Five ways to stay sane while staying home
The outbreak of COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, has forced many of us riders to be stuck inside and away from our favorite trails. If you’re anything like me, sitting inside is the last thing you enjoy doing. I need my daily dose of fresh air and the sweet smell of single-track trails. To abide by the stay-at-home orders, I’ve come up with a list of five things you can do at home to improve your riding skills and keep your bike performing at its best.
Practice track stands
A track stand is an essential skillset to master—and not just for roadies trying to look cool at stoplights. A track stand allows you more time to set up at the top of a steep rollin or to take a few seconds to pick your line up a technical climb. The best part is that you can learn to perfect your track-stand skills in your garage, living room or backyard.
A wheelie will require a bit more space but can still be learned without leaving your home. Find a space in or around your house that’s multiple bike lengths long and has enough room for you to fall sideways. The lawn in your backyard could do the trick and provide a soft landing should things go wrong. The first step is to learn how to “pop” your front wheel. This is done with a combination of leaning backwards with nearly straight arms and applying a hard kick to your dominant pedal. Keep your finger over your rear brake to avoid going off the back.
Many riders learning how to wheelie will naturally want to lean forward when the front wheel pops up, but it’s important to remind yourself that your weight must be centered over the rear axle. The rear axle is the balance point of your wheelie. You should have your bike and body weight evenly distributed in the front and back. Once you learn how to get the front wheel up, attempt getting a few pedal strokes in. Remember to keep your finger over your rear brake at all times and wear a helmet.
Wash your protective gear
When it comes to gear, riders often neglect cleaning their helmets and protective gear. Almost every helmet on the market has removable padding that can be washed and reinstalled. Protection pads should also be washed on occasion. When it comes to knee and elbow pads, you may have to remove the inner pad material to be able to wash them without damage. Pads like G-Formsare safe to toss in the washing machine. While you’re stuck indoors, you might as well take the time to thoroughly wash your gear so you smell fresh during your next outing.
This may sound like a daunting task; however, it could be as simple as removing your bike’s thru-axles and applying some grease. If you have mechanical knowhow, you may want to take this time to grease your suspension linkage or refresh the oil and seals on your suspension components. If mechanical skills aren’t your strong suit, trying taking on an easier task, like going over your bike with a torque wrench to make sure everything is tightened to the correct torque rating. You might also try checking your bike’s tubeless sealant and refreshing it if needed.
My last tip to increase your riding skills at home is improving your flexibility through stretching and flow movements. Bettering your flexibility has many benefits, from increasing comfort on your bike to reducing the chance of injury in the event of a crash. Simple stretches, such as touching your toes or holding popular yoga poses, are a surefire way to increase your riding skills without ever leaving the house.
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