|Spin, Spin, Spin! When I first started riding, I thought I would build my legs up faster by pushing higher gears. Not good! This is bad for your knees. Seventy to ninety pedal RPMs are recommended, depending on who you ask. One way to monitor without counting is: if you are feeling the burn in your leg muscles on fairly level terrain, then you are probably not spinning enough. If you are breathing hard on level ground, you may be spinning too fast.||
||Drink, drink, drink! By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Try to remember to take small drinks often. Until you get in the habit, every time you see another rider take a drink, reach for your bottle. Some riders like water, others prefer sports drinks such as Gatorade. A benefit of sports drinks is the carbohydrates and potassium they contain. Read the label and choose one which contains sucrose or dextrose. Drinks which contain high fructose corn syrup are harder to digest and can cause some riders stomach distress.|
|Eat, eat, eat. Fuel your body. If you are on your bike for more than an hour, you need food. Sports drinks help, but they are not enough for longer rides. Believe me, you don’t want to “hit the wall” (your body has used up its supply of readily available fuel). It’s better to eat small amounts often rather then a larger amount all at once. Some riders like natural foods. Bananas, raisins, and fig bars are good. I like to take a couple bites of Power Bar every ten miles or so to stay fueled up. Experiment and find what is best for you.|
|Prepare for flats. If you ride very much it WILL happen. Practice putting in a new tube at home. Always carry tire levers, a spare tube, and a patch kit. Just a spare tube is not enough in case you have two flats on the same ride. Glueless patches work fine to get you home, but they are only a temporary repair. Check your tire before putting in the new tube. Often, whatever caused the flat is still sticking through the tread.
One thing to remember: be willing to try different things based on the advice of experienced riders. Then decide what is best for you personally. Make sure to keep your riding fun!
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