With help from our friends at BikeRadar, who are supporting Bike Week here is a guide to the basics of cycling kit, clothes, technique and more. These biking suggestions are aimed at the novices, those of you who’ve just started out on their great two-wheeled experience. Think of us as your helpful riding friend who wishes to save you some time and some trouble.
Right, let’s start with what to wear. There’s a huge selection of cycle clothing out there, in a dazzling variety of colors and fabrics, from the readily affordable to the insanely costly. Let us step up you…
- Some decent padded shorts stop your backside hurting so muchbetter. Massively padded saddles will not help you longer rides: trust us on this. The only way to be more comfortable from the saddle is to wear padded shorts, match a decent saddle and ride till you become accustomed to it.
- Roadies: clipless pedals (confusingly, this usually means the ones you clip into utilizing cleats, rather than toe-clips) are certainly the way forward.
- Mountain bikers: acquire protection. Particularly when you are starting out or learning new abilities, you’ll be very thankful for a decent set of gloves and knee pads, at minimum. If you are learning large leaps or hardcore downhill trails, consider elbow pads and rear protectors too.
- Get some sports glasses. They don’t need to cost the ground or make you look stupid, but they will continue to keep your eyes protected from insects, stones, rain and sun. Some models feature interchangeable lenses — if it is possible, get 1 lens for bright conditions and one for boring, rainy times.
Now you’re wearing something comfortable, let’s proceed to keeping your bike happy. You do not require a shed full of resources to attain this, even though it helps to have a friendly bike shop near if you need assistance.
- Clean and oil your chain regularly, especially if riding in poor weather. You will remove the dreaded’creak’ that cyclists despise, and much more expensive parts like chainrings will not wear out as fast.
- A flooring pump (also called a monitor pump) is a good investment, since it takes less effort to get to the recommended pressure, and they will feature a handy pressure gauge.
- Fit mudguards in moist conditions. Some (including some BikeRadar staffers) will point out they can ruin the clean lines of a fancy street bike, but at the mire of winter do you care?
- Clean your bike regularly: warm soapy water and a sponge will do the job for most parts unless the dirt is caked in which case there are some fantastic cleaning sprays out there. Use expert degreaser for the drivetrain (tape, chain, crankset and so forth ). Then spray your gleaming bike around with a silicone aerosol — avoid braking surfaces — as this will prevent mud sticking on the next ride.
Right, that is clothing and apparel sorted, let’s consider your fuel source. You could spend a lot of money on especially devised sports nutrition, but the fact is that you don’t need to. Have a rummage around your cabinets at home and determine what is mobile.
- Stay hydrated. If you want a water bottle or a hydration back pack, ensure you pack some fluid whenever you are heading outside. You can almost always find someplace to refill along the way, and most coffee shops are pleased to oblige at no cost.
- Steer clear of the dreaded’bonk’, wherever your body runs out of fuel and you grind to a painful halt. The body is able to carry around 90mins worth of glycogen for high-tempo efforts before it requires replenishing, or else will change to burning fat. The problem with burning fat is that you can’t work at anywhere near the exact same intensity level. So keep consuming about 100-250 calories every 30mins, whether that’s energy gels, cereal bars or even a banana. We like carrot cake, by the way.
- Cramping is a frequent complaint when you begin riding harder or longer in the body’s used to. One piece of advice frequently offered is to ensure you replace the electrolytes lost through sweating, by simply drinking specially formulated sports drinks, or by producing your personal (it’s basically fruit juice, water, and a little sugar and salt). No one knows for certain why cramps happen, but this appears to help.
- Crucial to this is protein, therefore aim to consume around 15-20g within 30mins of ending if possible. There are loads of premixed recovery beverages available on the market, or you may have fun by making some. Our current go-to is: Milk, 1 banana, a tbsp of peanut butter along with some honey, all whizzed up in a blender. Yum.
This is an important one — we want to keep you secure. The good news is that using the right mixture of caution and confidence, city streets are yours for the taking. Build up some experience, and you’ll learn how to read scenarios quickly and correctly.
- If you’re heading out for a long ride by yourself, tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back. You’re loved.
- Learn some fundamental traffic-riding skills for town . You will feel a lot more confident for this. Be assertive, remain out of the gutter, and remember that you have got as much right to be on the road as anybody else.
- Front brake is a great deal more effective than the back at quitting you, so attempt to achieve a 60/40 or 70/30 energy supply between front and back. Modern brakes are fairly powerful, and you do not want to go over the handlebars.
- When cornering, ensure your outside pedal is at the bottom position, with pressure being placed on it. This will provide you more grip, particularly in the wet, and make slipping out less probable.
- On the road, learn the way to ride at a bunch . A friendly bunch of riders is quite a bit more efficient (read uses less electricity ) by simply taking turns at the front, but this necessitates riding near each other. And you do not wish to cause any mishaps. So keep a level head, do not make any abrupt moves or brake suddenly, and avoid”half-wheeling” (riding marginally ahead of the individual next to you). Watch out for hand signals and warn following riders of any hurdles that they may not see until it is too late. They will do the same for you.
We return to our closing section, technique.
- Get your riding position sorted. You will be more comfortable, more strong and all-round more happy if your bike is the ideal size, your saddle will be at the right height and your handlebars are installed correctly. A nice bike shop can help you .
- Prevent’cross chaining’ the gears. In other words, if you’re at the largest chain ring, don’t run it with the most significant cassette cog (ditto, smallest chain ring, smallest cog). This stretches the string and stresses the machine. Your bike really doesn’t like it.
- Attempt to maintain a high, regular cadence, approximately 70-90 revolutions per minute if you’re able to. If you are grinding too difficult a gear, your cadence will drop and electricity output will tail off. Try to anticipate huge slopes by shifting into a low (simple ) equipment just before you need it.
- Locate some riding buddies. That could mean joining a cycling club, forcing your mates to dust off their old bikes, or shadowing random strangers (actually, not the last one). However, you’ll feel motivated to get outside and ride if you’ve got a pal to share it with.