Mind Your (Sporting) Ps & Qs (Part 2) - Gym 101 & Cycling 101

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Gym 101

1.    Keep your B.O.LOW

Gyms are sweaty places and you’re there to work up a glow, but sweaty needn’t mean smelly. “Do your fellow gym-goers and dignity a favour and take precautions,” says Durban-based lifestyle and wellness expert Lisa Raleigh.

Description: Gyms are sweaty places and you’re there to work up a glow, but sweaty needn’t mean smelly.

Gyms are sweaty places and you’re there to work up a glow, but sweaty needn’t mean smelly.

2.    Put it back on the rack

Not returning the weights is another frequent gaffe.”Nobody wants to waste precious time hunting for equipment or unstacking a machine,” says Raleigh.

Not only that, but if the next gym-goer in line isn’t quite blessed with your upper-body strength or thighs of steel, they might unwittingly hurt themselves. Wherever possible, place a towel between your body and the machine you’re using. If you do drip sweat or water, wipe it down well.

3.    Be a bunny, not a hog

You’re entitled to practice your planned sets, but always be aware of others waiting to use the machine and set a reasonable time frame,” says Raleigh.

The standard for cardio machines (such as treadmill and stationary bikes) is 10 minutes. Unless there’s definitely nobody waiting, stick to this.

4.    Bend with caution!

Change rooms are a hotspot for bad gym habits. “This is not the place to be shaving any – and I mean any-body parts, nor washing your delicates after your gym session,” says Raleigh. “Keep it short and functional. The respectable amount of flesh to show is subjective…

 “No-one minds a quick flash while you’re reaching for your towel. But a confident, towel-less stroll is, in my eyes, inappropriate. And remember how you bend when someone is standing behind you!”

Cycling 101

Description: Cycling

1.    Hold your line

The most annoying thing novice cyclists ten to do is look over their shoulders, lose their line and swerve,” says top local cyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, who’s off to the London Olympics this year. Sudden veering can, and often does, have bloody consequences - especially at events, where the domino effect leads to nasty pile-ups. The same holds true for sudden stops.

2.    Don’t be a half-wheeling harriet

In cycling circles, “half-wheeling” – riding just ahead of another rider, spurring them to pick up their pace –is a dirty word.

Moolman Pasio is categorical: “It’s a capital crime.” In group or club rides, it’ll make you instantly unpopular. Not only is it read as a taunt (“I can ride faster than you!”), it disrupts the flow of the bunch, causing everyone to speed up and undermining the judgement of the lead rider who’s responsible for setting an appropriate pace.

Avoid the shame by holding not only to your line, but also to a wheel. Moolman Pasio translates: “Maintian 30cm or less between you and the wheel ahead and ride very slightly to the side. This way you’ll get good draft [see ‘3. Know when to graft, not draft’] and if someone slows down, you’re less likely to ride into them.” If you’re riding abreast, the rule is line up handlebar to handlebar.

3.    Know when to graft, not draft.

Known as “drafting”, riding in the slipstream of another cyclist (just behind them) can make slogging up harsh inclines much less punishing. But isn’t it a bit of a cheek to use another cyclist as your windscreen? Not really, no.”You’re allowed to draft in training and in road races, although never in a time trial,” says Joburg-based Lynette Burger, a SA track cycling champ.

Description: cycling champ

Moolman Pasio adds another condition. “Ina race, it’s not OK to draft racers from a passing category [one that’s lapping you]. You may, however, draft riders from your own group.”

As for making use of other riders who happen to be training on the same route, it’s common practice. “Out of courtesy introduce yourself rather than just hanging on for a free ride,” says Moolman Pasio.

  4.    Learn to shoot sharp

If you were taught that lady keeps her bodily fluids to herself, this one might come as a shock.

Roadside disposal of spit or phlegm is not alas, taboo. “It’s not really appropriate,” says Burger, “but it’s sometimes necessary to make breathing or swallowing easier.”

If you have the stomach for it, etiquette states that you calculate your aim with absolute accuracy; veterans insist this is a delicate art.

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