Five Ways to Avoid The Most Common Cycling Injuries

For a lot of folks, cycling isn’t mere­ly a great form of fit­ness but also a main method of trans­porta­tion. So cycling injuries not only put them in pain but also pre­vent them from ped­al­ing to work.

For­tu­nate­ly, most of the com­mon bike-relat­ed injuries are eas­i­ly avoid­able. Here are five easy ways to pre­vent some of the more com­mon cycling injuries.

Wear a helmet
This is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est way to pre­vent some of the most seri­ous injuries you can get from rid­ing a bicy­cle. And yet, it’s unbe­liev­able how many peo­ple still ride with­out pro­tect­ing their nog­gins. For­get hel­met hair, a head injury could keep you off your bike forever.

Prop­er bike fit
If your bike doesn’t fit your body right, you’ll feel it. You’ll feel it all over. Your back, knees, and neck will be sore. You might feel numb­ness in your arms and hands, all of which can lead to more seri­ous nerve prob­lems. So if you’re unsure of what size bike frame you need, ask before you buy. Most bike shop employ­ees will be hap­py to help you find a good fit and let you take a test ride to be sure. Bod­ies are built dif­fer­ent­ly, so the bike that fits your friend of the same height might not be the right size for you. When you’re seat­ed on a bike, your legs should ful­ly extend while ped­al­ing and you should be able to reach the han­dle­bars with­out strain­ing, your elbows slight­ly bent.

A good saddle
You might find that the sad­dle that came with your bike is not very com­fort­able. Some­times it’s dread­ful­ly uncom­fort­able, leav­ing you with numb­ness and pain in a sen­si­tive area after longer rides. If this is the case, get some chamois cream to pre­vent sores, and, you know, just buy a new sad­dle. There are a vari­ety of sad­dles with wider backs or cutouts to choose from that may help relieve some of the pressure—and it’s a good invest­ment because the very last thing you want is to end up with any major uro­gen­i­tal or repro­duc­tive health issues. Don’t be shy about explain­ing the issue to some­one at your local bike shop. They’ve like­ly heard it before and will be able to point you to a more com­fort­able bike seat.

The best way to avoid cramps is to keep your mus­cles prop­er­ly hydrat­ed. Water is per­fect­ly suf­fi­cient for short­er or eas­i­er rides, though you might want a sports drink to replace elec­trolytes for longer, more intense rides.

Tak­ing the time to stretch can help pre­vent a lot of overuse injuries and cramp­ing. Pay extra atten­tion to your ham­strings and quadri­ceps, which tend to cramp and tight­en most often for cyclists. If you do cramp up, take a break and give your­self a mas­sage with your knuck­les to loosen the mus­cles. Foam rollers are also great for self-mas­sage, though be pre­pared for the pain that comes with rolling, because it’ll hurt. It’ll hurt so good.