Mountain biking has been growing in popularity over the last few years and new trails and trail networks are popping up all over Vermont. If you are a mountain biker, consider helping your local bicycle club to expand and maintain their trails. Most trails are multi use meaning hikers and bikers share the trails, so you don't even have to be a biker to help. There are new trails slated to open this spring and summer in Middlebury connecting the TAM and the Moosalamoo Recreational Area in Goshen. Vergennes will be opening a bike park with help from the Addison County Bicycle Club and a system of trails at New Leaf Organics Farm in Bristol will open this spring. ACBC will also be helping this trail system get off the ground. Look up the Vermont Mountain Biking Association, Local Motion or Go! Vermont for more good information.
* Give us a call! Addison Wellness, Inc - including Wells Physical Therapy and Turner Hand Therapy are now conveniently located at 231 Court Street, right next to Walgreens Pharmacy. We can help with your physical ailments and strategize a return to cycle plan if you are dealing with an injury or issue that you feel may impact your biking this summer. We love to help!