Cycling (Biking or Bicycling) (cont.)
In this Article
How do I go about getting started bicycling?
"It's like riding a bike, you never forget!" This is true! We have muscle memory for riding, and it will come back to you even if you haven't ridden since you were a kid. I've taught adults how to ride again after more than 30 years of not riding! And if you've never ridden, you can learn. Check with your local bike shop to see if they offer lessons, and if you don't have a bike, check for rentals. Rental bikes are typically heavy-duty mountain bikes, and so they are stable, sturdy, and relatively easy to ride. It might take more than one lesson if you're a beginner, but chances are you'll be riding after an hour or two of instruction. And don't forget adult trikes if two-wheel riding isn't ever going to do it for you!
Where can I ride my bike?
Local parks are the obvious choice, but check your local recreation department or bike shop for trails you may not know about. In some locations, communities close main thoroughfares on weekends for people to bike on, and many cities are also designating bike lanes on the road.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that converts unused railroad corridors into trails for biking and walking. They have more than 100,000 members and supporters and have built nearly 13,600 miles of rail-trails throughout the United States. Check them out online to see if there's a trail near you (http://www.railtrails.org/).
What do I wear to ride a bicycle?
Walk into any bike shop and chances are they'll have bike apparel. Just about anything comfortable will do if you're just out for a Sunday ride, but if you're working out on your bike, then I recommend wicking materials like polypropylene to keep you dry and comfortable. You can buy polypropylene at any outdoor retailer. The tight-fitting jerseys that you see on bike racers help keep them aerodynamic and dry (they wick moisture), but they are more than most people need unless you are training or racing.
For pants, I recommend bike shorts if you're training or you're spending a lot of time on the saddle. Bike pants are made of synthetic fabrics that wick, they have chamois padding in the seat for comfort, and elastic in the hem to stop them from riding up. If you have a big old cruiser bike with a large, padded, suspension seat and seat post, then you won't need bike pants. But if you're uncomfortable in the saddle and looking for a little more comfort, then bike pants may be the way to go.
One quick tip about new bikes and saddle soreness: Give your new bike a week or two to get used to. Your sit bones may be sore after a few rides, but that tends to go away after a couple of weeks. There's no need to rush out and buy gel covers or a bigger or softer seat. In fact, sometimes a seat can be too soft, and after riding for an hour or so, it may be uncomfortable. Again, give yourself some time to get used to your bike.