Tips and Advice to Improve Cycling

11 Quick Solutions to Cycling Problems

You can't become an expert cyclist overnight. But you can make yourself into a better, smarter and faster one in a flash with these ingenious tips

Beat Stress

11 Quick Solutions to Cycling Problems // Tips for becoming a better cyclist © Thinkstock

Image: Thinkstock

Cycling is inherently relaxing, but the way you breathe can enhance the beneficial effects. "With proper technique you can breathe more efficiently, using less energy and with a calming effect," says Russell Cree, a physical therapist and owner of Upper Echelon Fitness, in Portland, Oregon. "Short, shallow breaths create a fight-or-flight response, which has negative effects on performance." Cree suggests two methods:

CHANGE CADENCE

By altering the rhythm of your breathing, you can gain greater control over oxygen intake. Notice which downstroke you typically exhale on. If it's your right, practice exhaling on your left for one minute out of every five. Then practice a 3:2 breathing ratio, exhaling for a three count and inhaling for two. Try this for two to five minutes at a time in a variety of situations, including climbing and sprinting.

BELLY-BREATHE

Deep-diaphragm breathing fully inflates your lungs while using less energy. Let your belly relax and drop toward your top tube (rather than raising your ribs). This calms you by maximizing inhalation and decreasing energy use. Try to take in 20 to 60 breaths per minute, depending on your level of exertion.

Do It Yourself: Bike repairs made easy with the Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance.

PLUS: Need to chill more? Try these yoga moves for cyclists.