I started cycling again after a gap of 4-5 years. Bought Firefox Maximus D 29er last year and it’s been amazing in terms of fun and saving money as well because I ride to many places where I used to go driving previously.
Few days back I decided to improve on my average speed and the solution was to change my pedaling pattern – what I used to do was shift to highest possible gear on the road and pedal slowly but because of the gear ratios I used to get good average speeds.
The human body cannot deliver high amount of power for a long duration but can do low power for higher duration much, like a IC engine – which is why you have gearbox in it; the engine rotates at higher RPM on lower gears and vice-versa.
So how to improve the average speed? Increase pedaling RPM (cadence). Obviously because of the fact stated above – I can’t have high cadence at higher gears over long duration and distance riding owing to road slope variations and traffic. There are no separate cycling lanes here, so cyclist shares the same road with other traffic.
To increase the pedaling RPM one has to use the lower gears, but due to gravity & muscle activity in the legs, there is a lot of blood flow towards the legs. This causes the feeling of heaviness in the legs after completing a long ride (notably, this doesn’t happen when RPM is low because that results in lesser blood flow).
I’ve been doing Yoga as well for about two years and I knew about this pose called Supt Padangushtasana, in which you lie flat on your back, lift your legs one by one and try to reach the big toe using your hands. Alternatively you could also use a rope or belt, pass it behind your foot and apply force on the belt to raise the legs.
Here’s a video of the asana https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfKpPgC1g5g
Just five minutes of this asana and gives a lot of relief to the heaviness in legs and lower back pain (if any).