Warning lights: Nine health checks for cyclists 

Your cycling fitness relies on a complex interplay of biological systems. How can you check that nothing is falling out of sync? Chris Sidwells finds out

Illustration: David Lyttleton

You hear it after races, after group rides and wherever cyclists gather together: “My legs are dead”, “Pedalling in squares today”, “I just felt flat”, “Un jour sans”... Even the fittest bike racers experience days like that. Usually it really is just a flat day – it happens to the best for benign reasons. But it could mean something in the body is falling out of kilter or going wrong.  

A sudden drop in performance, feeling flat, or whatever you call that ‘not quite right’ feeling, may be an early sign of illness. If not illness, it may mean there’s a problem with one of the many things going inside your body – a biological process or system that is involved in keeping the pedals turning as well as keeping you healthy.  

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Chris Sidwells
Freelance Journalist & Author

Chris has written thousands of articles for magazines, newspapers and websites throughout the world. He’s written 25 books about all aspects of cycling in multiple editions and translations into at least 25

different languages. He’s currently building his own publishing business with Cycling Legends Books, Cycling Legends Events, cyclinglegends.co.uk, and the Cycling Legends Podcast