lifecycle biking

Become a Lean, Mean Biking Machine

Last year there were around 66.5 million cyclists in America, each with their own reason for getting on a bike. For some it's simply a case of getting from one place to another, while others just enjoy exploring their neighborhoods on two wheels. But there are a growing number of people who are getting on their bikes to improve their fitness and strength, while building muscle.

Different types of riding, will affect which muscles you use more. For example, if the ground is hilly, the quadriceps will be working the hardest to power you up hills. Speed cycling, or cycling against the wind, will involve all of the leg muscles much more. And if you keep track of your fitness when you cycle, you can monitor your pace and distance as you ride. This will give you a valuable insight into your performance and technique and help you improve each time you get in the saddle.

Which Muscles Does Cycling Benefit?

Arms and Neck

While your legs provide power to your pedal strokes, your arms help stabilize your body and allow you to steer your bike. Biceps help to flex your arm at the elbow and act with your forearm muscles to rotate your arm. Your triceps help to straighten your arm and can help keep your body stable. While the neck muscles tend to be extended throughout the duration of your rides, so strengthening them to withstand this stress is important.


The quadriceps have four muscles in the thigh. These muscles work together to extend your leg at the knee joint and to flex your leg at the hip joint. These actions occur each time you pedal.


Your hamstrings are three muscles on the back of your upper leg, running from your pelvis to your knee joint. They bend your knee and extend your leg at the hip, acting to counter the movements of your quadriceps.

Calf Muscles

Cycling can help to strengthen your calves. Your calf muscles assist in flexing your feet from the ankle, providing extra power to your pedal strokes. These muscles can be strengthened with either standing or seated calf raises.


You might be sitting on your glutes when you cycle, but you are still using them. All three of your glute muscles are involved in cycling and help move your legs laterally and rotate your legs at the hip joint. They also provide you with the necessary downward power for your leg strokes.

Core Muscles

While the power for your pedal strokes comes from your leg muscles, the muscles in your abdomen keep your body stable, insulating your upper body from the movement of your lower body. Your core gets a workout by preventing the motion of our lower body from causing your upper body to sway back and forth with each pedal stroke.

Making Each Ride Work Harder for You

You can make sure you are getting the most out of each cycle ride by checking that your seat is at the right level. Your knee needs to be slightly bent at the base of the pedal stroke when your foot is at a right angle to the floor. To avoid any injuries, always try to build up your speed slowly. And don’t be afraid to embrace hills if you want to improve your fitness, muscle tone and strength.

Get Back in the Saddle and Get Fit

There are many physical benefits to regular cycling. Going for a bike ride is good for your heart and muscles, and it may improve how you walk, balance, and even just climb the stairs. As well as burning calories and improving heart and lung functions, your muscles will get stronger and give you a leaner and fitter body that has more stamina.  

As proponents of wellness through cycling, LifeCycle aims to bring you the health benefits of cycling more regularly. Have any personal noted improvements related to cycling? Please share below!

LifeCycle Rides: Socrates Sculpture Park

LifeCycle Rides are monthly excursions around New York and beyond. This month found us venturing to Queens, New York to visit the Socrates Sculpture Park.

The Socrates Sculpture Park was founded in 1986 by a group of community members and artists. With a mission "based on the belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment," they broke ground and created a home for artists, both emerging and veteran, to create and showcase unique, large scale, and sometimes interactive, visions in the New York Metropolitan area.

What was once an abandoned riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite, is now home to an open studio and exhibition space- providing art and amazing views of the Hudson River. A pathway runs the outer perimeter of the park, passing through many of the exhibitions, leading to a farmers market selling seasonal wares. Guests are free to walk among the exhibits, and interact when able. Socrates Sculpture Park encourages strong interaction between the artists, artworks and the public. Current featured artists include Kenseth Armstead, José Carlos Casado, Torkwase Dyson, Carla Edwards, Davey Hawkins, Lena Henke, David Horvitz, Charlotte Hyzy, Melanie McLain, Kirsten Nelson, Freya Powell, Leah Raintree, Charlotte Becket Roger Sayre, Aaron Suggs, Noa Younse, and David Riley.

Trade 2015 by Jose Carlos Casado

Trade 2015 by Jose Carlos Casado

We were lucky enough to catch the farmer's market on the last day of the season and after a refreshing snack of crisp apples, we rode back to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to end the day.

Socrates Sculpture Park is open 365 days a year and welcomes dogs- asking they are leashed after 10am.

LifeCycle Rides are open to all that are able and willing to ride. With a ride lead and caboose, we ensure that no one, no matter the pace, is left behind. We encourage cycling enjoyment at all stages and make sure to provide an inclusive environment.

Please check out our community calendar for upcoming LifeCycle Rides events- we hope to see you soon!


H-2-Oh boy I'm Thirsty!

Up to 60% of a human adult's body is composed of water and when we sweat that water is excreted and need to be replenished.   While cycling, the simplest approach is almost always the best when trying to maintain ideal hydration.  

Check out a few tips we've gathered over the past few years. These are by no means rules, as each person is unique and will need to experiment to find what works best for them. 

- Ensure you’re hydrated before getting on your bike.  Drinking 12 to 16 oz of water two to four hours before riding will give you a good baseline. 

- Do not mistake your thirst for hunger. Drinking a large glass of water before you eat anything will help to keep you hydrated and aid in digestion.  A squeeze of lemon juice will wake up your metabolism and the vitamin C helps build resistance to catching colds.

- While riding, drink frequently and consistently.  The average recommendation is one 16-ounce bottle per hour in cool weather, and up to as many as four bottles per hour in extremely hot weather (based on a 150-pound cyclist).  This will vary based on the day's temperature and your body's needs. 

- If there is a water source present during your ride, drink out of one or both of your bottles and then top them off, regardless of thirst.  If it’s a long or hot ride, take a packet of electrolytes to add to water at stops along the way.

- Hydrate and replenish after each and every bike ride.  You need to replace protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes, and water to recover.  Keep hydrated the rest of the day, trust, it matters.

- If you feel faint, dizzy or start to get a headache while riding please stop and seek shade and medical assistance ASAP. Dehydration is not something to be taken lightly. 

Have additional hydration tips? Email us at

Stay hydrated and happy cycling!


Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock