A Cyclist's Best Habits that take less than 10 minutes

As a cyclist, you know you have to put in the miles to get results. But many small habits can have big results, too. Here are my favorite 10 things that take 10 minutes or less that really improve your cycling life. How many are you doing?


Start your coffee and stretch your hamstrings. Watch TV and stretch your hamstrings. Cook dinner and stretch your hamstrings. Lay in bed and... well, you get the point. Stretching your hamstrings takes about 4 minutes of static stretching total; 2 minutes left and two minutes right laying down and grabbing one leg at a time.

Or, from a standing position, grab your elbows, hinge at the waist, and let your body hang for a few minutes. This simple static stretch can be one of the best things you can do to decrease back pain and increase comfort on the bike. My personal bike fitter Eddie from Cyclology told me this long ago, and it has not only improved my comfort on the bike, but my quality of life.


A clean and well-lubricated bike is a fast bike. Before a ride, pump the tires up, strap the helmet on, and lube the chain. After a ride, clean that chain with some degreaser. Not only will this make your bike sparkle, but it will save you watts and your wallet, as a clean chain will last longer and wear more evenly over your rings and cogs.

But the thing about degreaser, is it de-greases… So be careful to lube or grease those freshly cleaned parts. Mountain bikers: Wipe down the stanchions of your fork, shock, and dropper post as well.


Whether you are traveling for a race or headed out for a training ride, nutrition and adequate fueling can already be a lot to think about. Having a designated space or designated snack bag for your ride fuel and your tasty recovery treat simplifies the process. You can have this bag in your car if you often drive to ride, or near the door if you ride from your home.

This allows you to take one more decision off your plate… (pun intended) and ensures you have easy access to nutrition, setting yourself up for success. Plus getting some carbs in during that 30-minute post-ride window is optimal.


Whether you sit at a desk all day or are out on the bike all day, we can all benefit from better posture. As cyclists, our necks take on a lot of strain from being in a unique position on the bike; pair that with an office job, and you may be spending 90% of your time in a tucked position.

Stretching your neck can help off-set some of the time spent with your neck in extension. I recommend neck rolls, as if your head was a hand on a clock. To take it to the next level, try applying some force with your palm and rubbing your scalenes…


Did you know there is a feature in Strava that allows you to easily keep track of mileage on your bikes and individual components? Relatedly, have you noticed the price difference between a chain and a cassette? Waiting too long to replace your chain can wear out your cassette prematurely, too. Remember the part about how keeping a clean drivetrain can make it last longer? Well, if you keep track of your mileage you can check your chain wear with a Park Tool CC-2 and replace your chain around .75 before it wears out your comparatively expensive cassette.


You know the importance of getting enough sleep as an endurance athlete. Eight to ten hours is recommended but some would say the more the better. When awake, you would never go 8-10 hours without a sip of water. As you sleep and breathe, your body is losing water. Whether you train first thing in the morning or later in the day, getting a head start on rehydration has a variety of positive repercussions. This is particularly important for masters athletes.


Spend a couple minutes to jot some quick notes down about the subjective aspects of your ride. How was your fueling? How did the route work for you and your workout? What was the temperature and how did that pair with your clothing choices and your body’s ability to cool itself? What did you think about on the ride? How did what you think about make you feel?

If you work with a coach, put write these notes in TrainingPeaks, where all these intangible topics can allow coaches to gain more insight into that days’ workout and provide more specific guidance. 

If you are self-coaches, keeping a journal somewhere - digital or analog - is a great reference to remind you of what worked and what did not.

There is so much more to cycling and performance than watts and RPE.


Similar but different to the above, I recommend keeping a gratitude list. Like training VO2 or training your gut to take on fuel, training your brain takes time and energy. In less than 10 minutes you can sit down and list 5-10 things you were grateful for from the day, including from the ride. This not only helps you see all the good of the tiny moments throughout your day, but it trains your brain to watch out for them while those moments are happening.

Knowing you are going to make a gratitude at the end of the day before bed, helps you recognize those positive moments.


This one is short and sweet: Check your bolts. Stem bolts, so your bars don’t roll while descending. Saddle clamps and seat post collar, because saddle height and fore aft/angle is important. And arguably the most important bolts to check: your thru-axles or QR skewers. We have probably all had the wheels fall off on a ride but imagine if they literally did. It's happened to me!


By that I mean, make sure your batteries are charged. From Di2 to AXS, Garmin to Wahoo, Whoop to Oura, power meters to power massagers, cyclists have more electronics gadgets than ever.

Plug everything in as soon as you get back from your ride. If traveling, house all the cords and extra batteries in a single bag to throw in the suitcase or travel bag. 

From a coach’s standpoint, we need your bike computer and power meter charged so we can look at the data to give you objective feedback. This data helps us in making you a better, faster, stronger, and fitter cyclists.

And as an athlete, of course you want your drivetrain charged so you can shift gears and FTFP!


Sierra Sims holds a Master's Degree in exercise physiology, and did her graduate work on the physiology of master’s cyclists. To speak with Coach Sierra about improving your cycling, please fill out our new athlete questionnaire to have a free coaching consultation with her.