You probably use public transportation or your own car to get to work. But have you ever consider
getting that rusty 10-speeder out of the garage and cycling your way through the city? Get the best cycling gear you can find and enjoy the ride.
Cycling is a wonderful activity that actually never ceases to attract new people. A bike is a great vehicle for transportation. It doesn’t pollute, it provides exercise for your body, clears your head and saves you money. And if you are lucky, you can use it year round without any major issues!
If you think about getting started with cycling, 2016 is the best year yet. This is because there are more options and reasons for taking on this beautiful sport than ever before.
There exist a plethora of options that you should consider before and during your biking adventures: what bicycle to buy, how to maintain it, how to ensure your safety and health, how vigorous your cycling should be… But you should also be careful not to overestimate your capabilities and end up with sore legs, unable to move for days on end.
Regardless of whether you intend on starting a sporting career or just trying to find a great way to commute, this guide will provide you the necessary information to start with cycling in 2016.
Buying a new bike vs fixing an old bike
The first thing that you have to think about is what bike you are going to ride. You probably already have a bike that has been waiting for you in the garage for the past decade or two.
Should you decide to get it out of there, you may be surprised that it works right away. This is partly because most bicycles are very sturdy and well-designed, which results in their amazing longevity.
You can try fixing a thing or two here or there, checking up on the brakes and the grease, setting your saddle and going for a ride. If your bike is in a more desperate condition or you don’t have the skills necessary to fix that flat tire, a quick visit to a nearby bike shop will instill a new life into it – and make you smile.
On other hand, if you intend on climbing mountains, you might think about purchasing a new all-terrain bike or mountain bike.
Types Of Bikes
The world of bikes is vast and expansive. Just walk into a bike shop if you want to be overwhelmed with a choice of too many different bicycles before you’ve even entered the store and seen the full selection.
It pays to think about where you intend to ride your new bike – strictly in the city, something in between, in the country or strictly on rough terrain.
Bike shop owners will be able to help you out with this choice. There are bikes for all the aforementioned purposes.
City bikes or road bikes usually have thin wheels and tires; country and off-road bikes have wider tires and more aggressive tire tracks; speeding or racing bikes have extremely thin wheels. There are even bicycles that cross all types and are multi-purpose, albeit not exactly as effective as dedicated types.
Then you have the hybrid bikes, a mixture of the mountain and racing bicycle features.
The cruiser bike or beach cruiser is great if you live near the beach. The cruiser bicycle is more for the casual cyclist going on an errand or a casual drive around town. The bike is heavy and has balloon tires making it steady and easy to ride.
Price Of Bike
You should also consider the price of purchase. Prices of bikes range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. For starters, a nice bike of 2 to 4 hundred dollars should meet most of your needs.
If, as a biker you decide to push beyond what your first purchased bike is capable of, you can always trade it off on the market and upgrade.
Bear in mind that you usually get what you pay for – quality and versatility rise steadily as the price goes up, at least until you reach a point of diminishing returns.
Be sure that you get the best cycling gear for yourself and experience the sport to its fullest.
Pay attention to ergonomy
Riding a bike is easy enough. We learn to do it while we are kids and we never forget it. However, if you plan on spending a significant amount of time on your bike, you may start experiencing many of the problems that regular cyclists experience, including back pain, joint pain, soreness in your buttocks, stiffness…
Ergonomy is very important for any activity that we are involved in on a regular basis. Your bike should fit you ergonomically so you can avoid all these troubles and enjoy your ride, however long.
It pays to read about how to adjust your bike according to your size and body type, as well as what is the best cycling gear to use.
In cycling, your back should remain straight, your knees at around 45 degrees and your arms extended on the handles.
Usually, most dimensions on a bike can be adjusted, including seat height, types of handles and their height, as well as most other factors.
You should also pay attention to your saddle. A stiff, hard saddle has a way to introduce soreness in your buttocks and lower legs, but cyclists usually say that your body will adjust if you ride regularly.
If you want to avoid this discomfort, you can opt for a saddle that is flexible, soft and that fits your pelvis bone width. One can usually test many types of saddles in any well-equipped bike shop, and there are ones specially crafted for sports, for light trail riding such as the ISM Sport Cycling Saddle.
Equip yourself with the best cycling gear
For that basic ride, a quick jump on a bike is a no-brainer. However, if you plan on employing your two-wheeled friend on a more regular basis, you will probably have to equip yourself with some of the best cycling gear accessories, ones designed to help you have a comfortable and effective ride.
The first thing you should think about is getting a helmet. It might look like an unnecessary expense, but you will be grateful should it ever happen that you fall or are pushed off your bike.
Helmets are not that expensive, and they are mandatory in some countries. This piece of equipment might literally save your head.
The next thing you should pay attention to is your clothes. There are dedicated cycling clothes, but you can use any clothes that fit your agenda – yes, even a suit doesn’t look off on a bike anymore.
Before you go for a ride check for rain and snow – it might mean that you have to purchase one of those plastic bags to wear when its raining, and you might even need to take replacement footwear. You can also consider specialized cycling shoes cover such as the Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell MTB Cycling Shoe Cover.
Gloves are also essential if you drive through cold weather.
For example, a pair of UA Combine Training’s Infrared Gloves or the NRS Hydroskin gloves will keep your hands warm and provide you with a tight grip on the handles.
You can always pair them with a shawl and a nice hat that will protect your neck, head and sinuses from the wind. A summer hat will also protect you from the aggressive sun by cooling your head.
A bottle with water is also a great addition to your bike. There are special cages for bottles that are inexpensive, such as the XLAB P-Cage Water Bottle Cage. It can also be paired with a compact tire pump and a multi-tool set should you find the need to fix something on your bike or pump a flat tire.
You can also think about getting a dedicated cage for transporting products or your bag, a spare internal tire, a speedometer… the possibilities are endless. Check out the best cycling gear and choose the accessories that fit your needs.
Start small and constantly increase your distance
You wouldn’t jump right on the running track for a marathon, now would you? You shouldn’t do the same with cycling either.
Yes its true, your bike combined with the best cycling gear will give you an ability to cross tremendous distances with a fraction of the energy spent for other outdoor activities. But you still have to be careful about those joints and muscles.
If you overdo it, you will end up with a massive muscle burnout that will leave you incapacitated for a week.
Not only you will not be able to ride your bike for several days, but you’ll also go back to the sedentary lifestyle you intended to avoid with the help of your bicycle.
Therefore, the key is in moderately increasing your cross distances and difficulty levels.
Covering 30 – 45 minutes a day is a good start, and you can increase this by 5 – 10 minutes each day until you reach the 90 – 120 minutes riding time which is enough for most purposes.
After this, you can try increasing the difficulty of your ride, by climbing hills and mountains, speeding up or performing interval training by alternating standard speed time with racing speed time.
Just remember, moderation is key to achieving great stamina and strength and making your bike a piece of you.
Don’t forget about maintenance
As mentioned earlier, your bike is your friend. And every friend needs a little attention from time to time.
Tires go flat, your chain might get stuck or your brakes may break. Keeping a spare tire, a multi-tool and trying to drive seamlessly will go a long way to keeping your bike alive and kicking.
Moreover, it pays to go to a bike shop check-up once a year if you regularly drive it. They usually know how to discover little problems (like metal corrosion) before it becomes a big enough problem that renders your two-wheeled friend only reusable as a home lantern.
As you may notice, starting your biking career doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. If you pay attention to a few details and equip yourself with the best cycling gear, you’ll have no major problems and will soon enjoy the fresh air, stamina and fulfillment that only a bicycle can provide.
So what are you waiting for? Go grab that old horse and take it for a ride around town.