Cycling tips

Feeling the wind brush against your face in the great outdoors is always a pleasure – whether you’re an experienced racing cyclist, a mountain biker or just an ‘ordinary’ cyclist. So, what should you watch out for these days? What should you do when it comes to social distancing and is it a good idea to push yourself to the limit? Nick Stöpler, Pon Fit trainer, Eurosport commentator and himself a racing cyclist/track cyclist, shares his tips.

Nick Stöpler: ‘Now that we’re all stuck at home and face restrictions on our activities, it’s only natural that we want to continue to cycle, especially in the good weather. But there are certain things you need to watch out for. For example, a computer simulation by universities KU Leuven and Eindhoven University of Technology has revealed that jogging and cycling leave behind a slipstream or cloud of sweat that can reach much further than 1.5 m.’

for cycling safely

  • Preferably cycle alone and avoid cycling behind each other. Keep a distance of 1.5 m, and, taking account of the research above, preferably even more. Whenever you overtake someone, always stay as wide as possible. Take your position on the road well in advance, to avoid overtaking in the slipstream.
  • Don't overdo it when training, because: 
    • this can affect your immune system, making it more likely that the virus will hit you hard;
    • the cloud of moisture from your body surrounding you is bigger, making it easier to transmit the virus to others. If you don’t feel well or are coughing, stay indoors. 
  • Try to find other challenges in your training. These might include types of training in which your heart rate stays lower. Try some short sprints (no longer than 10 seconds) or do blocks of power training. Try pedaling a very high gear at a low cadence, or stay seated when accelerating after a bend. This provides plenty of challenge but places less pressure on your cardiovascular system (which helps drive your immune system). This puts the most strain on your muscles, which is fine.
  • Don’t snort through your nose in the presence of others or use a tissue that you dispose of at home in a sealed bin. It may be difficult to adapt but try to be strict about this. It’s extremely important to limit transmission.
  • Also, make extra checks to ensure your equipment is in order.

Want to continue training? This is how it’s done

  • Power training
    Do regular blocks of power training for several minutes on your highest gear. Watch your posture (avoid rocking) and try to keep your pedaling equal. This includes when accelerating after the bends.  
  • Power sprints
    Choose a difficult gear and go full pelt for a maximum of 10 seconds. Repeat this several times. Take plenty of rest in-between, allowing your heart rate to drop completely again. Only do this if you know the area well and it’s extremely quiet.
  • Take a long, calm and relaxing cycle ride
    Make it into a relaxation exercise. It’s a great opportunity to clear your head. You can also focus on your surroundings. Who knows, you might see something. 
As a rule of thumb, you should still have plenty of energy when you get home. This means you haven’t pushed your limits.

Good luck!

Nick Stöpler