May is National Bicycle Month, as sponsored by The League of American Bicyclists. Many of us are interested in riding bicycles, but we perceive “roadblocks” that prevent us from riding. Overcome these roadblocks to ride your way back into the saddle.
Bike Shops Seem Intimidating – Take a bit of time to prepare for your shopping trip. What are your goals? Where will you ride? How far? How often? What types of terrain? How much do you want to spend? You may also consider online reviews to find a shop with the best customer experience and service – it may not be the closest shop to your house.
Riding Is Uncomfortable – It shouldn’t be! Bicycles come in different sizes and discomfort is often directly related to a poor fit. To avoid dooming your bike to the dust pile, find the frame style and size that work for your body. Good bike shops encourage customers to take a multiple test-rides; are the brakes easy to reach? Can you put your foot down flat? Can you pedal smoothly without overextending your knees or rocking your hips? Your sales associate can adjust fit. Your bike will get more use if it is 100% comfortable.
Lycra: are you serious? – Spandex is NOT essential equipment for riding. You can ride to work, run errands, or enjoy casual rides in clothing you already own. Choose fabrics that will move with you on the bike. Protect your pants with a chain-band (tucking your pant leg into your socks also works). For longer rides, consider padded shorts and/or padded gloves.
Traffic is Scary – You don’t have to ride on the road to be a cyclist. Begin on paths or in parks that are car-free. Grow your confidence by moving to quiet neighborhoods. Maintain at least 3-feet between your bike and parked cars (to avoid opening doors). Signal as needed. Your skills will increase with practice – so ride often!