Going on a long distance bike ride can be a wonderful adventure and a great way to raise money for charity, but it can also cause a lot of pain and soreness. If you are on a long bike ride, such as a London to Paris charity bike ride, you will inevitably feel the stiffness and soreness in your muscles after the journey.
Often you will not feel the pain while you are riding, but it shows up the next day and continues for a few days afterward. The general theory around why we feel muscle soreness is that we cause “microtrauma” to our muscle fibres when we overdo our cycling. This damaged muscle becomes swollen and sore and chemical irritants are released, which will trigger your pain receptors. There is also an increased blood slow to the damaged muscle, which will cause a swelling of the tissues and also stimulate the pain receptors. Essentially, your muscle fibres have microscopic tears and are swollen.
It is important to do what you can so that you can reduce muscle pain and not let it ruin your trip. When you are on a multi-day bike ride and your muscles get sore after the first day you will struggle to finish the rest of the journey. Here are some tips you should keep in mind:
Warm Up As Much As Possible
It is very crucial to warm up thoroughly before you head out on your trip. This will increase the flow of oxygen in your body, which will help your muscles to work properly and help them respond better to the intensity of the bike ride. You should never skip your warmup, even if you have a very early start while on the road. If you are travelling on a charity bike ride with many other cyclists you should consider implementing a warm up ritual into the morning routine of the journey.
A good warm up might be talking a walk or cycling slowly for 5-10 minutes. Also you could stretch your muscles before you get on the bike or do some yoga for a great all-over stretch.
Don’t Forget to Also Cool Down
Cooling down after a ride helps your muscles to relax and gives them a chance to repair themselves. You can cool down by riding slowly for about five minutes at the end of the bike ride, then doing some stretches when you get off the bike. Do some stretches that will ease your thighs, hamstrings, back and other muscles that will have been strained by riding the bike.
It can also help to shake out your muscles after a bike ride while you are stretching. This will help to loosen some of the lactic acid that has built up, so that you can reduce the potential soreness.
Eat the Right Foods
There are certain foods that you should eat that will help you to prevent muscle soreness while you are on a long and challenging bike ride. Dark fruits such as blackberries and blueberries have antioxidants in them, which prevent inflammation. This will help reduce the swelling in your muscles, so make sure you eat some before you ride.
Other great foods for preventing muscle soreness include cranberries, red beans, raspberries, prunes and strawberries – so these are also great snacks to have before a ride. It is also important to have the right food after your bike ride. Your muscles need to repair so eat a high protein meal sothat you can recoup the damage. Lean protein such as fish and chicken is great to eat after a bike ride.
Have a Hot Bath
After a long day of riding one of the most relaxing things you can do is to immerse yourself in a hot bath. The warm water will relax your muscles and will help to soothe the pain. This might not be possible on every long distance bike ride, but if you are staying in a hotel with a bathtub it’s a great opportunity to soak for a while and relax.
Muscle soreness can be a painful part of a long distance charity challenge cycling ride, but if you take the time to gradually increase the endurance and strength of your muscles and warm them up property, they will not get as sore.