How To Prevent Post-Ride Pain
Bikes Etc|March 2017

From headaches to sore paws, our guide will keep you from getting sick and tired in the saddle…

Chris Saunders

Man up – there’s a phrase that’s overused these days, along with that other one about growing a pair of danglies. But if you regularly experience post-ride pain, toughing it out or ignoring it is about the daftest thing you can do. So when your body starts yelling, don’t blank it. Listen to it and – with a little foresight and planning – you can prevent that niggle from turning into something altogether nastier. Here we take a good look at some of the most common types of pain experienced by cyclists and what you can do to prevent them…

HEADACHES

 OK, let’s start at the top. Of course, back and neck pain (see below) can lead to headaches, but they are also commonly caused by dehydration, which manifests itself in a number of unpleasant ways, ranging from constipation to dizziness. Early warning signs include a dry mouth, dark-coloured urine, and lethargy or tiredness.

The best way to beat dehydration is by drinking little and often, so you’re constantly topping up. The trick is not to become thirsty in the first place, because that means you’re already dehydrated. Depending on the heat and the effort you’re putting in, aim to drink at least 475-825ml of water per hour (approximately one to one and a half bottles). Make sure that one of those bottles is water mixed with electrolytes – vital minerals that affect your body’s ability to absorb water. Effervescent tablets such as SiS Go Hydro (£7 for 20 tablets, scienceinsport.com) will top up the electrolytes you lose when you sweat.

Another cause of headaches is eye strain, often brought on by riding in bright sunshine or focusing too hard on the road ahead. Invest in a quality set of eyewear that will serve your biking needs all year round. You don’t need to spend a fortune either – dhb’s Photocromatic Half-Frame Sunglasses cost just £34.99 and we’ve found them highly effective in a range of light conditions. See wiggle.co.uk for details.

HIP AND HAND PAIN

If you find your hips regularly hurting after a ride, think about your technique. Pushing excessively high gears will take its toll, so drop down the rings and instead increase your cadence to maintain speed.

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