NAG­GING NECK PAIN?

TRY THESE SIM­PLE TWEAKS

Bicycling (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE -

If you sweat a lot on your bike while you ride, that could be the prob­lem. You need to rinse it off thor­oughly, as fre­quently as is prac­ti­cal.

Salt de­posits form in any kind of cor­ner – es­pe­cially un­der­neath clamps – and con­tinue the process of cor­ro­sion, even if the bike is dry. Un­less the lock­nut on your head­set has an O-ring seal, sweat can seep down the sides of your stem into the steerer tube.

If this hap­pens, you may need a hack­saw to re­move the stem from the steerer.

Clear sil­i­conerub­ber bath­room caulk can help keep sweat and wa­ter out of the in­side of your bike’s frame. A thin bead of clear sil­i­con around the base of the bike stem (wipe away the ex­cess) will pre­vent the prob­lem.

Since I started rid­ing, I’ve lost a de­cent amount of weight. But re­cently that’s stopped – what hap­pened?

You may be hit­ting a plateau in terms of your weight loss. As you be­come more ef­fi­cient, you burn fewer kilo­joules, so that 20km com­mute that helped you lose your first 5kg prob­a­bly won’t help you lose your next five.

“If you’re rid­ing at the same ef­fort level all the time, your body isn’t hav­ing to adapt,” says cy­cling coach Na­dia Sul­li­van. She rec­om­mends adding at least one day of speed­work a week, which will chal­lenge you to work harder and burn more kilo­joules.

More and more re­search also sug­gests that high- in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing makes you burn kilo­joules long af­ter the work­out is over. This is thanks to some­thing called ex­cess post- ex­er­cise oxy­gen con­sump­tion, or EPOC. When you push your body to its ab­so­lute lim­its, you con­tinue to use more oxy­gen – and thus burn more kilo­joules – for hours af­ter you’ve stopped your post- ride sweat­ing.

My friend tells me that I spend too much time do­ing long, slow rides, and should do high- in­ten­sity in­ter­vals more reg­u­larly. Is this the best way for­ward?

If you’ve al­ready built your base fit­ness, then yes; if not, then no. “The bulk of your rid­ing should be in ‘ Zone 2’, or at an in­ten­sity where you can have a con­ver­sa­tion – about a five or six on a one to 10 scale,” says long- time pro trainer Iñigo San Mil­lán.

He says that even pros spend a lot of time rid­ing at a steady pace to build and main­tain a strong foun­da­tion of en­durance fit­ness, at which you have op­ti­mum fat- burn­ing and cap­il­lary de­vel­op­ment.

This in­ten­sity isn’t slow or easy; rather, it’s a steady, mod­er­ate pace from start to fin­ish. So while it feels al­most too easy when you first roll out, by the time you fin­ish you should feel as though you’ve done some work.

I want to start com­mut­ing to work, but it goes against what I was taught about tak­ing time out to rest. Is it okay to ride every day?

If you ride to work every day, you won’t need to search for the time to ride. Plus, rack­ing up just three hours of rid­ing time a week slashes your risk of heart dis­ease and stroke in half. You’ll also lose the gut and un­wanted flab – no diet re­quired.

Be­sides the health ben­e­fits, you also save more money by not tak­ing your car. With the ris­ing cost of fuel, as well as the higher cost of main­tain­ing a ve­hi­cle as op­posed to a bike, you can save thou­sands by just mak­ing that sim­ple change.

Why do I feel slug­gish, even though I start my day with a cup of cof­fee?

If by ‘ start your day’ you mean first thing af­ter you put your feet out of bed, then you’re not go­ing to reap the ben­e­fits of the caf­feine. That’s be­cause in the first cou­ple of hours af­ter wak­ing, your lev­els of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol are at their high­est, which ac­tu­ally gives you a nat­u­ral en­ergy boost.

Many ex­perts agree that the best time to have your first cup is some time be­tween 10am and 12pm, when cor­ti­sol lev­els start to dip. That way, you’ll be tak­ing ad­van­tage of your body’s nat­u­ral high, and sav­ing that hit of caf­feine for when you re­ally need it.

If you do drink your first cup su­per- early, chances are you’ll need an­other a cou­ple of hours later, to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing – and more cof­fee may not be a good thing. For in­di­vid­u­als who have dif­fi­culty con­trol­ling con­di­tions such as high blood pres­sure or di­a­betes, the cons of ex­cess cof­fee may out­weigh the pros.

I’ve been hav­ing this nag­ging neck pain that’s mak­ing me re­con­sider my cy­cling fu­ture. What’s caus­ing it, and how can I stop it?

Well, you can start by gen­er­ally keep­ing your gaze about two me­tres in front of your front wheel. Not only will this au­to­mat­i­cally point you in the right di­rec­tion and help you avoid squir­rels, pot­holes, bro­ken glass and other ob­sta­cles, but it will also keep your neck in a neu­tral po­si­tion – which also hap­pens to be best for cy­cling.

Julie Bates, a Body Ge­om­e­try Fit In­struc­tor with Spe­cial­ized, says that hav­ing your han­dle­bars in the right po­si­tion (which de­pends largely on stem length) will also help to keep your neck pain- free.

She adds that reg­u­larly shift­ing your hands around to the dif­fer­ent po­si­tions avail­able on the han­dle­bars can also help avoid neck strain.

Lastly, when shift­ing your grip, keep your el­bows from lock­ing up – try to ride with strong but flex­i­ble el­bows that can re­spond to (and bet­ter ab­sorb) the shock from bumps in the road.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.