Riding a bicycle is great exercise, but it is important to stay safe and take measures to prevent injuries. While wearing the right protective gear will keep your outer body safe in the event of an accident, stretching is just as important. Taking the time to properly stretch your entire body before a ride warms your muscles and keeps them from getting tight, which could otherwise present some serious problems.Jennifer Collins
Bicycling is a wonderful form of exercise. There's nothing quite like the feeling of the wind gliding over you and the sun beaming down on you. But as with any form of exercise, there is always the risk of injury. Cycling poses some extra risks, as you are riding on an unprotected mode of transportation. Taking the necessary measures, such as wearing the right cycling apparel, donning some armor and preparing your muscles for strenuous activity, can help you to prevent some serious injuries.
The right cycling apparel can ensure that you stay protected from the elements while ensuring that you stay comfortable and dry. Dressing for the right activity is important too. If trekking out into the mountains, heavier duty mountain bike clothing is desirable. For road cycling, you want specific road bike clothing. For the best road cycle clothing with advanced safety, POC offers clothing made of lightweight yet durable materials designed to keep you both safe and comfortable.
* Water repellant jackets and jerseys are fitted to keep the elements out.
* Many of their shirts, bib shorts and even hats are outfitted with reflective materials, allowing you to be seen by car drivers.
* Much of their clothing, including sleeves and leggings, is fitted to stay in place and prevent snagging as well as drag, decreasing your odds of being blown about in windy conditions.
* A good scarf can keep wind and rain out of your face, allowing you to be able to properly see where you're going.
Armor Isn't Just for Knights
One of the most common mental images that appear at the mention of armor is the full body heavy metal suit that a knight of the middle ages might have worn. Clearly this is impractical when it comes to safely riding a bike. In fact, it would probably cause more injuries than it would prevent. Fortunately, there is armor available specifically made for the cyclist. It is designed to be lightweight enough to allow for comfort and maximum maneuverability, yet tough enough to protect you in the event of a fall or crash. Find how body armor protects you.
Items you may want to consider include:
A helmet. A good quality helmet is extremely important, and even if you wear no other form of armor, you never want to go riding without one.
* Chest armor.
* Arm and leg protection. These items include elbow, shin and knee pads.
* Padded shorts.
* Gloves. Not only do these protect your hands if you fall, they also help reduce road vibration as you ride.
Exactly what type of armor you need will depend on the type of riding you plan on doing. No matter what terrain you traverse, some form of protection is advised.
Seeing is Believing
When riding on the road, you share the space with fast moving automobiles. Sometimes, drivers only pay attention to what is in front of them, making it a shock when they see a cyclist all of the sudden beside them. In adverse weather conditions, such as high winds and rain, it can be impossible to see a cyclist. While some bike wear has reflective strips already on it, it never hurts to have other methods of visibility. You can outfit your bike with:
* Flashing lights.
* Reflectors or other reflective materials.
Stretch it Out
When taking measures to prevent injuries, you shouldn't just be thinking about your exterior. Of course, preventing scrapes, cuts and even breaks are important, but what about the muscles that help you complete a successful ride? Without proper care and preparation, these muscles face just as much a chance of being hurt, if not a more, as they are constantly in use throughout the duration of your ride. One way to help prevent muscle injury is to stretch before each ride.
Stretching before a ride warms your muscles and joints, priming them for action and preventing them from getting tight during your ride. It's not just the legs that need to be stretched either. While you mostly use your legs, you will find that you actually rely quite heavily on your upper body as well. Have you ever noticed on a long ride that your neck and shoulders start to ache? Those muscles help keep your body stabilized as you ride. Don't forget to include your upper body and your back in your pre-ride stretching routine.
It's also important that you stretch properly. Before you start, take a light walk or jog to signal to your muscles that it's time to work. During your stretching:
* Don't bounce. You run the risk of pulling something.
* Pull only until you feel a slight tightness. Stretching shouldn't be painful, so if you hurt, loosen your grip until you feel comfortable.
* Don't overdo it. You're just warming your muscles for your ride. If you tire them out before the main event, you will find yourself getting fatigued before your ride is over.
Taking the necessary measures before you hop on your bike and take of is key to a successful ride. The right clothes, armor, visibility equipment and warm-up routine will ensure that you get the most out of your ride and return home in one piece, ready and willing to go out on your next adventure.