- Common Cycling Injuries
- Food as fuel
- First Aid
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Long distance cycling is hard, and aches and pains are common. Here’s some tips to prevent more serious injuries:
- Always wear padded gloves
- Ride with wrists and elbows relaxed
- Do wrist stretches and strengthening exercises
- Don’t have seat tilted forward
- Give yourself lots of hand positions
- Handlebar palsy: Inflammation of the nerve that runs along the length of the arm to the hand. Due to maintaining a fixed position for long periods of time, and from absorbing shocks and vibrations. Warning signs: tingling, numbness and pain, it is serious and can lead to a loss of muscle strength. Cure: refrain from cycling until symptoms disappear.
- Keep saddle level.
- Reduce chaffing by using baby power in cycling shorts
- Buy a saddle that you like. Most stores will give you a trial period. Take a long ride on the saddle before you decide it’s right for you.
- Use high cadence (rotations per minute).
- Build up to longer rides.
- Watch the orientation of the feet when pedaling... Brad is slightly duck foot, and he did 3 days heavy riding trying to keep his feet straight. This put a lot of unnecessary pressure on his knees, which quickly started to become a source of pain on the downstroke. Once he figured it out, within 2 hours of cycling with feet pointly slightly out (normal) the pain dissapeared!
- Chondromalacia: Irritation of the cartilage in the joint. Caused by excessive side to side swinging of the kneed during down strokes. Cure: cut back on milage and intensity; fix posture; strengthen quadriceps muscles that run along the front of the thigh and along side the front of the kneecap
- Bad pedaling technique (peddling with toes pointed downwards); this is a source of debate still it seems, but unless you've trained for 'ankling' (as the technique is called) it's not recommended.
- Most common cause of pain is that seat not is the right height.
- Use hard sole shoes or cycling shoes.
- May also be caused by: biomechanical foot or leg defect.
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Basic fuel rules:
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Eat plenty of complex carbohydrates for energy
- Drink plenty of water and sports drinks
- Avoid simple sugars
- Eat steadily and frequently
Basically the goal in fueling your cycling trip is to keep your blood sugar level stable, while still taking in enough calories for energy. You need approximately 250 cal per hour of riding. Simple sugars cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket. The body responds by increasing insulin production which neutralizes the sugars (into fats) leaving you low on energy. Complex carbs will release their sugars over a longer period of time, giving you the energy you need without increasing insulin production!
Complex carbs: pasta, grains, oatmeal and rice.
Carbs to avoid: White bread, instant rice, corn flakes, potatoes, sugar and honey.
- Drink more water then you think you need. In general approximately 750 mL for every hour of riding (although we generally make due with half this amount during cooler weather)
- Use your drinking to get some needed calories: ˝ Fruit juice and ˝ water gives you 133 calories. But beware: these are high in simple sugars, so drink in moderation to help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Sports drinks will also give some needed calories. Choose a sports drink than contains electrolytes. You will sweat out electrolytes and will need to replenish them.
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Here are some exercises to help you prepare for your trip, and prevent injury.
- Sit with your back against a wall, as though you were sitting in a chair. Both your knees and hips should be at 90 degree angles: maintain this position until your muscles hurt. Repeat 2-3 times a day.
- To prevent knee related injuries you need to strengthen the muscles in front & beside knee: sit in a chair with one leg held out straight, unsupported. Put a weight on the foot to further strengthen these muscles.
Arms and Wrists
- To prevent arm and writs injuries do push ups.
- Keep the blood flow down the arms by changing hand position and shaking our your hands every so often.
- To prevent back injuries, build up your stomach muscles with crunches.
We find that the best stretch is the Yoga sun salutation because it stretches all the important muscles.
If yoga’s not your thing here’s the important stretches:
- Forward lunge: stretches out your hip flexor, the most important cycling muscles.
- Head to knee stretch: stretches your hamstring.
- Calf stretch: take a step forward while keeping your back heel on the floor.
- Also stretch your lower back, forearms and wrists with some simple movements.
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If you are traveling somewhere that ambulances and access to hospitals may not be readily available, brush up on your basic first aid. Even if there is access to medical facilities you should still carry a first aid it. Here is some basic first aid for common and easily treatable cycling injuries.
- Clean wound as soon as possible: rinse under water with antibacterial soap or dab with antibacterial solution.
- Cover wound with non-stick pad coated with antibiotic ointment or Second Skin
- If you use a non-stick pad, it will need to be changed daily until skin starts to grow back.
- Icing the wound will prevent swelling
- Keep dressings moist to prevent scab from forming. Scabs will only break open and prolong healing process.
- Administer Oral Rehydration Salts, not sports drinks.
- If severely dehydrated call an ambulance.
Can be due to really hot environment or as a result of really heavy physical exertion
**Severe heat exhaustion can be life threatening!! Call an ambulance if symptoms really serious.
- Place in a cool place with feet and legs elevated
- Remove excess clothing
- Loosen clothes at neck and waist
- Give water to drink
- Cover area with a cloth soaked in cool water
- Apply sunburn ointment or cream (aloe works well)
- Protect burned areas from the sun.
Avoid by minimizing friction, apply cream or talcum powder before exercise.
- Clean the blister with antibacterial soap or rubbing alcohol.
- Use a sterile pin or needle to puncture a small hole at the side of the blister.
- Gently drain blister.
- Apply antibiotic ointment.
- Cover blister with a bandage. Change daily.
- If necessary, put donut shaped moleskin over bandage around the blister.
- Splinter picker / tick remover forceps
- Eye wash
- Butterfly closure strips
- Tincture of Benzoin (swabs)
- Alcohol wipes
- Gloves (wear whenever dealing with bodily fluids)
- Sterile gauze dressings (non-stick, large size)
- Bandage wrap and tape
- Waterproof tape, 1.5cm x 9m
- Resealable plastic bag (for garbage)
- Safety pins
- Elastic support tensor bandages
- Sterile needle (for removing gravel)
- Aloe Vera (anti itch) cream
- Ibprophen (good for muscle cramps)
- Antihistamines (good to carry even if you have no known allergies)
- Water purification chemicals