Cycling is a great way to cross train. It gets you off your feet and gives your knees a rest. I am a runner at heart. Running makes me feel strong, but cycling makes me feel free. I love cycling because it takes you places that running can’t. Well, unless you are an ultra-marathoner, but that’s just craziness!
Riding also allows you to experience places in a way that driving in a car can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good road trip, but on my bike I can enjoy the sun and freedom of being outside.
Cycling does requires a greater time and money commitment though. But it’s worth it.
What do you need to get started?
- A bike (duh) : You can get a decent entry level bike for $800 – $1000. Go to your local bike shop to be fitted and they will recommend the best bike for you. Performance Bicycle has great customer service and competitive prices. And of course they carry everything you need to get started. Be prepared to drop some major moolah 😉
- Helmet: you should never ride without one. Keep that head of yours safe!
- Bike shorts: A must! People that don’t ride think we wear them for their sex appeal–hahaha–but they actually serve a purpose. They pad your bottom and keep you from chafing. Both very important if you don’t want to hate your bike.
- Gloves: Protects your hands from blisters.
- Water bottle: Always stay hydrated!
- Extras: tire pump, extra tube, small bag for under seat for the extra tube and tools to change tire.
What can you get when you have the extra $$$?
- Jersey: It’s all about the outfit. Jerseys are great because they have pockets to keep your snack, ID, keys, lip balm, etc… I find having the right outfit for the activity keeps me motivated. You do what works for you.
- Bike computer: Great for tracking distance, speed, cadence. I still don’t have one because I usually ride with someone who has one so I can go by theirs. You can get a decent one for under a $100 but you can also spend a whole lot more depending on what you want to get out of it.
- Clip-in cycle shoes: Not a necessity initially, but nice to have when you are ready. Clipping in to your pedals can be daunting, I rode for years on regular pedals, but it really is easier than it looks. There are YouTube videos to show you how. Performance Bike also has a how to video. Plan on falling at least once while learning, but trust me, you will survive and it doesn’t hurt too much :-/ (Take it from me, I’m not known for my coordination and grace. There’s a reason I’m a runner and not a dancer).
- Light: If you are planning on riding on the streets as opposed to bike trail I totally recommend a light. It gets drivers attention. It’s scary enough on those streets, make yourself as visible as possible.
There’s probably more that I am forgetting, but this will get you started. If any of my riding friends are reading this and have suggestions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Remember, I am not a professional, a coach or a personal trainer. I am just giving advice according to my own personal experience. I want to share what I have learned with you to make it easier for you to get out and have fun.
I have posted a link below for a great ride coming in November.
Bike the Coast is a scenic fun ride that starts in Oceanside, goes down the coast taking you through coastal towns like Carlsbad, Encinitas and Solano Beach. Most of the ride is on a trail with very little car traffic.