Hitting the road for the first time? Get a smooth start with this advice.
Consult with staff at a reputable bike shop about what type of two-wheeler is best for you, whether you’re looking to buy or rent. A road bike, with its skinny tires and lightweight steel, carbon, or aluminum frame, is designed for longer and faster rides, while a touring model, with its slightly wider wheels and a heavy-duty frame, is great for carrying gear in panniers or bags. These experts will help you find one that fits your height, weight, budget, riding ability, and goals.
Start training early. Long-distance cycling can be demanding. Put on your training wheels a few months before your getaway to build up to the daily — and total — mileage you expect to ride during the tour. Once you feel strong and confident in the saddle, practice climbing hills to boost strength and ride longer distances to improve endurance. Don’t forget to mix in rest days!
Get the right gear. Must-have items — beyond the basics of a helmet, front and back lights, a jersey with pockets, padded shorts, and sunglasses — include a repair kit with spare tubes, Allen wrenches, seat bag, and at least one water bottle. Stash your cell phone in your jersey pocket or seat bag for emergencies.
Learn the specific rules of the road for cyclists in your state and the state where you’ll be riding, and familiarize yourself with biking hand signals for safe turns.
This article originally appeared as “Pedaling a New Path: Road Biking” in the March 2017 issue of Experience Life.