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How to Avoid Bicycle Injuries This Summer

June 19, 2019

At Cherry Creek Wellness, we’re outdoor enthusiasts just like you. So we understand how eager you and your family members are to get out and ride after a long winter on the slopes or being cooped up indoors.  Cycling is a great low-impact form of aerobic exercise that can be done inside on a machine or outside at a leisurely, moderate, or vigorous pace, depending on your comfort and skill level. But don’t let your eagerness to get out onto the road or trail result in undue injury this spring and summer. 

First and foremost, finding the right bike setup is crucial to getting the most out of cycling. This is the first step to injury prevention and necessary for safe riding. A proper bike fit helps ensure that no muscle groups are being put under unnecessary strain, which can lead to issues such as sore hands and numb toes. In addition to getting your bike properly fitted to your body, it’s also paramount to perfect your biking technique.

Developing the correct riding posture posture is crucial to avoiding injury while biking. Remember to keep your elbows slightly flexed to prevent shoulder pain, and to keep your back straight if at any point of your ride you begin to experience lower back pain.

Take your first trips on your bike as an opportunity to gain endurance as you build up key muscle groups that will benefit you throughout the riding season. You can gain strength on the bike through slowly building up your training and time spent in the saddle. And, of course, as with any outdoor activity, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, including water and those that replenish electrolytes, to prevent dehydration.

At Cherry Creek Wellness, we’re not only experts in helping our clients heal injuries, we also go to great lengths to helping our clientele prevent injuries as well. And while pre-ride stretching, proper hydration and practicing proper riding technique all go a long way to preventing injury, the most important thing you can do to stay safe while bicycling is to follow basic safety measures. 

Whether you’re traveling on a day long biking adventure, or simply going down the street to the corner store: always wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet reduces a cyclist’s risk of head injury by 60%, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).

A helmet isn’t the only attire that can keep you safe while bicycling: the proper clothing can go a long way to prevent injury as well. The right attire can make a rider safer and more comfortable. Shoes that fit correctly, padded gloves, and fitted clothing can alleviate many issues related to blisters, chaffing and moisture reduction. Stay visible: Being seen by other drivers on the road is a top priority for cyclists, and this can be accomplished in multiple ways. Wear brightly colored and/or reflective clothing, and make sure your bike is equipped with both front and rear lights to stay visible..

To help avoid mechanical mishaps during training, it’s best to have your bike professionally tuned up yearly. Likewise, always carry a spare tire tube and pump or CO2 canister to fix unexpected flats. Always ride with a form of identification in case of an accident. It’s also wise to travel with some cash, in case you need to buy water or other immediate supplies during the ride.

If you’re new to cycling, in might be wise to begin with an indoor trainer or spin class to get a feel for the exercise and become comfortable on the equipment. Many communities across the region have groups for riders of all ability levels. Beginner riders can teach new cyclists about the rules of the road, hand signals, group communication, group dynamics, and safe riding practices. One of the major benefits of outdoor cycling is the ability to turn it into a fun social activity. Cycling is a wonderful sport with tremendous physical fitness impact, and the social aspects of participating in riding with like-minded friends are something most cyclists look forward to on each and every ride. Check local bike shops for information on group rides that match your skill and ability levels.

Since many sports-related injuries are a result of faulty biomechanics or weaknesses in particular muscle groups, our team of expert sports physical therapists right here in Denver can initiate a personalized, comprehensive program of exercises that will improve the strength of key muscle groups while promoting endurance, in addition to demarcating any biomechanical insufficiencies. At Cherry Creek Wellness, our sports physical therapists don’t only help you get back out on the field after an injury, they help you take the field with newfound confidence and poise —no matter what your sport, physical history or age group. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and to start to implement a treatment regimen that will make this spring and summer your best season yet.