Best Ways to Avoid Injury While Cycling

how to avoid injury while cycling

Injuries happen to people of all ages and sometimes they’re unavoidable. However, what about injuries that can be avoided as long as you’re paying attention and following a proper protocol?

Yes, it is possible to avoid certain injuries or at least reduce the likelihood of them occurring. To do this, you need to cycle with a plan and truly understand what the human body needs before getting on a bike for a brand-new session.

Here are some of the most important tips for avoiding injury while cycling.

Top 8 Tips for Avoiding Biking Injuries

1. Do Your Stretches

a woman stretching before going for a bike ride

The first thing a person needs to incorporate into their routine is stretching. You should be doing at least 5-10 minutes of full-body stretches both before and after cycling.

There are many reasons for stretching including staying loose, warming the body up, and making sure the mind is prepared for what is going to happen next.

The same applies to post-workout stretching as the muscles need to cool down gradually. Stretching allows that to happen.

2. Stay Hydrated

drink water to stay hydrated before rides

Drinking water is your best friend as a cyclist and it’s important to stay hydrated at all times. You are going to be losing a lot of water (via sweat) while cycling and it needs to be replenished one way or another. As a result, you should be looking to drink a respectable amount of water throughout the day and afterward.

This will allow you to feel good and stay safe over the long-term.

Remember, even if nothing happens the first time around, you are always going to be increasing the likelihood of injury by staying dehydrated. Plus, it takes away from your ability to cycle properly and efficiently!

3. Wear a Helmet

If you’re biking outside, this one is a no brainer!

This is one of those “common sense” requirements but it’s important to list them down. You need to wear the necessary gear required to stay safe as you cycle from point A to point B. In general, most people do put on a helmet and understand the consequences of not doing so, but it’s still good to have a reminder while looking to avoid injury.

The head is vulnerable and will take the brunt of the impact in the case of a fall. This is why it’s important to stay safe and put on a helmet before cycling.

Of course, there plenty of great indoor cycles too (see our favs here), so if you prefer to ride indoors, that’s an option too.

4. Pay Attention to the Seat

a mountain biker catches big air

The seat is going to be an essential component to your riding experience and has to be kept in mind at all times. You want to pay attention to this both at the shop and when it is time to ride.

Make sure the seat is large enough for you to rest on and it is able to offer enough support as you spend long sessions on it. If there are issues with regards to this, you are going to end up paying the price.

Always pay attention to the seat and ensure it’s in line with what you need.

5. Use a Properly Sized Bike

Along with the seat, you should also look into the bike’s dimensions. For example, an adult riding a teenager’s bike may not work out well. It is often going to lead to injury because the proportions are incorrect. Your legs are not going to be reaching the pedals at an appropriate length and this can put tremendous pressure on the joints.

In fact, one of the reasons people end up developing knee or ankle-related injuries has to do with a poorly sized bike. It is best to get something that is made for your needs.

6. Listen To Your Body

Your body is a well-oiled machine and it is going to give you ample signs of something being wrong. For example, are you starting to notice an increased sense of lethargy or fatigue? Are you noticing signs of dizziness as soon as you get onto the bike? Is your heart racing more than it is used to?

a cyclist leans into a turn

There are many small and large biological signs that will pop up before, during, and after a cycling session.

You want to pay attention to these signs while taking the appropriate precautions. Don’t continue to push through if your body isn’t willing to. This is only going to lead to injury over the long haul.

7. Gradually Increase Effort Level

A common mistake people make is to push hard right off the bat. This means they will sit down on a bike and start pedaling at top speed right away. This is not a good idea as your body needs to gradually get into top speed or it will break down. It’s important to slowly increase your speed as you move forward.

If you go from resting to 100% effort, it’s very easy for your body to break down and give up.

This is when injuries start to pop up and become a major hindrance.

8. Eat in Advance

The scheduling of your pre-cycling meal makes all the difference in the world.

It’s never a good idea to sit down and eat a massive meal right before your cycling session. The body is often in a state of lethargy during this period and you are going to notice an immediate shift in how you feel. When there is increased exertion after a large meal, you are asking for trouble and it often leads to feelings of nausea and potential vomiting.

In some cases, a cyclist may also notice cramping because of the meal they consumed.

To avoid this issue, eat an hour or two before going out for cycling or simply eat a small snack instead of a large meal. This will go a long way in keeping you healthy.

Final Thoughts

Cycling can be a tremendous calorie burner but it has to be managed with appropriate attention to your well-being. Loads of new and old cyclists make the mistake of assuming they’re invincible and that’s how injuries occur.

As soon as you relax, the likelihood of an injury ends up increasing. This is why it is important to follow these tips and make them a part of your routine.