It’s the Summer of Two Wheels! Here Are Some Post-Ride Rituals to Try Now
These expert tips are sure to help you recover after a long bike ride — and get you ready for the next one.
Image credit: Alana Paterson
Post-bike ride rituals
Biking’s become the go-to activity of the pandemic — it’s physical distancing-friendly and a fun, active way to explore your city. Plus, if you’re an adventure seeker, you can take your ride off-road for a bit of action.
But biking can also be an intense workout. When you’re feeling exhausted after your ride, these four expert tips will help you wind down and get ready for the next one.
(Related: 5 Handy Biking Apps to Amp Up Your Ride)
Image credit: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock
1. Get stretching
Avoid sore muscles and injury by stretching once you get off the bike. In the next three slides, you’ll find a few of our favourite stretches that will focus on your legs and reversing your hunched-over-the-handlebars posture.
Image: Adrian Pandelet Barco/Shutterstock
Try: Quad stretch
Your quadriceps are the biggest biking muscles. Stand up, then bend your knee to bring your heel toward your bum. With the hand on the same side, grab your foot near the ankle and pull up closer toward your bum, while keeping the knee under the hip to avoid any torque or pull at the knee joint. If you’re feeling off-kilter, stabilize yourself with the opposite hand against a wall, railing or chair.
(Related: 4 Quad Stretches Everyone Should Know)
Image credit: SOPRADIT/Shutterstock
Try: Downward-Facing Dog
This classic yoga pose helps elongate the posterior chain of muscles (from your plantar fascia and feet muscles, along the backs of your legs and your spine, right to the top of your head). Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Tuck in your toes (in a tippytoe position) and lift your knees off the floor, lengthening your legs as you raise your tailbone as high as possible. Keep your spine long by keeping your bum high, palms planted, wrist creases facing away from you and shoulders away from the ears. To avoid putting too much weight on your wrists, keep your palms planted and wrist creases forward. If your hamstrings are feeling particularly tight, step your feet wider, keep the heels lifted and bend your knees. No need to stay still in this posture, as movement can feel great: Pedal the feet and move the hips side to side. You should feel the stretch in the backs of your legs and along the spine.
Image credit: Shunevych Serhii/Shutterstock
Try: Cow pose
This pose helps open up the front of the body (particularly the chest) and can help counteract hours of being hunched over your handlebars. Start on your hands and knees, with wrists under shoulders, knees under hips and toes tucked or untucked. Press your palms (backs of knuckles too) firmly into your mat. On the inhale, roll your shoulders up to your ears, then together and back as you open your chest and look forward. Allow the belly to sink down a little as you open your chest. On the exhale, return your spine to the flat position (or go into Cat pose, with your head down, spine arched and tailbone toward heels). You can move through this pose a few times, returning to neutral spine (or Cat pose) with each exhale. Or, stay for a few breaths in Cow pose.
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2. Roll it out
A foam roller, which has been shown to help with myofascial release and relieve muscle tension, can help you recover even faster from a hard ride. Focus your rolling on the calves, thighs, hamstrings, glutes and hips.
Image credit: Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock
3. Soak away your aches and pains
Whenever you finish a heavy workout, your body is missing all that good stuff you just sweated out, namely moisture and magnesium. “Epsom salts are essentially magnesium, which is absolutely critical for your muscles to relax and recover post-ride,” says Ira Kargel, the co-owner of Gears Bike Shop.
(Related: The Best Bath Soaks for Better Relaxation)
4. Quench your thirst
The post-ride beer is a big part of cycling culture — mostly because it’s so satisfying. While water is still the best way to quench your thirst after a hard workout, there’s nothing more indulgent and gratifying than that first sip of an ice-cold beer. A brew after a long bike ride might not be endorsed by health experts, but you can stick to one, and it means you get to spend a little bit more time outside, soaking in the sunshine and bonding with your fellow cyclists.
Now that you know how to unwind after cycling, this is what you need to know about golf, the perfect pandemic sport you need to get into this summer.