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Road Cycling Guide for Beginners

How many of you out there love watching the Tour de France every year? Has it recently inspired you to hop on to a bike and get riding? Now you can cycle for a number of reasons.

You can do it do for the thrill of racing, to get back into shape or just to have fun up on the mountains but before you get going there are a few basic things you should know about and here in this guide I have covered it all for you.

Never forget your helmet

When it comes to wearing a helmet or not well there is no thinking twice, it is an absolute must. Crash without a helmet and there is a good chance you may not even know your back home.

Now I know not all us like it but it is the simplest way to stay safe. Also do not avoid spending on your helmet. It may seem like a lot but will be nothing as compared to your medical bill in case you crash.

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Find the right fitting bike

Now finding the right bike fit is not as easy as it sounds but if you can get expert help well then nothing like it. Check out local shops around you to help you get the right fit. Getting the right bike is crucial and here is why.

It will not only provide you better and comfortable ride but more importantly keep back problems away. I usually check the bike fit through the saddle height which in some bikes can be changed.

Here is how to get the right bike


Find the right road

Now that you have the right bike the next thing you need to look for is the right road to ride it on especially if it is your first time. I would suggest you look for a cycling club near you or check it out online.

This way not only will you find better routes but it is also the best way make new friends to ride with which is always fun.

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Carry your ID

You may have all the right gear, the best helmet and the strongest bike but even then accidents happen. Now while avoiding them may not always be possible a few things can ensure you get back home safely.

Make sure you always carry your ID along with you. I usually carry some basic information about me in my dairy. You can also wear a bracelet if carrying a diary or paper seems too boring.

Get used to the traffic

Well you are going to be riding on roads and thus going to come across a lot of traffic. So how do you deal with it? Well the only way to do that is to get used to it. There is no avoiding traffic so keep your head straight, keep an eye out for on coming and ongoing cars and power through.

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5 Things to Keep in Mind Before You Sell Your Bike

Buying a second hand bike can be a great idea when you want to save cash or are new to cycling. You wouldn’t want to spend your money on a new bike when you cannot do justice to it completely. So, second-hand bikes are good for the starters.

But buying one can be one hell of a deal. You might want to know about the history of the bike you’re buying so that it doesn’t surprise you later on.

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Here are a few tips to make sure you buy a good bike with a bargain and not loss.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

You don’t want to lay your eyes upon a bike just because it’s a good deal. You need to be very clear what all you want in a bike.

If you want to plan road trips, look for a road bike, if you want to hit the trails then mountain bike is your catch. Otherwise, you should look for a hybrid if you want both features well working in your bike. Also, the most important thing is that the bike fits you. Buying a bike at a great deal and still not being able to make complete use of it is a waste.

You need to compare the bikes from different places such as online, newspapers, advertisements, etc. and make sure the owner has provided sufficient photographs of the bike before fixing a meeting. You can demand the seller to provide a size guide which can help you to conclude whether the bike will fit you or not. Unfortunately, every brand has a different size guide, so look for the size guide of the bike you want on its individual brand website.

KEEP AN EYE OUT

Avoid buying a stolen bike. If you’re getting a bike for a very cheap deal to be true, then it’s not right. Ask the seller for the bike history and the duration they’ve had it for. A responsible seller would keep the bike receipt as well. If not, then there is an ID number on the bike frame which you can check from Bike Register database. This will confirm the honesty of the seller.

Moreover, if you’re making a purchase online, use a service like PayPal which offers you protection if anything goes wrong.

CHECK THE DAMAGE

It’s better we accept the bitter truth that all sellers are not genuine. There are many who want to sell their products at the cost of risking others’ money and passing damaged bikes for their own good. So it’s better you keep your eyes open and consider the following things before buying a bike.

The frame: Check for any cracks especially near chain stays, seat posts, bottom brackets and forks.

Replaced parts: There is a possibility that the seller may replace some parts of the bike before selling it to improve its performance. In order to avoid this, compare every part of the bike to the original model.

The drivetrain: The chain, cassette and chain set shouldn’t be rusty. Also, if the cogs are worn down, they definitely will need a replacement.

The tires: Firstly, check if the wheels are travelling in a neat and straight line, and not swinging to and fro. A cheap set will. Also, look for slashes or cracks on the tires.

The cables: Check that the cables are not tattered or rusty and are in a proper working condition.

The seat post and handlebars:  Check if the seat post and handlebars are adjustable, either by undoing the bolts or not as you don’t want a bike you can’t ride comfortably.

MAKE SURE IT FITS

This is a very vital part of buying a bike. You have to be truthful with yourself. Even if the bike has amazing features, it is available at a great deal, etc. you shouldn’t fall for it if it doesn’t fit right as it’ll never give you the comfort while riding that you want.

Sit on the saddle with a foot on the pedal, you should have slight bend in the knee with no need to stretch more. Your hands should be resting comfortably on the handlebars keeping the same circumstances in mind.

Also, you should have an option to adjust the saddle later for farther extent in terms of height so preferably you should be somewhere in the middle.

IT’S TIME TO TEST THE RIDE

Once you’re satisfied with the condition of the bike, ask the seller if you can take the bike for a test ride of around 30 min.

Check the tire pressure before you go for a ride as a bike is not at its best with low tire pressure and risks a flat. Check if the brakes and gears are working efficiently and you’re good to go.

Biking Guide for women

The Ultimate Guide to Biking for Women

We all are familiar with the perks of riding a bike. It burns down calories, tones legs, is gentler on the joints as compared to running and helps in strengthening the muscles. It is open for everyone with no age barriers.

Biking Guide for women

It is remarkable how women riders have evolved with time. Where the number of men riders remained flat, women participation grew to 20% from 2003-2012. With a difference of around 60% women bike owners today from ages 17-28, the male-only Tour de France bike race is organizing a one day women’s race.

Elysa Walk, general manager of Giant Bicycle which is a leading female focused cycling brand, says that she predicts cycling to be as mainstream activity for women as yoga and running. With the remarkable outcome of women participation in so many activities and training sessions for international triathlons, we provide you with a cycling guide for women.

ROAD BIKING

Whether you are travelling, running shops, going for a spin or working out, keep these following steps in mind.

  1. EYES AHEAD

Just stay focused. All you need to do is decide on where you go with a look 20 feet ahead of your travel. One really needs to stay careful downhill and ultimately trust the bike.

  1. DISTANCE MATTERS

According to Stevens, your legs and muscles last longer if you ride about 80-100 revolutions per minute. In order to calculate your rpm, count right knee rises in 15seconds and multiply it by 4. The reason multiplying it by four is because 20-25 equal a cadence between 80and 100. Since the muscles tire quickly if you push to a slow cadence of 65 to 70, shift to an easier gear on climbs for e.g., 90-95rpms.

  1. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WEAR

A classic mistake nowadays is wearing bike shorts with underwear. The seams rub against the skin thereby harming it. Moreover, it is advised to take off the cycling shorts as soon as you’re over with cycling in order to avoid moisture build up and roughness.

Best Road Bikes for You

  1. TREK MADONE 4.3 W.S.D.

It’s an all carbon ride with an astonishing frame and addictive ride quality. The bike is a comfort without compromise.

  1. LIV/GIANT INVITE 2

The bike is an ideal for all kinds, an invite for a fun run, and comfortable ride on roads, gravel or dirt. It helps providing stability on different tracks for beginners.

  1. SCHWINN WOMEN’S VOLARE

If you prefer a road bike or just want to go out for some exercise, the Volare is one of the best for women bikes. It has a Schwinn aluminum road frame with road fork for agile riding. Moreover, the Alloy caliper brakes stop precisely.

 

MOUNTAIN BIKING

It is amazing how people enjoy treating bike as a part of their body. Challenging themselves, and taking the bike over roots and rocks is a blissful feeling for adventure seekers. A few things one needs to keep in mind are:

  1. BALANCE IT OUT

When you reach over rocks and roots, get up off the saddle, stand up on the pedals and bend the elbows about 45 degrees and think of separating the body from the bike. Keep the body weight centered, arms relaxed and shoulders pointing in the heading direction. This makes the bike move freely beneath you without causing you much harm during jerks.

  1. SAVE THE TIRES

Improper tire pressure can cause flats. According to Georgia Gould( Olympic mountain bike bronze medalist and Luna Pro team member), “ fat tires” needn’t be filled all the way if they can take a max of 50 psi, riding at lower pressure such as starting from 25-27 psi helps in making proper grip, cornering and comfort while riding.

  1. BE OPTIMISTIC

Riding off- roads maybe daunting for beginners, but the positive mind makes a big difference. Riding with self confidence and trust on the bike boosts a person and motivates him to go for the heights while a doubting mind tenses things up, therefore leading to mistakes. This becomes a vicious cycle and you should raise your confidence by concentrating on the destination than the path.

Best Mountain Bikes for You

  1. LUST ADVANCED 2

The first women’s full suspension composite bike is a 27.5 inch bike. The bike provides everything a woman needs to get out on the trail. Starting from being designed keeping in mind the woman body measurements and geometry, adjusting the center of gravity to better fit the way a woman rides. Moreover, its low weight adds a ton of control and power to the riding and makes climbing fun.

  1. DIAMONDBACK LUX COMP 27.5

The bike provides quality features in a fashionable design. A T6 aluminum frame and butted tubing construction offers the best lightweight and durable bike. Moreover, the equation wheels roll over obstacles and deliver better grip.

  1. CANNONDALE TRAIL WOMEN’S 4

The bike is designed according to a woman’s proportions. The Trail SL frames have a new lightweight tube set modeled after their high-end F-series frames which makes the bike easier to control on uneven terrains.

 

RACING

Training for triathlons, international competitions, setting one’s own record etc., gives a blissful feeling of conquering something. Challenges are always good to accept and feel good about oneself when won over. Things to know before training oneself for racing a bike are a must go through:

  1. KNOW THE CORRECT TECHNIQUE

The rule is to move your legs in an oval shape and not just push when using clip less pedals. Just feel the movement and instead of just pushing down, push forward and pull back.

  1. BOOST YOUR STAMINA

Gwen Jorgensen, the 2010 USA Triathlon Rookie of the Year advices people to test themselves from time to time. The rule is to challenge yourself every week to complete a 4-20 minute circuit and compare times, fatigue, cadence, etc.

  1. HOW TO PREPARE FOR CYCLOCROSS RACES

When in such races one has to get off and run with the bike, stand opposite to the sharp gears i.e. left side, pick the bike up with right arm sliding through the triangle and lift it on the right shoulder grabbing the bottom of the left handlebar.

 

BEST PICKS FOR RACER BIKES

  1. SPECIALIZED ALIAS SPORT TRI

The bike is designed for both triathlons as well as for normal road biking and is aimed for those getting into sport. It comes with a zero offset seat post and clip on aero bars. One can unclip the bars if they need to during road biking.

  1. SCOTT PLASMA 30

Plasma 30 is a full-carbon frame and fork based bike. This gives it an important weight advantage over most time trial bikes in the market. The steering is precise, with fast-reacting geometry highlighting the short and agile wheelbase.

  1. RALEIGH RX 1.0 WOMEN’S

The bike is designed especially for Cyclocross. The frame is Aluminum with a nice Easton EC70 Carbon fork. This alloy mount is one of the very few best picks for women.

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A Must-Read Gear Guide for Beginner Cyclists

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So what bike do you plan to buy next, a road bike, mountain bike or a hybrid bike? Well irrespective of the kind of bike you love riding there one thing I would suggest all beginners must practice really hard before planning a long road trip and that is gearing.

Learn it well and I bet you will have a speedy yet smooth and comfortable ride and to help you out I have covered a few tips you will definitely find helpful.

Practice, practice and practice

Have you heard the saying practice makes a man perfect? Well even if you have not I can hardly stress more on how much it matters. So stop watching the videos and reading articles and get out there and actually do it.

For that I would suggest you begin by cycling on smooth empty roads and continue practicing till you get better at it and if you can do it quickly enough trust me those climbs will seem a lot easier than they do at the moment.

Right is rear, left is front

Did you know your bike comes with 2 gear sets, one in the front and the other one at the back? The front set is called chainrings while the one at the back is known as the cassette.

To change the front gear use the lever provided on the left side of the bike whereas the one at the back can be changed using the lever at the ride side. Remembering this is important to changing the gears quickly enough especially when climbing.

 

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Always shift

A mistake I often made as rookie was just staying on a single chainring and only changing the rear ones. Now this is not a bad thing to do but it is best if you avoid it. Well you are probably wondering why?

It is simply because this habit can result in the chain and also the gears wearing out rather quickly leading to a higher maintenance cost which I am sure you definitely would hate.

Anticipating well matters

Want to get better at gearing? Well know your routes better. If you can anticipate the hill you can prepare better to gear. Now gearing uphill is so important because I am sure you do not want to reach up halfway and then have to walk the rest.

Now this is not going to be easy at first but stick to it, practice the right technique and it will definitely work out for you.

Avoid shifting often

When coming downhill you might feel the need to shift too quickly, I know I did but like most experts will tell you it isn’t the right thing to do. Know your trail, understand your bike and shift accordingly. Shift too quickly and there is a chance of the chain coming off.

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