Some riders have a carefully-prepared routine of post-cycling recovery, others stumble about the house in a fog of sweaty exhaustion not sure of their next move.
We've put together some handy pointers to help steer you on the right path after every ride.
One of the main points of riding a bike is so that you can expend energy and then replace it. This involves eating. Cycling allows you to eat as much as you like completely guilt free, because you earned every calorie.
Fitness experts say you should eat protein within half an hour of exercise. Equally, anything you can get your hands on (after you've washed them) will do.
2. Go on the internet
Your ride does not actually exist until you upload the GPS file to the internet so that the rest of the world can see how fast and how far you went. While you're on there, it's worth checking out the news to see if you missed anything while you were away.
Check tomorrow's weather. And Facebook. Leave a sarcastic comment on one of those list articles on a cycling website.
Eventually and inevitably you will find yourself looking at 14 Celebrities With Bad Plastic Surgery That Will Make Your Jaw Drop without really knowing how you got there. What was it we were supposed to be doing again?
3. Clean up the mess in the hallway
When you arrived home, you threw your dirty gloves on the floor as you were fumbling for the house keys, and then left your cycling shoes, helmet, phone, empty gel wrappers, pump, tube, tyre levers and various other items on the hallway floor.
It's probably best that you tidy them away before anyone notices and they spoil your post-ride warm glow with some negative attitude about you not pulling your weight around the house.
It's been at least 10 minutes since you ate something, which may mean that your vision is starting to go blurry and you are in danger of experiencing some kind of energy crash. Best go and get something to eat. To maximise recovery, opt for something that offers the correct balance of nutrients. A sausage roll.
5. Have a kip
Professional riders hammer themselves on the bike, but never ever do any other form of exercise, including sitting upright. Why sit when you can lie down? Recovery is as important as exercise, and there's no better way to recover than have a sleep. It's what the pro's would do.
You've been in a short while and that fresh sweat that was trickling down your face as you crossed the threshold has now turned to an unsavoury crust. The sweat-wicking properties of your base layer did a great job during the ride, but that wicked sweat only made it as far as your jersey, and it's now starting to honk.
Showers are best after a ride so that you can gently turn up the heat every 30 seconds until you have completely drained the hot water tank, your back is bright red and you are forced to get out. Don't forget to put your cycling kit into the washing machine (and turn it on) rather than leaving it in a pile on the bathroom floor.
7. Have a coffee
You may have stopped off during your ride for a coffee, but that's no reason not to have another one. Having a coffee is part of every serious rider's post-ride routine. Make sure you make as much noise as possible while making it to recreate the Italian café ambience. It will taste better.
You can't have a coffee without having something on the side to nibble. Cake, biscuits and sandwiches comes highly recommended. As do roast dinners.
9. Have a stretch
Stretching is a serious business, and many people swear by a good stretching session to prevent the early onset of rigor mortis in their legs and back. Stretching while your muscles are still warm is supposed to be best. Can you touch your toes? Neither can we. Next!
10. Clean your bike
Your bike has just very kindly put up with you crashing through its gears, hammering it through potholes and getting it covered in muddy puddle water - the least you can do to repay it is give it some attention. The longer you leave cleaning your bike after a ride, the less likely you are to do it. So get out there, and don't scrimp on that bit under the bottom bracket like you normally do.
11. DIY/housework/gardening/family time
Only joking. The reason you went out on your bike in the first place was to avoid all of that. You deserve a rest, and perhaps a bite to eat.
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Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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