I’m Korneel and I recently joined Cyclodam. I’ve been cycling for only three years and could never have imagined I would be so addicted. For me, its all about the bike and I cycle year round on my Cannondale CAAD9 (with some pretty awesome rims). Below are some tips I’ve picked up along the way and hope they’ll help you find the passion for cycling too!
First rule is: you decide what feels good. Don’t be discouraged by this old geezer overtaking you with over 40k/hour. For all you know he is an ex-pro. You are riding for yourself, not for anyone else (I hope). Once you get the hang of it, you can work up the tempo and increase the distance. Slowly increase time on the bike and take plenty of rest. A day of rest can be just as valuable as another day training. When on the bike, keep in mind that giving it all is not in your best interest if you want to build stamina. Build up to at least 90 minutes riding easily, you should be able to talk but at the same time feel you are doing some exercise. This is your aerobic zone.
Steering & Braking
If your steer is lined up properly leaning on the shifters should give you a comfortable and easy braking position, like Jens Voigt is displaying below. This will be the position you will spend most of the time on the bike. In the second image you see Robert Gesink riding a more easy, coasting or touring manner, holding the middle part, no braking possible, so you need to anticipate. When you move into the drop bars, it’s really only in odd conditions or down hill turns, that you want to brake. At least you should have anticipated it. You can just grab them with your index finger. It should be enough. Andy Schleck shows in the last image.[imagebrowser id=1]
Foods, Drinks and clothing
Bring a sports drink, pre-mixed, or your own mix, on your rides. Your body only has enough energy for the first 20-30 minutes, then it needs to shift gears. If you supply sugars you can keep going, if you are too late, your body already switched. This takes time and switching back takes more time, so if you’re too late, you will bonk. Food takes longer to kick in, it depends on your body and you just need to figure this one out for yourself.
Bad fitting clothing will be annoying and do spend some money on good shorts. A good pad (or ‘chamois’) will make the difference between comfort and sore bottom. A bib allows for more comfort than a normal short in breathing.
Eat before you are hungry.
Drink before you are thirsty.
Rest before you are tired.
Cover up before you are cold.
Peel off before you are hot.
Don’t drink or smoke on tour.
Never ride just to prove yourself.
- Paul de Vivie, aka Velocio
You should buy equipment that you want and like. Nothing is worse than buyers remorse, it just takes away the fun. But be reasonable, that 5.000 euro carbon bike doesn’t add anything for you right now. On the road there are a couple of invaluable things you need to bring:
- new innertube.
We all run flat every now and then. A patchkit is not really usefull, just replace the tube.
- levers & pump
No questions here I guess, otherwise it will make sense when you run a flat.
- Multi mini tool
I don’t leave home without it. This little gem might be the difference between a 10k walk home and a ride home.
To get you all set Giant has a nice Quick-Fix pack.
I think that about covers what I would tell anyone who starts riding. If you have any questions, drop a comment and I’ll try to answer!