Essential Recovery Tips for Electric Bike Riders
November 24, 2021
A telltale sign of an awesome electric bike ride can also, arguably, be one of the worst: sore muscles, an achy body, and general pain or discomfort. I mean, who actually wants to change their exciting plans for the day because their ebike ride from the previous day left their legs feeling like a ton of bricks, or worse, their whole body feeling stiff and rigid?
These post-ride signs are usually either a result of our bodies waking up from a prolonged period of muscle inactivity or our bodies growing stronger as they undergo more ‘stress’ (good stress that is!). Whichever the case may be, recovery and replenishment after riding an ebike, whether you prefer a vigorous cycle or a casual cruise, is key to optimizing your health during your time off of your electric bike. Think ‘work hard, play hard’ except in terms of physical activity. You wouldn’t ride hard, recover easy, would you?
Didn’t think so! Join us as we explore some tips on how to best prepare before you even head out for a ride, then we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty, and importance of, post-ride recovery.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and instead is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Aventon is not diagnosing, treating, or curing any type of medical condition. Always consult with a medical professional before you seek any new treatment regimens.
Warming Up For Your Ebike Ride
You read that right. Warming up for a ride isn’t just about prepping your ebike or making sure you have your toolkit handy. Although those are important and you should absolutely prep your ebike prior to your ride, it’s also about prepping yourself too! Yes, warm up’s (as in stretching) are important and we’ll get to them in just a moment, but before any actual warming up happens, you have to be especially mindful of the nutrition you’re feeding your body. Health is wealth, people!
Why Nutrition Matters
Research has been, and continues to be, conducted to show that there is an important link between physical performance and nutrition. A study concluded that athletes have a vital need for carbohydrates as a key component of their diet; carbohydrates are the only nutrient our bodies can easily break down to provide lasting energy during periods of moderate to high-intensity exercise. In order to sustain our bodies and reach our activity goals, aka long bike rides, our bodies need the proper fuel. Otherwise, we’ll run the risk of having a short-lived ride. Consider energy bars as a quick and convenient way to pack in some nutrition before a long electric bike ride. Keep an eye on the ingredient list, making sure they contain at least one of these for maximum riding energy: whole grains, dried fruits, or nuts. Certain whole grains are broken down gradually, so energy is more slowly released throughout the body, making it a good source of long-term fuel. Dried nuts are also a great concentrated source of carbohydrates and protein giving you a boost of energy, while dried fruits can introduce a kick of sugar into your system. Nutrition is key not just for a long and energy-filled ebike ride, but it can also boost your mood so you have more fun while riding an ebike out and about!
Stretching is one of the most forgotten parts of most people’s exercise or activity routines. Depending on who you ask, stretching is recommended for at least 10-15 minutes before you work out and 10-15 minutes after your workout. That time doesn’t even include your actual workout! Well, we’re here to challenge the dread that comes with adding a stretching component into your ebike routine, and hopefully, make it more enjoyable by emphasizing its importance and simplifying it.
Stretching is vital to add to your pre and post-electric bike ride routine because it both prevents you from injury and helps alleviate existing tension. Even incorporating some light stretches before biking, like the ones we’re going to discuss, can do magnitudes for your body. The three-body groups you’ll want to focus on are your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute/hip flexors.
Our quads, which are a group of four muscles in our front thighs connecting to just below our knees, are one of the most powerful muscle groups in our bodies. They help straighten and bend our knees allowing us to do the one most important things ebike riders need to do: pedal. Our quads also help us walk our ebikes if/when the hills are too steep to climb (if you still aren’t riding an ebike with a throttle, allow us to open you to a world of possibilities!). To sum, our quads are a major powerhouse for our electric bike rides, and we need to take care of these muscles well. Try this simple quadriceps stretch before you go on your ride:
While standing, reach back with your right hand and grab your right foot at the top of your ankle (you’ll need to lift your leg backward to meet your hand). Then, slowly pull your foot closer to your behind giving you a deep stretch. Be careful not to pull your foot too fast. Hold for 15-30 seconds then switch legs.
Opposite to the quads, the hamstring muscle group is one of three muscles that run along the back of our thighs, from the hip to just below the knee. Our hamstring muscles make it possible for us to extend our legs straight, and working in unison with our quads, to bend our knees. Safe to say that our ebike rides could take a hit if both of these muscle groups aren’t in tip-top shape. Here’s a simple hamstring stretch to not only prepare this muscle group for a ride but also to help in recovery:
Standing with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart, slowly start to bend forward at the waist, letting your arms dangle either at your sides or toward the ground. You should feel a pull at the back of your thighs. If the stretch is too tight or overwhelming, bring your feet closer together, and don’t feel pressured to bend all the way down to touch your hands on the ground. Stay in this stretch for several slow and deep breaths, and more importantly, stretch to a degree that feels comfortable.
Bringing us to our last pre-electric bike ride stretch: our glute and hip flexors. Hip flexors are a group of muscles located towards the front of our bodies (You guessed it! Near our hips.) that further assist in lower body movement. Isn’t it fascinating how not just one independent group of muscles is responsible for anything? They are almost always working together, which is why more attention to muscle recovery is so important. Our glute is located in the back of our body. Made up of three muscles, it works with our hip flexors, allowing our legs to freely move within our hips. The gluteal muscles also help stabilize our pelvis; this maintains posture and balance so we can stay centered while riding an ebike! Here is our last stretch tip to get you prepared for an electric bike ride:
Lie flat on your back with both knees bent upright. Lift one knee up keeping it at a 90-degree angle, then move it inwards, crossing your lifted ankle over your bent knee. Then, lift the bent leg up toward your chest. To lessen the possible pressure on your lower back when doing this stretch, reach one hand in between your legs grabbing onto your inner thigh, and reach the other around the outside of your thigh. You can place your hands anywhere on your thigh that feels most comfortable. Breathe as you pull your lifted knee in towards your chest, then switch to the other side.
Time For Fun!
Now that we’ve covered some fundamental nutritional and stretching tips to assist in boosting performance and preparing our bodies for an electric bike ride, the last thing to do is gear up (Helmet? Check. Knee/elbow pads? Check. Water? Check.) and have fun! You won’t have to worry about preventative and recovery measures until after your ride, so clear your mind, be as present as possible, and go for that ride.
Essential Recovery Tips for After Your Ebike Ride
Picture this: you had an absolute blast on your ride, exceeding the distance you typically ride and your top speed so far. As your heart rate starts to decline, you really start to feel the stiffness and tightness in your muscles, not to mention the onset of this unquenchable thirst. What’s next?
Recovery after any sort of moderate to high-intensity exercise is crucial to optimizing our overall health and longevity. When we fail to take the proper precautions to heal and recover our bodies from the stress we put them through, we run the short-term risk of muscle strain, general fatigue, and overall burnout, not to mention long-term effects such as joint pain or chronic discomforts. Below, we’ve jotted down what we consider some of the most important recovery steps everyone should be taking after any type of electric bike ride. Whether you’re a rigorous trail biker, an efficient commuter or a familial or community cruiser, these rest and recovery tips will help you stay ahead of the dreaded side effects of a good workout so you’ll no longer be postponing plans due to an achy body or sore muscles!
Fuel for Thought
Without food, we wouldn’t be able to do half of the things that we, humans, are able to do. Food is what fuels us. Although the majority of our energy can come from traditional plates consisting of a protein, a carbohydrate or starch, a fat, and some form of green (Again, health is wealth! Don’t forget to eat your veggies.), we humans are always on the go, and sometimes, we don’t have enough time to eat a full-balanced meal right after a bike ride. Introducing: a post workout recovery drink.
Workout recovery drinks are not intended to be meal replacements, but instead, are a way to rapidly replenish your body and boost your depleted energy after a period of activity. They conveniently provide our bodies with carbohydrates, electrolytes, fluid to combat dehydration, and protein. Ongoing research trends suggest that recovery drinks with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein may be most optimal for workout recovery, including ones like electric bike riding. Together, carbohydrates replenish depleted glucose levels, which is the main source of fuel for our cells, and protein assists in more sustainable muscle recovery.
There isn’t one recovery drink that is better than another, and ultimately, you’ll be the judge of what feels and works best for you. If you decide to stick by this ratio, however you achieve it is entirely up to you. You can buy prepackaged recovery drinks that meet the standard or can come up with your own concoction using protein powders, electrolytes, and carbs. Another simple recovery drink option is a glass of chocolate milk which is about 30 grams of carbs and 8 grams of protein!
If you thought incorporating a stretching routine only before your bike ride was enough, then we’re terribly sorry to break this news to you. While stretching as a quick warm-up before any sort of physical activity is important, stretching after is what really counts for recovery. You want to properly cool down and de-stress your muscles while they’re still activated. Repeat the same three simplified stretches we wrote about earlier, only this time, after you complete your electric bike ride. Trust us, your quads, hamstrings, and glute/hip flexors will thank you for this!
Massage Guns Relieve Sore Muscles
Also known as a percussion massager, massage guns are body-safe electric tools that bring all the benefits of a traditional massage without the expense of having to pay a massage therapist for one, or multiple! Percussive therapy such as this can provide a vigorous deep-tissue massage, and these devices typically come with a selection of attachments, such as interchangeable massage heads with differing degrees of firmness and size, as well as varying speed settings. In fact, Aventon has its own percussive therapy massage gun that you can check out here!
You might be asking yourself how a percussive massage device can possibly help with ebike recovery. Well, this powerful tool aims to reduce inflammation by targeting our muscle tissue; it flushes inflammatory fluids that accumulate normally within our muscle tissue out into our circulatory system. This then can help with loosening tight and tense muscles, minimizing and reducing muscle soreness and pain, and promoting overall relaxation and wellness. In fact, a study found that percussive therapy is as effective as traditional massage techniques and therapies in preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
Percussion massagers are a useful tool for people of all athletic abilities because of their ease of use and proven efficiency in reducing tension and increasing bodily function. Aventon’s percussive massager uses the latest in noise reduction technology, to create the most relaxingly powerful recovery device out there! First, select and securely insert 1 out of 4 massage heads into your percussion massager. Aventon’s massage gun also features 3 adjustable arm positions in 90, 135, and 180-degree angles, so you won’t have to move how you’re sitting to target your sore muscles, you can let the device do the work! Then, adjust the level of intensity to your desire; choose between 6 adjustable speeds and use the touch screen to lock your desired speed for your session. Pressing your percussion massager hard onto your skin is not necessary; instead, apply with minor to moderate pressure to the major muscle groups affected by your electric bicycle ride and let the Aventon massage gun work its magic!
Brr..ing on the Ice Bath
On the topic of inflammation, ice baths are another key component to consider adding to your post-e-bike ride recovery routine! Remember seeing athletes in movies jump into bathtubs full of ice, and never really knowing why they’d willingly sit in pounds of ice? And no, in real-life, a bathtub full of ice isn’t really necessary, although if you can pull it off, power to ya!
Ice baths are actually infamous for decreasing overall bodily inflammation, delaying muscle soreness, and improving circulation. To put this “bio-hack” into simpler terms, ice-cold temperatures constrict our blood vessels, causing our body temperatures to decrease. When we start the rewarming process, our blood vessels then start increasing circulation. This is where our internal healing and post workout recovery happen. While most specialists recommend bathing in ice water that is between 55-59 degrees Fahrenheit for about a maximum of 10 minutes, don’t be afraid to be more conventional with your exposure to this recovery modality. Begin at a temperature more within your comfort zone, and then gradually decrease the more you ice bath. The same applies to the length of time you are able to tolerate the colder temperatures. A minute sustained even in 70-degree-Fahrenheit water is still a minute to be proud of!
Prioritize Catching Those ZZZ’s
Last, and certainly not least, there is an important correlation between a restorative night’s sleep and muscle recovery. Experts recommend aiming to get between 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night. Muscle-building growth hormones (GH) are secreted during the non-REM sleep phase, which essentially is known as ‘deep sleep.’ GH hormones are partially responsible for muscle recovery, and poor sleep has a direct effect on how your muscles will recover.
In an effort to get a better night’s rest, it’s recommended to:
- Limit caffeine intake and exposure to blue fluorescent lights. Yes, that means late-night social media scrolling and tv binging will have to go or be minimized.
- Try to consistently go to bed at the same time every night. If you’re a night owl, try to go to bed earlier, subsequently scheduling your ‘winding down’ pastimes sooner as well.
- Exercise is a large factor in tiring our bodies in preparation for a restful night’s sleep, so keep up your ebike workouts!
A Last Word
All of this information is presented to you just to say that while we want you to have nothing but fun riding your ebike, we also want you to have just as much fun off of it. Sore muscles, aches and pains, and general discomfort are going to get in the way of that fun, and we hope these tips will help your next post-electric bike ride recovery an even smoother process!