Maybe you took the winter off from cycling, or maybe you were focusing on another activity such as running or gym workouts. But if you're just getting back into cycling, be it road or mountain biking, it pays to warm up before you ride. A decent warm-up lets your metabolism and muscle core temperature rise and helps prevent the build up of lactic acid in your muscles. This means you won't fatigue halfway through your ride or injure yourself the first time back out. Warming up, by starting slowly and not riding your hardest at the beginning of a workout, will help your body get used to cycling again and prepare you for longer rides as your progress. And a good warm-up is even more important if you're accustomed to longer rides, because athletes with higher levels of fitness require more warming up than those with lower levels. So, if you plan to hit the road or the trail for more than a couple of hours, take some time and pace yourself, gradually adding short, intense bursts of speed. That way you'll be able to complete your ride and still walk the next day!