Sixth, ride well; by that I mean, have a nice comfortable relaxed position on the bike, assuming the bike fits your well. By that I mean, you should have a relaxed balanced position with your weight divided between your seat, your pedals and your bars. It doesn’t matter if you ride a mountain bike, a road bike with drop bars which most people prefer on the road, or a cheapo department store bike. In every case, your weight will be divided between these three points of contact to make yourself comfortable.

Seventh, and very, very importantly, pedal well! What do I mean by Pedal Well! Peddling well has two components. These two secrets of good peddling are actually what separates the professional rider from the struggling goof ball! If you pay attention to these two peddling secrets, you will ride like a pro too! These two are, first, pedal smoothly and strive to make perfect circles with your feet. To do this, relax your whole body and pedal in an easy gear so you don’t have to “push” on the pedals. When a foot on one side reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke, pull back on the pedal as if you were scrapping mud off the bottom of your shoe. This keeps the pedals rotating smoothly and avoids any dead spots in the pedal rotation. Certainly this is easier if you have toe clips holding your shoe to the pedal, and easier still if you are mechanical clips holding your shoe to the pedal. Don’t worry about being able to get out of clips. After a couple rides, this comes natural.

The second component of the peddling secret is to keep your pedal revolutions relatively high. The pace or speed of pedal revolution is called “cadence”. You want to keep your cadence around 100 rpm for most fun rides. How do you know what 100 rpm feels like? It is fairly brisk. You don’t want to be whizzing along like a sugar-crazed kid on a tricycle caroming off the furniture. But you don’t want to be laboring either. Find your happy medium. The reasons for a high cadence are many. You will avoid knee stress or knee injury. You will build strength in your knees, ankles, well, all parts of your legs. You will be able to accelerate easily on the flats and climb hills, simply by keeping your cadence or spin up. If you want to go faster, you simply spin faster. You breathe easier while spinning briskly, and you heart works better as it is not straining. Your blood is flowing well into all parts of your body and especially into all parts of your legs. So pedal smooth and pedal briskly, energetically, but lightly, relaxed.

Eighth, and here a secret that many cyclists do not know, but most eventually learn, even though some never learn it: Get out of your comfort zone! Unlike in show business where you want to shorten things up and leave them wanting more, in cycling, in planning and dong rides, the most benefit will be obtained by you and for you when you go on a ride and 2/3rds the way through it, you wish you were home! Do you see what I am talking about. This is one way of getting you our of your comfort zone. Only by being pushed somehow to get out of your comfort zone will you be able to get to a great fitness level. Similarly, get out of your comfort zone by sometimes going out when you don’t seem to feel like it. But once you are on the bike, you are enjoying yourself after all.  And you will be comfortable being outside of your comfort zone!  That applies to most things in life.

Group rides are a great way to push yourself, or get pulled, out of your comfort zone. Your bike shop is a great source for info on group rides. Pick a group ride that is appropriate for your ability and level. Don’t start with a century 100-miler. If you start with a fast group, you will be dropped as fast as a whistle blower is shunned by his co-workers. Then you will be riding alone, anyway.  Fast group rides come later after you get the basics. Just ride,for now, no matter what the weather.

But you can always make allowances for the weather, or work around it. If it rains a lot in your area, if you live in Seattle, for example, get some biking rain gear at the bike shop. If it is cold, bundle up, and please use current high tech clothing. If it is going to be a 100 degree Texas-hot day, get out early in the morning. If you hear or see that it is going to rain later on today, get going early. If it is storming now, wait it out.

I hope these eight secrets of fitness through cycling have helped you.

Remember, 

1) ride and enjoy the elements outside,

2) maintain your bike,

3) dress for comfort during the ride,

4) plan your route for your ride,

5) ride regularly; find ways and do things like group ride to encourage yourself to ride regularly,

6) ride well, that is, ride relaxed and in a comfortable balanced position,

7) pedal well, pedal smoothly, at a medium cadence of around 100prm,

8) get out of your comfort zone!

When you see a cyclist go by, make a mental note. Are they using these 8 secrets of biking? Or just some? Or in some cases, none? You people struggling all the time, uncomfortable, inappropriately dressed, on poorly maintained bike, riding less than optimal routes on poor roads with too much traffic, struggling in a heavy slow gear, who are not enjoying themselves.

Please, please, please, put into practice these eight secrets of cycling and you will be so happy you did. You will live better, longer, and happier, and have a sparkle in your eyes!  Even if you use only some of these secrets, you are off to a great start. If you put them all into practice, you will look like a pro, feel like a pro, and ride like a pro. Happy cycling!

If you have enjoyed this short introduction to the world of cycling, please buy my $7 report entitled The Complete Guide to Cycling, available as soon as it is finished.  To be the first to receive notices and updates about the guide, please send an email to admin@michael-holcomb.com to join my mailing list if you have not already opted in.  Thanks, and again, happy cycling.