As we are nearing the last holiday of the summer season, we are racking our minds on how to best spend the three-day Labor Day weekend. And on top of the must-do activities on our list is to hop on our bicycles and go off-roads and hillsides.Let us do some physical activities to regain strength and soak up Vitamin D, which we are lacking nowadays as we have been staying at home for far too long so as to protect ourselves and loved ones, and not to further spread the virus. COVID-19 has caused a global pandemic that has hit the world for nearly two years now. Keeping ourselves healthy physically and mentally can help us cope with the dispiriting conditions we are all subjected to.Cycling is a fun and cheap activity that you can enjoy while being physically active. Not to mention the change of environment as we ride along the roads going to the mountains and places with a lot of greens. You can stop for a while and breathe in the clean air. On ordinary days, we stay too long in the bustling city, where we are exposed to polluted air.Riding your bicycle can help us protect ourselves from diseases such as heart disease, obesity, mental illness, and other problems that may have been caused by a sedentary lifestyle.We sure do love riding our bicycles on a regular basis on plain terrains and just within our neighborhood. Take this chance and spend the three-day weekend challenging yourself by ascending uphill.Cycling uphill can be a love-hate relationship. You will hate it because cycling can be difficult. You will hate it because your body is not ready for it. But once you get to try it, and of course prepare yourself mentally and physically, it becomes no question that you will definitely love cycling uphill. So, buckle up and soak into the sense of accomplishment once you have done it, especially the first time!We’ve rounded up a few tips for first-timers to ascend uphill.
Cycle early in the morning
Hills and early morning light are surefire combos to uplift your mood. Fresh air, sunshine, peace, and adrenaline soak in as you ascend the hills trigger the release of mood-lifting chemicals such as endorphins. The negative feelings that you harbor in the past few days or work stresses will be warded off. The fatigue and anxious feelings will be swept away. It helps clear your mind while you are on your bike. Breathe in, breathe out. As you continue pedaling and focusing on your breathing, the views will keep your mind at the moment.
Find your rhythm
A question that we always ask when climbing hills is: Should we pedal standing or sitting? And here is the most sound answer to that: In what position would you better maintain a consistent cadence over a long period? Naturally, that would be in the seated position. So before you get up off your seat, find your rhythm and stick with it. By changing positions, say by standing up, disrupts your rhythm and momentum. The ascent is hard as it is, and changing postures, not only throws off the momentum but also increases your heart rate.Standing can make the cyclist pull up on the handlebars so hard that you will lift the front wheel. And this will definitely disrupt the rhythm and cause weight imbalance. So, as a word of caution, always stick to your seat.However, this is not to say that standing up while riding is always a no-go. There will be instances that standing up can make your ride easier. Some may find it extremely difficult to stay seated when traversing a very steep hill. So, some cyclists switch to a standing position for a short while to give their leg muscles a break.
Climb at your pace
Cycling should never be hurried, well, unless you are in a race so the speed is a big factor in cycling. But, if you are there just to enjoy the view and challenge yourself, climb at your own pace. A regular check on your heart rate as you ascend is also a good way to monitor your performance. It is easy to feel pressured when you are left behind by your companions, but do not let that get into your head. Pushing yourself beyond what is comfortable for you, will only result in disappointment. So, relax your upper body, settle into your pace, and focus on a smooth ride.
Watch your weight and physical condition
The heavier you are, the harder the ascend will be. Do not take this personally. The lack of inertia and basic physics involved in gravity explains that. So, generally, the lighter riders will have an easier uphill experience.However, do not let your weight bother you to the point of stopping the ride. You may squeeze in some exercises prior to your uphill climb. This not only strengthens you physically, which is a great factor in pulling off this challenge but also trains your breathing and heart rate.
Secure your bikes when transporting
While many cyclists start their journey by cycling from their homes to the hillsides, you can always opt to drive your way there. So, it is important to buy a bike hitch rack that will safely secure your bikes on the road. And the product that provides assurance when transporting the bike is the BHR4 Bike Hitch Rack. The rack has adjustable straps that can hold up to four bikes with different frame sizes. The rack’s body can swing up, down, forward and backward, which allows easier lifting of bikes. It also has an anti-wobble knob to push it back to its original position and also strengthens the connection between the mainmast and folding armens. This means that the bike rack can be securely fixed in place. Moreover, the rack’s arms can be easily folded when not in use, so they won’t get in the way even if they are installed in your vehicle.