How to Handle Your Summer Cycle Commute in Brisbane

We all know that summer in Brisbane can be hard to handle… but it shouldn’t be the reason to give up your bike ride to work. 

However, it’s important to look after yourself on your commute. No one wants to come to work sweaty and red-faced, or with more serious health concerns, so it’s important you take action to mitigate those risks.

If you love all of the benefits that come with riding to work, here are the best ways to make it through summer…


*Mention this blog to our team at cycle2city and get:

10% OFF any SUN SAFE CLOTHING and SURFMUD SUNSCREEN from the bike shop!

Find us downstairs – 2nd level, King George Square Bus Station, Brisbane. Ph : 0488 552 338

Valid until end of January 2021.


Hydrate

Keeping your fluids up is important throughout the year but it is especially crucial in summer, particularly if you are exercising. 

Dehydration can cause a range of issues but is easily avoidable by drinking water before and after you ride, and keeping a drink bottle on hand for sips during your cycle!

Plan Your Route

In the height of summer, you’ll want to minimise the time that you spend in the sun. You’ll thank yourself later if you plan ahead and choose a shadier route with fewer hills on your way to work.

A particularly gruelling route isn’t a good idea if you’re riding in the heat of the sun as it can lead to numerous heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke.

Heat stroke symptoms and prevention - ride to work

Choose Your Times Wisely

As well as where you ride, it is also important to plan when you ride. 

For most of us, the commute to work will usually be in the mornings and evenings anyway, but it’s always good to keep in mind that you should be riding in the cooler parts of the day so you don’t overheat. 

Dress For It

It may be obvious, but wearing thicker, less breathable clothing isn’t going to keep you cooler. Have a chat to your local bike shop for summer gear that offers sufficient ventilation!

Be Sun Safe

While it’s important to dress for the weather in terms of keeping cool, you should also ensure that you’re being sun safe. You should:

  • Cover up (with breathable clothing)
  • Apply sunscreen
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses

*Mention this blog to our team at cycle2city and get:

10% OFF any SUN SAFE CLOTHING and SURFMUD SUNSCREEN from the bike shop!

Find us downstairs – 2nd level, King George Square Bus Station, Brisbane. Ph : 0488 552 338

Valid until end of January 2021.


Cool Off!

Before going into work, you’ll want to cool off from your ride. At cycle2city, we have a variety of facilities to accommodate your ride to work… including cold showers! 

For all your biking and storage needs, Get in touch or GRAB A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.


A Guide For People Who Want To Ride To Work But Can’t Get Started

You may be well aware of the physical, psychological and environmental benefits of riding your bike to work… but the push to actually start doing it isn’t easy for everyone.

Many people find it difficult to motivate themselves when considering swapping the car for the bike but it doesn’t mean it should stop you.

There are plenty of things you can do to get yourself on the saddle and riding to work. 

Here are our tried and true tips:

Get The Gear

The right clothes, bike and helmet are imperative for any ride… and without these, it’s understandable why you’re finding it difficult to get started.

You don’t have to buy new. The old bike in the back shed might just need a bit of ‘tending to’ before it’s good as new… check out our post on How to Maintain Your Bike – The Ultimate Guide to get it back up to scratch.

Set Achievable Goals

A good way to get started is by setting yourself easy to meet goals.

This could be as simple as easing yourself into it by going for a ride on the weekend as a trial. Otherwise, you could set yourself the challenge of riding to work once or twice a week, which is a great way to form a new habit. 

It can also be helpful to know The Impressive Benefits of Riding to Work in Brisbane. Riding to work has positives for you, your wallet and the environment… and reminding yourself of this might just be the push you need to get started.

Infographic about the benefits of cycling

Make a Plan to Ride Work

Knowing what time to get up, what route you are going to take and where you’re going to store your bike when you get there can help make the first ride to work a lot easier.

If you are wondering what to do with your bike when you get to work, cycle2city has got you covered if you’re riding to work in Brisbane.

Located in the heart of Brisbane, cycle2city has a range of wonderful facilities that are fully equipped to make riding to work easier for you. This includes secure storage, lockers, access to showers and a workshop!

Get in touch today or GRAB A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.

 


How Cycling to Work Can Increase Your Fitness

When you lead a busy life, it can be hard to find the time to exercise. Getting to the gym can be difficult between work, family and other commitments. Cycling to work can be a great way to squeeze fitness and ‘you time’ into your day.

Cycling has a range of health benefits that are good for your body and mind. Check out our blog on The Impressive Benefits of Riding to Work in Brisbane and read on for how this activity can improve your fitness…

Swap Sitting for Riding

If you usually get to work by public transport or car, you’re starting your day sitting, then you may spend the rest of the day sitting at your desk. That’s not great for your health, but riding to work gets your body moving, increasing fitness and uses your time before and after work efficiently. 

Exercise your Whole Body

Cycling works all your leg muscles, from calves to glutes. But that’s not the only area that gets a workout. Simply holding yourself upright while balancing on a bike engages your core and back muscles. Similarly, your arms and hands are strengthened by gripping the handlebars and steering. Cycling provides a full body workout.

Becomes a Habit

Commuter cycling can be more effective than other forms of exercise (such as going to the gym) because it’s done more often and without thinking of it as exercise. It becomes a daily habit that’s not easily broken. A habit which happens to increase your fitness. 

An Aerobic Workout

Aerobic exercise has a range of benefits that can help in improving your fitness. Pushing pedals  is great for the heart, brain and blood vessels and also releases endorphins. This will put you in a great mood for work, and get you excited to ride back home in the afternoon!

Cycle to Your Intensity

The great thing about bike riding is that you can go as hard or slow as you like. Whatever pace you choose will help to build up your fitness and stamina and it also means you don’t have to be completely knackered when you get to work… unless you’re running late of course!

If you’re keen to start riding to work in Brisbane, you’ll need a place to store your bike. Be sure to contact the team at cycle2city for information on our amazing facilities right in the heart of Brisbane. Get in touch or GRAB A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.


Don’t Try Riding To Work Without Reading This First

So you’ve seen them riding to work, and you want desperately to be one: the content cyclists, cruising past traffic and happily getting to work on time and getting fit at the same time.

They’re not at the mercy of the bus that may or may not show up, or stuck in time zapping traffic. They know when they cycle to work it takes the exact same time each day.

But before you get on your bike and join them, here’s a few key points that will make your first ride to work all the better:

Commute to work safely:

Safety is a major concern when cycling to work, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it safer for yourself, these include:

  • Stay alert
  • Know the cycling road rules for your state
  • Avoid busy roads
  • Take the bike path if possible, even if it’s a little longer
  • Take your time
  • Wear bright, highly visible clothing
  • Make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians
  • Be aware of vehicle blind spots
  • Maintain a roadworthy bike

Don’t go too hard too soon:

For a short ride, you could ride to and from work straight up. But as with anything, it’s a good idea to start out slow when riding to work for the first time….

Totally wasting yourself on your first day will only put you off ever riding again, and you’ll likely be unable to move properly for the next few days.

For longer commutes of 45 – 60 minutes, think about riding one way for the first day and building up your rides as you become fitter. Another option is to drive some of the way, park, and cycle the rest, making the ride more doable.

Wear bike pants:

You’ve seen them, those baggy bottomed pants cyclist wear…

Consider getting some!

There are plenty of stylish options out there and they’ll really make your ride much more comfortable.

Do a test ride:

Getting to know the route you’ll take to work ahead of the big day, will remove the fear of the unknown and provide confidence. 

If you don’t have the option to store your bike in your office or building, you can also test out where you’ll park your bike. Or you could look into ‘end of trip’ bike facilities like those offered by cycle2city in Brisbane. These facilities can make your ride absolutely hassle-free.  

Now you’re equipped with a little more knowledge to make your first ride to work a pleasure. For a deeper look at preparing to ride to work, check out our recent blog.

If you’re considering riding to work in Brisbane, contact the team at cycle2city, we have wonderful bike storage facilities right in the heart of Brisbane. Get in touch or GRAB A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.

 


Become a Better Cyclist: Nutrition Basics

Good nutrition and a balanced diet is important for everyone, but you could argue that it is even more important for those who are active; particularly if you’re actively trying to improve at your sport!

Having a basic understanding of nutrition is important from a health perspective, so let’s jump in!

What are macronutrients?

Protein, carbohydrates and fat are called “macronutrients” because they are needed in relatively large amounts. They have slightly different functions in your body.

As cliche as it sounds, protein really is your body’s building blocks. It is made up of 20 different amino acids – some essential, and some non-essential – and is responsible for repairing, maintaining and growing tissue, including muscle tissue.

Protein is found in almost all foods, but complete and essential amino acids are really only found in meat and dairy products. Legumes, tofu and other vegan protein sources are great dietary additions, but have a lowered ability to repair and grow muscle tissue.

Carbohydrates are your quickest energy source, and will make up the majority of the daily caloric intake for most people. Carbs, as they’re also known, can be further segmented into sugars, starches and dietary fiber.

Carbs are converted to simple sugars like glucose and fructose in your small intestine and can quickly be released into your bloodstream for a burst of energy. It can also be converted into glycogen and stored for when you need it later – particularly during exercise!

Food sources that contain carbohydrates in spades include bread, pasta, vegetables and fruits, and all sorts of sweets.

Dietary fats, like carbohydrates, can be divided into several subcategories: saturated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. It is a complex and confusing topic in and of itself.

Sources of  “healthy” fats include avocados, fish, nuts and seeds, and cooking oils like olive oil. Saturated fats and trans fats are the types that you’ll want to limit, which is found in all the tasty foods we love: chips, bacon, butter, ice cream, pies, pastries, pizza and burgers.

What are micronutrients?

The reason for micronutrients’ name is the same as macronutrients; they are needed in small doses, usually less than 100 milligrams per day. Examples of micronutrients are vitamins like vitamin A, B, C – and so on – and minerals like iron and zinc.

Multivitamin tablet may be the most common dietary supplement in the world, though it is largely regarded as unnecessary unless you have nutritional deficiencies that you cannot adapt to. If you’re a healthy individual with a balanced and nutritious diet, you are probably already covering your micronutrient needs.

Image source: Examine.com

What should I eat before a ride?

Carbohydrates are especially good before working out, as its energy is easily converted and used by the body for the energy you’ll need to get through strenuous exercise! Adding a source of protein to your pre-workout meal is also a great idea, as it will help your body repair the stress you put on your muscle tissue when exercising.

Caffeine is the most common performance enhancing drug in the world, and has a long list of physical and cognitive effects, including increased alertness and increased strength output. Consider having a cup of coffee or tea before hopping on the bike.

What should I eat after a ride?

Post-workout nutrition is arguably more important than what you eat beforehand. This is the meal that will help repair muscle tissue and replenish the energy you just spend!

A well balanced meal is in order here: protein will repair and rebuild muscle tissue, carbohydrates will help replenish the energy (glycogen) stored in your muscles, and fat will give you that long-term energy to keep you going for hours more.

As big advocates of weekend rides with friends and family, a classic Aussie cafe breakfast is pretty ideal! Smashed avo on toast with bacon or a generous helping of savoury mince should cover all of your needs and keep you going for the rest of the day!

If you want more in-depth information regarding nutrition, you can read the Australian dietary guidelines online here.

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:

 

 

 

This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.


Become a Better Cyclist: Strengthening Exercises for Cyclists

Cycling is very unique in that it puts your body in the same position and has you performing the same motion thousands of times every time you ride.

Your body will adapt to this stimuli and strengthen your muscles to produce maximum power output in certain ranges of motion. It’s great for cycling, but it may be less than optimal from a every day health perspective.

For example, riding will put your back into flexion; leaning forward and bending your back. Therefore, strengthening muscles that pull the back into a neutral position could be a good idea to avoid becoming hunched over.

All of these exercises will be possible to do at home! Try to aim for 3-5 sets of the same number of repetitions. You don’t want to burn yourself out completely, so try to stop when you feel like you could do two more reps: this is more effective for muscle growth than going to failure, and should allow you to repeat the same set a couple times.

Without further ado, let’s look at our top 5 strengthening exercises that will make you a better cyclist!

Glute bridge

Your glutes are some of the most powerful muscles in your body – or at least they should be. As part of the muscles that extend your hips and let you stand up straight, glutes can often become weakened if you have a sedentary lifestyle or spend most of your workday sitting down.

Glute bridges are a great way to strengthen one of the key muscles in cycling. Better yet, you can do it at home – right now – with no additional equipment needed. Simply lie down on your back, plant your soles on the floor shoulder width apart, and use your glutes to drive your hips up.

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Try to keep your shins as perpendicular to the floor as you can. Engage your core to keep your upper body straight, and that’s it! Single leg glute bridge, the more advanced version, is a great option if you find glute bridges too easy: do this by keeping one leg straight and in line with your torso, and the other planted as normal.

Bent-over row

Since most of our time spent on a bike is leaning forward, it’s important to strengthen your back muscles so that we can avoid getting hunched over. The bent-over row is an excellent exercise that targets the middle and upper part of your back while using your core to stabilise your position.

Place your right hand and right knee on an even surface – you could use two chairs, a table, or even a sofa or bed. Engage your core to keep your back straight, and keep your neck in a neutral position. Grab your dumbbell with the left hand and use your back muscles to drive your elbow back. Simple as you like.

If you don’t have access to dumbbells or kettlebells at home, there are plenty of ways to improvise! A three litre milk bottle (or two) could be plenty for a beginner. You could also put a couple in a backpack or use a bucket – just be careful not to spill it! Resistance bands are also a great option here.

Russian twist

Cycling requires a strong core. A lot of time spent on the bike is with your torso in front of your centre of gravity, and strong abdominal muscles will help balance your body. Core exercises can be quite tricky; sit-ups can sometimes be a bit hard on your back, while lying leg lifts can end up using your hip flexors – muscles that already see plenty of use when pedaling – more than your abs.

Few exercises develop strong abdominal muscles like the Russian twist, though. Here’s how you do a Russian twist: simply sit down on the floor with your feet out in front of you. You can keep your heels on the ground if you like, but try not to put too much weight on them. 

Start by holding your clenched fists above your hips. Twist to one side, touch the ground lightly and then do the same on the other side. Add weight if you find this too easy! Dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine balls are optimal, but you can also be creative and fill an empty milk bottle with water. Taking your feet off the ground will make it harder, as you will need to use your core muscles to stabilise your body.

Push-ups

Now that we have exercises that cover your back, glutes and core muscles, it’s time to cover the chest and triceps. Although they aren’t directly related to pedaling power, it’s important to ensure that no muscle groups are underdeveloped. Strong triceps will also make it easier to ride for longer periods, as strong arms help support your bodyweight.

Place your hands under your shoulder joint or slightly outside. Keep your core engaged and straight, and lower yourself down before pushing up. If you find it hard to know how low you need to go, you can put a tennis ball or orange beneath your chest!

There are a lot of push-up variations available if you find them too easy: deficit push-ups, pike push-ups or using a weighted backpack are great options if you are more advanced.

Dumbbell deadlifts

Deadlifts are a fantastic way to train your whole posterior chain in one exercise: you’ll feel this in your back, glutes and hamstrings as well as your abs. It’s deceptively simple, but slow and controlled movements will still make this one challenging.

Simply stand up straight with weights in your hands. Unlock your knees and pull your hips backwards to start the movement. “Paint your legs” with the weights on the way down to keep your centre of gravity over your midfoot. Stop when you feel your hamstrings stretched far enough that you can’t go lower without using your knees; usually just below the knees.

Too simple? Try one-legged for an added challenge! Yes, this does require weights, but getting creative with a bucket of water, a bag of cement or two milk bottles is an option if you don’t have dumbbells or a kettlebell available.

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:

Did we miss your favourite strengthening exercises? Let us know on Facebook!

 

 

 

This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.