Now that the gyms are closed, cycling is a nice alternative. What are the benefits of cycling? And if you are looking for more challenge, how do you take the first steps towards a sports bike? How do you prevent annoying ailments?
Cycling is hot, notes Kaj Heeres. Heeres has been working for twelve years Bikeshop Amersfoort and sees a significant increase in the sales of the number of bicycles compared to previous years. “In the spring we always sell more, because the cycling season will then start and the weather will be better. However, the increase is now more substantial, especially for bikes in the entry-level category.”
Road bikes and mountain bikes for beginners
By “entry category” Heeres means racing bikes and mountain bikes for beginners: just a step further than a normal bike, but not immediately a professional racing bike. Sports bikes for the beginner, so. “These cannot be towed at the moment. They are sold out at most suppliers. There is also a great demand for second-hand mountain bikes and racing bikes, as well as recreational models,” says the bicycle seller.
It is striking that the number of electric bicycles has hardly increased, which could indicate that people want to cycle to maintain their health. But what is cycling just right for – and how do you start as a beginner on a mountain bike or road bike, without directly injuries or saddle pain?
Jeroen Mighout is a physiotherapist and advises his patients to cycle regularly, especially when they are recovering from surgery. “It is good for your joints, especially for the knees and hips. It also benefits your back. It promotes your mobility and reduces stiffness. It is also good for your fitness. Cycling keeps you young and fit.”
Reduced risk of chronic diseases
Cycling increases your heart rate, which increases the blood circulation in your body. Heart rate variation is important for a healthy and fit body. Even with a slight increase in heart rate, you are “active” and therefore require more effort from your body than usual. The risk of chronic diseases is reduced by strengthening physical, vital, cognitive and psychological functions.
Everyone can cycle, although it is important to look realistically at what your body can do when choosing the right bicycle. “I put a patient aged 60 or older on a bicycle less quickly than someone aged 45, although in some cases someone aged 60 is fitter than someone aged 45. This varies from person to person. Be honest and do not jump directly on a road bike if you thinks that’s too much for you to prevent accidents, “explains Mighout.
Everyone on the mountain bike
Mighout himself is a big cycling fan and regularly taps a lot of kilometers: in April he covered 1,250 kilometers on his racing bike, which he uses almost daily to commute to and from work. A few weeks ago he put his old mountain bike on the internet for sale. “It sold within an hour. It seems that everyone now wants to mountain bike,” says the physio.
Please note that you are not going to drive 40 kilometers on a bicycle every day as a madman. “You have to build up long distances so that your muscles can get used to them,” explains the physiotherapist. He also recommends paying close attention to your sitting position on the bike – and having it checked by a specialist if necessary and possible.
If you buy a new bicycle, you naturally want it to be comfortable. The correct frame size, the height of your handlebar and the type of saddle of your bicycle play a role in this. If you go for a road bike, you can consider doing a professional “bike measurement”.
“Then you are fully positioned on your bicycle by in most cases a physiotherapist. It is also called ‘bike fitting’ and they really take the time for that. Everything is adjusted precisely so that you have the ideal pressure point distribution on your bicycle. you with the least possible load on your bike, “says Mighout.
By pressure point distribution, the physiotherapist means the distribution of your weight over the bicycle. “In principle you have two pressure points when you are on a bicycle: your hands are the front pressure point, your buttocks the rear. Ideally, the bicycle is set so that your weight is evenly distributed between these pressure points, but this is of course also depending on what you like. “
This way you prevent saddle pain
If you’re just starting to ride a bike, saddle pain can be a problem. It is a matter of getting used to, but there are also a number of things to do about it:
- Take a good look at the size of the saddle. If a saddle is too big or too soft, this can quickly cause problems.
- Adjust the height of your saddle based on your pressure points. Is your saddle too low? Then there is more pressure on the back and this can cause saddle pain.
- How is your saddle positioned? In many cases you can slide a saddle slightly forward or backward on your seat post. If it is tilted forward, you have a lot of load on your sitting bone. But if you put your saddle all the way back, you sit with your arms stretched forward and you have a lot of ballast on your shoulders.
- Simple but effective: gel pads or a pad. You can put these on your saddle or put them on before you start your bike ride. This provides cushioning and pain relief