Stiffness and soreness in your legs a day or two after a ride is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness ? DOMS for short.
Cyclists are better off than some sports because pedalling creates less muscle soreness than, say, lowering a weight or running downhill.
Spinning a light gear rather than churning a big one reduces muscle soreness, as does a thorough warm down at the end of a ride.
A good recovery drink containing carbohydrate and protein such as Science in Sport Rego or Maximuscle?s Recover also help, as they help the muscles repair damage from exercise.
A plunge bath filled with ice or a cold shower followed by a body temperature bath helps flush through the legs and stimulate blood flow.
Massage and a light stretch also help reduce soreness later.