RIDE SMART:

Your bike is nicely in tune. How about that body sit­ting on top?

Cycle World - - News - By John L. Stein

Pump it up, or how keep­ing fit can im­prove ev­ery ride you take.

Bikes are not cars, thank­fully. Instead of sit­ting in them, nat­u­rally we sit on them. In lieu of smooth power steer­ing, we man­u­ally op­er­ate a vi­brat­ing han­dle­bar con­nected to the front wheel. Rather than swig­ging a caramel mac­chi­ato at the stop­light, we spend our idle time bal­anc­ing a top-heavy ma­chine weigh­ing 300 to 900 pounds. And if you’re a dirt rider or vin­tage geek, you may have to first kick­start an en­gine, old-school style. Yes, rid­ing is a phys­i­cal task—and like with any sport, you’ll get better if you pre­pare for it. “Mo­bil­ity is the main thing,” says Peter Park, whose com­pany Plat­inum Fit­ness trains SX/MX rac­ers Ken Roczen, Blake Baggett, Chris­tian Craig, Adam Cian­cia­rulo, and Chase Sex­ton. “Even peo­ple who used to be ath­letic lose mo­bil­ity from sit­ting and be­ing in­ac­tive. Their joints get tight, and they can no longer sit down in a ‘squat pat­tern,’ the safe po­si­tion on a mo­tor­cy­cle.”

This isn’t just an “old guy” prob­lem, Park notes. “The gen­er­a­tion com­ing up is way worse, with all the hours spent on com­put­ers and tex­ting. We're now see­ing ‘com­puter pos­ture’ in young kids; they have move­ment pat­terns of peo­ple 50 or 60!” Here are four rid­ing-spe­cific work­outs that rid­ers can use to boost con­fi­dence and con­trol—and thus safety.

BUILD THE FOUN­DA­TION. Park’s train­ing starts with cre­at­ing a strong foun­da­tion, a.k.a. your “core.” This means strength­en­ing the mid­sec­tion and im­prov­ing flex­i­bil­ity. “Think of your core as a chas­sis,” Park sug­gests. “With a weak frame, even the best en­gine and sus­pen­sion is use­less.”

ACHIEVE CAR­DIO FIT­NESS. Run, hike, swim, or cy­cle mod­er­ately for 30 to 45 min­utes, three times per week. “You will make a lot fewer mis­takes when fit than tired,” Park notes. “This means you'll be safer on the mo­tor­cy­cle.”

IM­PROVE GEN­ERAL STRENGTH. You don’t have to con­quer ev­ery ma­chine in the gym to im­prove your rid­ing. “To start, fo­cus on core mus­cle build­ing by do­ing squats, dead lifts, pull-ups, and push-ups,” Park says. “Even twice a week will build valu­able strength.”

OP­TI­MIZE YOUR PO­SI­TION. Watch what the best guys do,” Park says. They all ride with their hips back and a flat back—not slouched. “With good pos­ture, all your power can go into con­trol­ling the bike.”

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