Cycling is great for your body, and to get it working even better we’ve rustled up some expert tips to ensure your body is in peak condition to get the most out of your ride. Cheyne Voss, top physiotherapist from Ten Physio at Ten Pilates suggests some exercises below to help strengthen and tone your key cycling muscles.

Off-bike Cycling Stretches

It’s wise to perform certain exercises and stretches off the bike to avoid injury when you’re on it.

The main muscles put to work when cycling are in your legs. Calf, hamstring and gluteal muscles. While pedalling, other postural forces are at work. In your back and neck, as you lean over the handle bars creating a ‘C’ shaped (slouched) spine. The more you cycle, the tighter all these muscles become. These can lead to injury.

Stretching prevents the build-up of muscle pressure, reducing the risk of injury.

1. Soleus (Lower calf)
• Stand with the foot back and both knees bent.
• Keeping the heel on the floor turned slightly out, lean into the wall until the stretch is felt in the lower calf.
• Repeat 2 to 3 times for 30 seconds.
• Reverse leg position and repeat the steps for the other leg.

2. Gastroc (Upper calf)
• Stand with the foot back, leg straight, and forward leg bent several feet from the wall.
• Keeping your heel on the floor turned slightly out, lean into the wall until a stretch is felt in the calf.
• Repeat 2 to 3 times for 30 seconds.
• Reverse the leg position and repeat.

3. Hamstring (Back of thigh)
• Supporting the thigh behind the knee, slowly straighten the knee until the stretch is felt in back of the thigh.
• Repeat 2 to 3 times per set. Hold for 30 seconds.
• Reverse legs and repeat the steps.

4. ITB (Outside of thigh)
• Cross one leg over the other leg.
• Lean to the same side until the stretch is felt on the other hip.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
• Reverse leg position and repeat steps for other leg.
• Repeat 2 to 3 times per set.
• Do 2 to 3 sets.

5. Quadriceps (Outside of thigh)
• Pull heel toward buttock until a stretch is felt in front of the thigh.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
• Reverse legs and repeat.
• Repeat 2 to 3 times per set.
• Repeat 2-3 sets.

Bike Safely

Cycling is fun. Why make it stressful? Here’s how to avoid it:

· Don’t always push through traffic to get to the front of the queue. All vehicles have a blind spot. Chances are the driver ahead of you won’t see you. Best to wait behind the a larger vehicle until it’s safe to continue.

· Take your time. Position yourself comfortably and safely in the road. Skirting along in the gutter risks getting a puncture and becoming invisible to drivers. Sit yourself in the middle of your lane – and enjoy the ride.

· Why get angry with other people on the road? You’ll be the only one stressed. Take a deep breath, shrug it off – and off you go.

· Feeling a bit wobbly on that bike? Or just want some advice about the best route to take to get about? Take advantage of the Council’s free cycle training. On your own, with friends or family, these sessions are specially designed for beginners, or those wanting to start all over again. They take place at a time and place that best suits you. To book a lesson call 020 7361 2521 or email road.safety@rbkc.gov.uk.

What to wear?

If you want to ride the town looking like you just biked off the set of StarWars, that’s fine. But, yes, there is one bit of wardrobe advice:

Tog up in whatever you’re comfortable in. If you can walk down the street in it, you can bike down the street in it.

Weather?

London weather isn’t that bad, really. It rains about as much here as it does in Barcelona. But if it’s a Calcutta day – and there’s a monsoon – cut it out! Cycling should be fun!