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Get Out! Fall Exercise Tips for Fresh-Air Fun

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Go for a Spin

Ride Without Getting Saddle Sore: Carmen Small, a road-cycling pro with Team Specialized-Lululemon, will save your butt.

  • Pad your cheeks... Invest in padded bike shorts. A pair with the just-right level of cushioning should not make you walk like a cowboy before you've even mounted.
  • ...not your seat. You may be tempted to also top off your bike seat with one of those seemingly comfy gel-filled covers, but they can shift underneath you and distribute your weight unevenly. That's a recipe for rubbing and chafing.
  • Adjust your saddle. Make sure your bike seat is parallel to the ground. If the nose is tilted downward, you may slide forward, giving your cheeks an even narrower pad as well as forcing you to push against the handlebars to stay in place.

Be Queen of the Hill: Yes, there's a science to getting over the hump without huffing and puffing.

  • Step 1: Start shifting before the slope. Select an easier gear (one with less resistance) as you approach, says Kelli Emmett, a pro off-road racer and Liv/Giant ambassador. "If you wait until you're already on the hill, you'll lose momentum," she says.
  • Step 2: Pedal between shifts. Shift one gear at a time, taking a full pedal stroke between each shift. This makes for a smoother, energy-saving transition.
  • Step 3: Put some oomph into it. Pro riders often rise from the saddle to apply more body weight to each stroke on climbs. If you can steer steadily when you're not seated, the extra leverage will give you more push power.

How Not to Look Like a Poseur: Beware the chain-ring tattoo -- the grease marks that you can get when your front gears rub up against your right calf. "It's not only a dead giveaway that you're a novice, but the rubbing can easily cut you," says Emmett. Play it safe by always putting your left foot, which is farthest from the chain ring, down to stop, leaving your right foot on the pedal. And tight-and-bright spandex with the allover logos can scream "I'm trying too hard." Stick with a cute "kit" -- cyclist lingo for "outfit" -- that's understated.

Get Going: Pick your desired distance, then find a course at mapmyride.com or download the app to have your cell phone's GPS act as your copilot. Looking to pick up speed or bike-handling skills? Ride in a group. Inquire at your local bike shop or consider joining a chapter of Team Luna Chix (teamlunachix.com). The girl-power program, sponsored by Luna Bar, helps connect active women of all ages and fitness levels who love to road or mountain bike, so that they never have to train alone and can learn from and encourage one another -- all while raising money for a good cause, the Breast Cancer Fund.

Next:  Row Your Boat

 

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