They say you never forget how to ride a bicycle. But after a winter out of the saddle, those first few rides may be tougher than you remember.

People often take cycling for granted and think they can just pick up where they left off, says Diane Stibbard, a world-class duathlete and the author of the bike training guide Keeping Fit In The Off Season.

Four weeks of pre-bike training can do a world of good. Squats are the way to go, she says.

“Squats are a good exercise for preparing for the cycling season, as they are a ‘multi-joint’ exercise,” Stibbard explains by email. “The joints and their attached muscles — as well as the body’s core muscles, which are working to stabilize the body throughout the movement — are all specifically involved in turning the pedals over on the bike.”

If a basic squat is too easy, hold weights or stand on a wobbly surface, like a BOSU or a pillow. If you’re hardcore, try it balancing on one leg, shoulders and hips square.

Basic Squat

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

2. With your shoulders square, your head facing forward and your back in a neutral position, slowly bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, as if sitting in a chair. Make sure your knees don’t go past your feet.

3. Slowly stand up, pressing your weight through your heels.

4. Repeat 10 to 12 times.

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