Getting Started - Besides the bike, what else does the beginning cyclist need?
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Getting Started - Besides the bike, what else does the beginning cyclist need?

by Brian Butts at 7:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: General, Getting Started
 
One of the best pieces of equipment for both beginner and veteran alike, are clip-less pedals. Gone are the days of the standard bicycle pedal with an open platform when the only point of contact between pedal and shoe was on the down-stroke. To solve this problem clip-less pedals were invented. Cycling shoes with hard plastic or carbon soles are connected to specialized pedals using a cleat on the bottom of the shoe. Clip-less pedal systems allow the shoe and the pedal to become one so both are connected for the entire pedal stroke. This means you are always applying pressure to the pedal. While you push down on one side you are pulling up on the other. If you are hesitant about spending money on a clip-less pedal system, toe-clips are an option. Toe-clips also allow you to “connect” your shoes to the pedal by using straps, which wrap around your shoes and pedals, and connect using a clasp. The clasp allows you to pull the straps tight as well as loosen them. Toe-clips are cheaper, costing around $20, than Clip-less pedal systems, which can cost in excess of $100 for an entry level pair, however, Clip-less pedals are definitely worth the money and one of the best investments anyone can make on their bicycle.

A proper bike fit is imperative for any cyclist. No matter how good your shoes, saddle, or shorts are, they cannot make up for a poor position on the bike. It is a good idea for anyone who rides to have a bike fit done by a professional. A good bike fit will not only increase the comfort level and satisfaction of your ride, but will decrease the possibility of injury due to any one of a number of improper bike adjustments. Most any bike shop can give you a general bike fit, before you buy a bicycle, or give you information on where you can get one.

Most all of us have a pair of sunglasses. It is a very good idea to wear them when you go for a bike ride. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun, dust, bugs, and wind.

Water bottle cages and water bottles are critical to any cyclist. Athletes can lose large amounts of fluids during exercise in the form of sweat. It is crucial to replace these fluids as you lose them and avoid dehydration.

A spare tube, pump, and the knowledge to change a flat tire is a good idea to avoid the indignity of walking miles home because of a flat tire. There are many good websites and bike shop repairmen who can show you the proper way to change a flat tire, and it doesn’t hurt to practice.

This basic list offers a solid grasp on the fundamental pieces of equipment and information necessary to obtain a high level of comfort, enjoyment and success for a beginning cyclist.
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