Cycling is a great way to get exercise, see new places from a different perspective and get some fresh air. It’s an easy sport to get into, and can be fitting to many different fitness levels and lifestyles. When preparing to journey out onto the open road, it is important to be prepared. Not only do you want to make sure you’re healthy enough, but you want to stay comfortable, energized and know where you are going. It’s also important to make sure the bike is street ready, by checking tire pressure, and brakes before venturing out.
It can be exciting to hop on a bike and just go, but as long as you’re prepped you’ll be able to have a great time. It’s also good to know ahead of time what type of route you want to go on, and have particular goals in mind. If you have a certain destination, or distance you want to go it is a good goal to work towards.
Know Your Limits: While a few miles may not seem like such a long trip, it’s important to know your capabilities. You don’t want to cycle somewhere and be too tired to return to your starting point. Start small like you would with any new sport, and work your way up to longer trips. Keep your phone charged in case you need someone to pick you up. Start off on smooth flat terrain before introducing hills and off roading to your repertoire.
Appropriate clothing: Depending on what type of cycling you’ll be doing, you’ll want to make sure your clothing is appropriate. For street cycling, where speed is your goal, tight fitting clothing will reduce drag. Make sure it is moisture wicking to keep you cool and dry. For long rides, consider biking shorts that are padded in the tush area to make it more. Depending on the bike, you can get special cycling shoes that lock into the pedals.
Hydration and Fuel: For mountain biking when you’ll be away from stores, especially, and during long trips that you won’t want to make frequent stops, it is important to have adequate hydration. Some bikers have several water bottles, or hydration packs such as a Camelbak, depending on personal preference. Eat a meal before your trek with plenty of carbs and protein to give you the lasting energy, and pack a snack for the road that will give you a quick energy boost.
Spare Equipment: You don’t want to have a tire blow in the middle of a trip or after a tire pressure top off. Be sure to have a spare inner tube and a pump if you plan off traveling a long distance that won’t bring you near a bike shop. It’s also beneficial to keep a small set of tools in case you need to adjust your brakes or tighten any bolts or screws that may jolt loose after a bumpy ride.
GPS: Especially when trekking into a new area, or just for keeping track of your trips, a GPS device is a great tool to have during any cycling trip. The one on your phone should work just fine, and with certain apps installed, it can track your distance, speed, calories burned and many other important pieces of data that will enhance your riding experience. It can even allow friends or loved ones to watch your progress. If you prefer to do things the old fashioned way, carry a map instead, because you don’t want to end up lost on a bicycle in an area of which you are unfamiliar.