Whether you're on a fixed bike or riding outdoors, cycling is one of those activities that seems pretty straightforward (hence "it's like riding a bike"). However, taking on a few bad habits is easier than you think, and bad technique can cramp your driving style, damage your body and even damage your bike.
Sitting there and wondering if you are lazy the saddle? We've raised a few experienced cyclists to help you get past nine harmful habits and become a better biker.
I do not wear a helmet while cycling.
I mean, Come on, guys! The biggest and most obvious bike no-no-principle is wearing a helmet. Even wearing an incorrect seat can be harmful – a comfortable helmet is an absolute must as a loose fit will not protect you in an accident.
Even if local laws do not require you to wear a helmet, do it anyway. Nix the annoying excuses you make: No distance is too short, temperature too hot or hairstyle too perfect to justify not protecting your brain . Promise me you'll never want to ride a bike without a helmet again, OK?
. 2 Neglect your equipment.
Sarah Hoots, a domestic elite cyclist from Unknown Cycling in Charlotte, NC, says serious cyclists who earn serious miles should buy a new bike every 2-3 years. Instead of getting a brand new whip, she says you can invest in a great carbon frame and swap components as needed. "A new chain is as valuable as a new bike, so make sure you get a new one every 2,000 miles," says Hoots.
Hoots also suggests maintaining a regular maintenance schedule at your local bike shop to avoid long-term problems. "If you drive more than once a week, it may happen once every three months, fewer cyclists should go twice a year, but always check the tire pressure and visually inspect the tires to check for small tears or leaks." says Hoots
3. Biking with the wrong size.
If you are not riding a BMX bike that is intentionally small you should talk with an expert before you buy to get fit for a bike. Paul Levine, CEO of Signature Cycles of Greenwich, CT, says that proper fit plays a major role in injury prevention and overall comfort on the bike.
"Many companies measure their bikes at slightly different points," says Levine. "Even within the same manufacturer, you can drive a 56 cm frame in one model and a 54 cm frame in another model, simply because of the design of the bike." So many riders land on the wrong equipment, if they are not experienced Store personnel work by a mechanic who determines the size of the bike. "
Levine also notes that the right fit in a store improves the overall driving experience, no matter how good you are as a cyclist. "For more experienced riders, equipment can improve performance and account for lifestyle changes or help us achieve goals," he says. "Our body changes dramatically over time, we lose weight (or gain weight), have injuries (or children), and develop as cyclists as the miles gather – our positions on our motorcycles must reflect this. "
4. Skipping meals before or after a ride.
They need to refuel before driving, but for cyclists there is no plan that works for everyone involved. Erin Nelson, a trainer at Swerve Fitness, New York City, says eating before exercise depends entirely on the person, especially for morning classes. "If you want to eat something, make sure it's at least 30 to 45 minutes before class, I love RxBars and always have them with me."
After a ride, it's important to recharge as many calories are burned while cycling. Nelson recommends eating a nutritious smoothie until you can get a meal with lean protein and lots of green.
Do not forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after a ride. "The actual amount during a workout varies from person to person, but you should aim for about 36 ounces of water in the hours before and after training," says Nelson.
. 5 Hardly warm up or cool down.
Even if you hate it, stretch yourself before and after a ride. Stretching is the best way to prevent injury, Nelson said, and is also essential for rest and freedom of movement.
Nelson recommends the lunge of a runner, as it extends the hip flexors, which are usually very tense when cycling. And massages are always a great idea for sore muscles – this is your permission to book the spa day you've always dreamed of.
Most indoor cycling spots allow riders to enter the studio at least five minutes before class. So Nelson suggests getting on the bike early to warm up. "This is a great way to relax your body and prepare your muscles for action," she says.
. 6 Waiver of anti-scour cream.
Uneasiness from scrubbing during an epic ride is such a buzzkill. But good news: this agonizing pain is completely preventable. Hoots knows from experience that when running in the groin friction occurs after hours of friction. She suggests applying a generous amount of Chamois Butt to all areas of skin wrinkles that can be touched by the padding on her shorts.
. 7 Lousy form. Cycling has relatively little effect on your joints, but only if you have the right alignment. All too often, beginners push their knees outward instead of engaging them or riding at too low a seat height.
Spreading knees cause severe pain on the road (and let a clown look like a tricycle). Keep knees slightly inwards and elbows tight. "When the saddle is in the saddle, the body position should all be inside the frame of the bike, and the trunk muscles should be used to support the back," says Nelson.
To measure the correct seat height, start by aligning the seat with the hip. Then sit on the saddle and adjust the height so that you only have a 30 degree angle in your knee while stretching your leg. If the seat is too high, which puts strain on the tendons and ligaments in the hips and knees, and too deep driving will result in engagement with your quads and patellar tendons.
And if you're sitting on a fixed bike, Hoots has an easy-to-follow rule of thumb for checking your shape: "There should be a straight line from the center of the pedal to the top of the kneecap, anything above or behind is causing knee pain, "she says.  8. Not being aware of the environment.
Wearing headphones is simply stupid when cycling outdoors. You will not be vigilant, you will have difficulty hearing car horns and emergency sirens and you will definitely not hear any other cyclists approaching you. Even in the countryside, you need to know all your senses to be fully aware of your surroundings and to prevent accidents.
In most areas, using your phone while driving is prohibited, and bicycles are no exception. Not Text and Ride . If you want to send a message, take a picture or check the directions, stop by the side of the road. Keep your phone out of sight to prevent the temptation to check in.
. 9 Play by the rules.
Cyclists hate drivers, but also drivers hate cyclists. They must comply with the Highway Code. Do not accidentally roll through stop signs, ignore red traffic lights or weave traffic – you can not predict when another person can open a car door or drive a red traffic light.
And if there is no bike path the road, command space on your track. Never drive in pedestrian areas or on sidewalks because you are moving faster than people walking. Do not hug the curb and risk being pushed off the street. "Cars should give cyclists three feet as they drive past, though not every driver respects this rule," says Hoots.
Lola Méndez is a full-time traveler and freelance journalist who has explored more than 50 countries. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.