Monday, June 11, 2012

Beginners Guide To Biking . By A Beginner. Part II

You can read part I here and part three here.

3.  Equipment

The things you need:  Water bottle cage, water bottle, bike bag, mace.

Water bottle is so obvious I think it is easily over looked.  I have two on my bike, and most bikes you see on the trail will have two.  Bonus points if the cage and the bottle match the bikes color scheme.  I could have put the bike bag under the wait category, but I was a Girl Scout.  In order to always be prepared you need storage space.  See #4 for what you want in your bag details.

The things you can wait to get:  Bike computer, pedal cages, pedal clip and shoes, bike seat. GPS, rear view mirror.

Bike computer and GPS kind of go together.  You can get a bike computer expensive enough to track you by GPS, you can get an app on your smart phone, or you can use the GPS watch you have for running.  Even if you just get a basic computer it will tell you how far you've gone, how long you've been riding, your current and average MPH as well as any number of other things.  I am kind of a nerd, and I like the numbers.  It keeps me motivated, I can set goals for myself and push myself harder than I would if I didn't know the numbers.  I also enjoy going home, uploading my ride and seeing my results.  My two favorite apps/websites are Strava and Endomondo.  Both have different strengths. 
***UPDATE ***  Recently discovered that Walmart has bike computers.  I think most equipment falls into the " You can pay as little or as much as you want too." category.

Pedal cages and the special pedals and shoes are nice but not necessary.  Both help keep your feet in place over long rides and help you maximize your movement.  You are pulling the pedal up as well as down, much more efficient.

Bike seat.  I know what you are thinking.  " I am going to go out and get the cushiest biggest seat I can find".  Please don't.  That is what your padded shorts are for.  Something about the bigger more padded seats actually causes more soreness for most people.  It may take a while, and some money, to find a bike seat you like but it will be worth it in the end.  Also, don't make a decision about your first seat change until after you got that first months worth of riding and soreness under control. After that you can truly judge what you need from a bike seat.

4.  What do I put in my bike bag?

Anything you might need.  Your phone, lip balm, fuel, handy wipes, epi pen,mace, handkerchief, sunscreen and tire changing essentials.  Yes, you will have to change your tire eventually.  More on that later.  handkerchief is for bug protection.  Some days the bugs are so thick you would swear the air is chunky.  Putting a simple kerchief over you mouth and nose, much like a train robber, will help keep the bug issue under control.

5.  Trail Etiquette

My husband has observed that cyclist are much more friendly than runners.  I always say that's because cyclist are having more fun, and less of a mental war.  Be smart and friendly.  Think of it like a road.  Do not block the path in either direction, do not run people over and do not litter.  When passing either ring a bell or say clearly, " Passing on your left!"  Always pass on the left when possible, but if you need to pass on the right then say so.  Make sure and give pedestrians lots of clearance and remember that just like on a real road, they have the right of way.  Wave or nod to other cyclist, and try not to pity the runners to much.  Be aware that other people are stupid.  They allow their children to play at the bottom of blind curvy hills, and they will decide to get off their bike and stand around on 25 mph hill.  The best offense is a good defense.

Next Monday. 6/18/2012 I will cover how fast you should be going, ride progression and road safety.

Anything to add to these categories?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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