You know two-wheeling it is a great way to shape up (and torch 500-plus calories per hour), but did you know that you can always get more out of your ride? Take these cues from Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong (nope, no relation to Lance).
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Get in tune
If your bike’s been on hiatus for more than six months, take it for a tune-up (basic ones cost about $50). Pros will check everything from the wheels to the steering system, and they’ll clean it up for a smooth ride.
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We know you always follow traffic rules (right?), but be sure to watch out for cars, too. To avoid a suddenly opened door, give parked ones a wide berth, Armstrong advises. And don’t forget your cell phone, ID, and a helmetone that fits snugly and covers the forehead.
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Tweak your technique
Rev up your speed and power by perfecting your pedaling. If you’re biking with cages or clipless pedalswhich max out energy transfertry pushing and pulling in a smooth circular motion, Armstrong says. This engages more muscles, giving you leaner legs.
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Supercharge your spin
To amp up your ride even more, try this leg-strengthening routine: Warm up for 15 minutes, then move into a tough gear for 7 to 10 minutes; switch to a medium gear for 5 to 7 minutes, then repeat the sequence.
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Pedal with partners
Bored riding solo? Ask your local bike shop to recommend a small "no drop" group (no one gets left behind, ever). You’ll get built-in bonding while challenging yourself.
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Spin your way slim
Cycling for just two to three hours a week helps stave off weight gain, a Harvard study suggests.
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