In this article we will take a detailed look at making sure you have the right equipment and that you are correctly fitted to your bike to optimise power and reduce the risk of injury. We will also talk about the most comfortable clothing to wear and at the types of clothing for the different temperatures you may train in. We will also touch on how riders can be more visible sharing the roads.
The most important advice you can receive when starting out is choosing the right equipment. Step one is to get a professional, independent Bike Fit BEFORE you purchase your bike. This will allow you to go into the bike shop with a specific set of instructions for the shop to follow rather than being confused at the point of sale and ending up buying something you didn’t really want or need. Factors to look at are the geometry of the bike, weight, gearing and braking and of course, your budget.
When you are fitted correctly to your bike, injuries will be rare.
Infrequent aches and pains will always be part of endurance cycling. The main problems to expect to have to learn to deal with are your upper body always being in the same position and your ‘sit-bones’ being the main point of contact to support your body weight. Both areas cause ongoing niggles for cyclists throughout their careers.
A good bike-fitter will also help you with accessories such as types of clothing, footwear and gloves to help you to be as comfortable as possible on the three points of contact between you and your bike (Seat, Bar and Pedals).
These days, during cold weather riding, cyclists are moving towards thermal bib tights and winter compression under-garments, along with heavy duty shoe covers, thermal gloves and a vest to keep core temperature stable.
One last tip on clothing is to choose your colours wisely. Motorists tend to give a wider berth to riders who wear bright colours and are visually ‘present’. So for safety sake, especially when riding on your own, don’t be one of those cyclists who wear dark colours from head-to-toe! On all of your rides you should consider including some form of visual enhancement such as day-time lights (front and rear), reflective, hi-vis garments and/or helmet, and/or reflective, high-vis ankle straps.
Congratulations on improving your physical and mental wellbeing by getting on the bike.