Cycling is the ideal way to reclaim a toned body in time for summer. It's a great way to get energised and get in shape in time for bikinis and shorts – long lean thighs are not just a dream! These tips for summer cycling are brought to you by Merida, the manufacturer of bikes for elite athletes and those of us who want to be fit and fabulous!
Be aware of the weather – the next few months are notoriously unpredictable when it comes rain! Choose the right outfit to weather the elements.
Don't over-dress: much worse than getting soaked on a bike is getting steamed alive in too many layers.
Invest in a lightweight rain jacket.
Don't forget to wear sunblock! Even though you may be focused on fitness, you have to protect you skin from UV damage. Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) higher than you think you need, as sunscreen is tested with 2mg on every square centimetre of skin, which is far more than most people apply.
When you're thinking about sun protection, don't forget areas such as the neck, ears, tops of knees, and even bald patches – any areas which are vulnerable through helmet ventilation. You can even burn through clothing, so apply to your whole body and wear clothing with UV protection.
Here are some tips for a day ride when the sun is really out.
Wear a helmet with a peak to protect your ears, nose and lips
Apply a once-a-day sun cream on your face – more than once a day.
Wear sunglasses with UV protection, even if they aren't proper cycling ones – your eyes are vulnerable to the sun too!
Cover thighs and the backs of your hands liberally with sun cream as they're constantly exposed to UV rays.
Wear long sleeves if you're cycling for extended periods
Make your ride more fun. While cycling your way to a healthy summer body, try to get the most out of it by enjoying some beautiful scenes along your ride. Take advantage of city parks with well-designed cycling paths, such as Bicentennial Park and Olympic Park.
Drink plenty of fluids as your body gets easily de-hydrated in the heat. It's highly recommended to drink a mineral and electrolyte replacement drink when riding. The main ingredients that help keep you stabilized are sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. These are available in many sports drinks and water additives.
Building a training plan with a concrete goal. Use a calendar and mark it to keep a record of your training.
Every 3-4 weeks you need a recovery week to restore your energy by doing some light exercise. Follow through with your training plan, and you will see substantial changes to the way your body looks and feels.
If you find yourself slacking off on the training plan, try to cycle for fun with your friends. Get out there with and then celebrate your accomplishment at the end of the ride together!
Stick to a healthy eating plan which compliments your exercise regime. Fuelling properly before and after a ride is crucial to developing a toned physique and smashing your exercise goals.
They say a bad workman blames his tools but in this case the saying might hold true, make sure you bike is suitable for you and your exercise goals. For those just starting their cycling journey a basic road bike with a strong comfort factor is essential, we recommend a bicycle from the Merida Crossway range. For those wanting to ride off the road and into the hills (hills are fantastic for the butt and thighs) go for a Mountain Bike with good road bike features, like the supremely comfortable and dynamic Merida One Twenty. For those who have been bitten by the cycling bug give your training a boost and use a bicycle of the elites, either the Reacto Team-E for road runners or the Merida Ninety-Nine 9.Team for mountain lovers.
For more info on Merida bicycles head to http://www.merida.com.au/