Road cycling is a low impact aerobic exercise that can help shape a healthy lifestyle as well as providing a way of meeting new people. It can sometimes look intimidating but once you take that first ride, you will enjoy a sense of freedom and adventure and enjoy a world of amazing rides.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Once you decide how you intend to use your bike, it’s time to visit a bike shop where you can pick a bike that fits your budget and riding style. The skilled staff at any bike shop can help you choose the right bike and get the fit perfect for you. They can help you choose a comfortable bike saddle and pedals so you can clip in if you plan on wearing cycling shoes. Don’t forget a good bike helmet, an absolute must have for road cycling.
WHY CONSIDER ROAD BIKES WITH DROP BARS?
Drop bar and flat bars are the two most popular handlebar options and road bike tend to have drop bars.
What makes drop handlebars appealing is the variety of hand positions they offer. You can ride with your hands on the tops of the handlebars, resting on the break hoods, or down in the drops. This option to alternate between different positions ensures longer rides are more comfortable as each position will put you in a slightly different body position. Being able to use the drops is also beneficial as it offers greater leverage on break levers when descending.
WHAT TO WEAR ROAD BIKING
Once you have your bike sorted and are feeling comfortable to take it out on the roads riding, it’s time to get some road cycling specific clothing. A cycling kit is more aerodynamic and comfortable on the bike than other athletic clothes. Typically, a kit includes a cycling jersey, matching padded bib shorts or cycling shorts and cycling socks.
Cycling Bib Shorts and Cycling Shorts have a padded seat inside called a chamois and are an essential item for comfortable miles on your bike. Cycling shorts need to hug your body to keep the chamois pad perfectly in place while you ride and prevent chafing. Chamois cream can also prevent irritation by reducing friction between the padded shorts and your skin.
Cycling Jerseys are usually close fitting and made from technical fabrics which provide great breathability and comfort. They generally have a full zipper in the front, a high neckline and pockets built in that sit at the lower back. These pockets are designed to stow essentials like keys, phone, and snacks for longer rides. Cycling jerseys are available in different fits and feature endless colours and designs.
YOUR FIRST RIDES
With all your preparation complete you can now start your cycling adventures. Start slowly around you neighbourhood until you get familiar with your new bike and ease into riding in traffic.
Joining a local cycling club can motivate you, help with new skills and is a great way to meet people and make new friends. There are usually different levels or speeds at which the groups ride and they can show you regular routes other cyclists in your area take.
The biggest danger for road cyclists is motorists, so most safety tips are all about ensuring you are visible to motorists when riding on roads. Increase your visibility with bright coloured clothing and accessories to make yourself as visible as possible and look for reflective elements on cycling clothing if riding in low light. It may feel intimidating on the roads at first but once you become accustomed to the traffic you can predict the actions of the drivers. Just remember to stay left and beware of potholes.
The most important part of road cycling is to have fun and focus on gradual improvement in the pursuit of a happier, fitter, healthier you.
See you out there.