If you're struggling to find ways to improve your bike fitness or if you're putting too much thought into it, then here are some very simple but effective ways to improve your cycling fitness right now.
- Do 1 extra ride per week.
Here I’m not talking about going for a big ride like you are probably already doing on a weekend. Try and schedule this extra ride during a week day and allocate about 1hr for this ride. Cycling is an endurance sport so we do need to always be looking to increase our volume. If you add this extra 1hr up over the course of a year than you’ll be doing an extra 52 hours/approx. 1400km extra per year.
- Use the big chain ring
To build strength we need resistance. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to use your big chain ring. Your flatter/solo rides are the perfect opportunity to do this. You don’t have to worry about speed or power or heart rate. Just try and ‘feel’ the legs squeezing to push that extra load.
- Get out to the hills
This is an extension of point #2. Hill/mountain riding is the ultimate method of getting strong on the bike. The best hills are the ones which have a challenging but not stupid gradient and that go on and on and on. Something around the 5-7% mark is perfect. Once the gradient gets above that 15% mark you want to be in pretty good shape as the stress through your joints really can take its toll.
- Have a play
Work on your cycling skills. When it comes to skills there are so many areas to work on. Some a very basic others quite difficult. If you’re confidence on the road leaves much to be desired than you need to go somewhere quitter, like a tennis court or closed off carpark and work on some skills to help you around this issue. You can’t expect to become a better cyclist if you are too afraid to ride on the roads. For others it’s about honing your craft. Get some rollers, try some tricks and make yo mumma proud!
- Ride indoors
Last but certainly not least is riding indoors. It’s no surprise that personally my own bike fitness improved dramitcally from indoor riding. It started with ‘dumb’ windtrainers and I’ve now progressed onto the ‘smart’ trainer (wahoo kickr) which has taken it to a whole new other level. With indoor riding you are working 100% of the time vs road riding where there is a lot of coasting, stopping and recovery. Indoors is where you work on developing specific zones of fitness that simply can’t be achieved on the road.