While professional cyclists will be competing for first place this summer, most of us will be cycling around our local country lanes – but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive for greatness too.
With a mixture of the right accessories, tech, and nutrition, you’ll soon be pushing the boundaries of your performance. Here at Halfords, we want to aid you in your quest, and we’ve pulled together a selection of the top accessories, technology, and nutrition products to help boost your cycling performance.
Many of us fall into the trap of heading out for a ride with no real purpose or plan. While this is fun, it likely won’t help you to improve. Instead, it’s best to adopt a training plan. There are lots of apps available that will help you with this, but you’ll also need a range of technology.
For a start, a cycling GPS computer is a must. A high-quality cycling computer will not only provide turn-by-turn navigation but will also connect to a range of other technology to provide key performance metrics. Here at Halfords, we stock a wide range of cycling computers from top brands like Garmin, and you can find the full range here.
In terms of measuring your performance, most riders use power meters and heart rate monitors. With these, you can find your training zones, and these are used to plan your training sessions.
And for those summer days when the British weather lets you down, you can always hop onto a smart turbo trainer. Having one of these is also handy when it comes to the wet winter months, so you can keep your training going! One of the best available, the Elite Direto-X OTS Turbo Trainer is compatible with most popular training apps and measures power to an impressive +/- 1.5% accuracy.
Fuel your rides
No matter how well you train, if you don’t eat right, you won’t perform to your best.
This means eating the right foods before, during and after rides. Before heading out, make sure you’ve eaten plenty of carbohydrates as these release lots of energy.
However, these carbohydrates won’t last a full ride and you’ll need to keep topping them up – especially when you’re out on a long ride. That’s where energy gels, bars, and drinks come in handy. Science in Sport have a wide range of nutrition products that are specially designed to give you the energy boost you need while out on a ride – and it’s important to start eating these prior to any event so your body gets used to them.
The SiS 7 Go Gels are an easily digestible source of energy during a long ride, providing 22 grams of carbohydrate per gel. The Isotonic formula delivers energy fast, and they’re designed to be consumed without water to ensure the rapid delivery of carbohydrates to your muscles, for a quick burst of energy when you need it most.
With no wind or rain to contend with (most of the time!), nothing beats a summer bike ride. However, riding during the warmer months comes with its own challenge – dealing with the sun.
Keeping yourself protected from the sun’s rays is important for your safety, but it could also boost your performance too.
The first step to conquering the heat is drinking plenty of water. Even experienced riders make the mistake of not drinking enough and you shouldn’t wait until you feel thirsty as by then it’s too late! Instead, get into the habit of drinking little but often. That way, you’ll ensure you’re constantly hydrated, something that will aid your performance. Make sure you’ve planned ahead of time how much water you’ll need and have enough water bottles and the required bottle cages to carry it. Some riders prefer hydration packs either as an alternative to bottles or as a method of carrying additional water. Check out our full range of bottles, bottle cages and hydration packs here.
You can also add High5 Zero Berry Tablets to one of your bottles to help replace important electrolytes that are lost while sweating.
And wear the correct clothing
Finally, are you dressed for the conditions? Wear something too thick and you’ll soon be overheating – something that will quickly hamper your performance.
Instead, you want clothing designed for warmer weather with thin, breathable fabrics. Short sleeve jerseys are a good option, and you can always carry a lightweight, long-sleeve jacket in case you get cold. You might not think it will make a big difference, but the right clothing will keep you cooler, preventing overheating which drains your energy and muscles.
Sunglasses are also a must as you don’t want to be blinded by the sun as you’re riding down a road! Our newest range of sunglasses offer 100% UV protection, and we even have options with polarised lenses.
And don’t forget about your head and feet as well. We don’t need to remind you how important it is to wear a helmet – it could save your life! And while a helmet won’t boost your performance, you can still find stylish and aero options that will help you look the part.
Your feet, on the other hand, are responsible for putting all the power through the pedals, so they deserve a high-quality pair of shoes. We think the Boardman Carbon Road Shoes are a great choice as they tick all the boxes, providing comfort, ventilation and stiffness for supreme performance!
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to put these tips into action and improve your cycling performance. And if you’re in need of anymore cycling advice, head over to our help and advice articles. Alternatively, visit Halfords.com where you’ll find all the technology, nutrition, hydration, and clothing products you need.
You want to boost your cycling performance, you want Halfords!