So, you’ve finally decided to join the club and begin your road biking journey. The problem is, you barely had a clue about where to begin. To be fair, you’re probably asking yourself the same questions we’ve asked ourselves back when we were also just starting. This article will guide you step-by-step to the things you need to know as a beginner road biker. If you’re looking for a guide about mountain bikes instead, you can find one here.
First of all, good job! You have successfully accomplished the first important step in becoming a road biking enthusiast – showing interest and curiosity. Without these, you wouldn’t even be here looking for answers. Being interested and curious about the sport is crucial, especially if you plan to invest in biking. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend money on something you might easily lose interest in shortly after, right?
Now that it is established that you’re interested in the sport, let’s proceed to the next important aspects. What are these things, and why do they matter, you ask? Here are they.
GET YOURSELF A ROAD BIKE
Getting yourself a bike is like getting a new gaming PC that will perfectly suit and serve your playstyle. It needs proper analysis and thinking, especially when dealing with the specs and parts, as these will determine your long-term experience (and relationship) with your bike. Also, you should know by now that not all bikes are the same. You might find yourself buying an aero bike instead of a road bike without even noticing! There’s actually a guide here to help you erase the confusion. You also need to consider your budget – you can’t just storm a local shop and demand the best bike they have and expect it to be cheap. In getting your first bike, be sure to keep the following in mind.
- Do a quick research about the specific road bike that you want to own. Familiarize yourself with the bike’s key components and how they may serve and affect your riding experience in the long run. There’s a ton of information available online, and you can also ask some trusted people who are experts on road bikes.
- Go for the best quality. Guarantee yourself a good-quality road bike that fit your budget. Consider it as an investment for your long term goals of traversing roads and crossing borders.
- Do a test drive. You can always tell whether the ride ‘doesn’t feel right, and mind you, it really doesn’t. Make sure that you have purchased the ‘right one’ before settling with it.
TWEAK IT TO PERFECTION
Now that you have purchased your road bike, it’s time to test it out outside. This will determine how the bike ‘feels’ and how comfortable you are when you ride it. It is recommended that you consult a professional bike fitter to custom tweak your road bike to fit your needs properly. Things like your handlebars, stem, saddle, seat post, etc., can be adjusted so that they adhere to the proportion of your body. Choose a firmer saddle instead of a cushy, softer one. It will help you protect and maintain comfort for your buttocks and sit-bone.
Cycling surely can give us a lot of health benefits. Assuming that you have already anticipated the things that could happen during your adventuring, it is also crucial that you prep yourself and make sure you’re always in the optimal condition every time you plan on taking your road bike for a ride.
- Physically. Before starting on a journey, check yourself physically. Are you feeling sick? Do you have a health condition or history in the respiratory and cardiovascular? Do you have allergies? Are you on medication? These details will have a massive impact on your cycling experience, so make sure you got them covered if there’s any. Do not ever go on a ride when you lack sleep for obvious reasons. Bring supplies such as medkits, sports drinks and water supplements for dehydration, and light snacks to fuel your body.
- Mentally. Riding is therapeutic, yes, and it can help calm your nerves and forget about your problems. However, taking your road bike on the highways when heavily preoccupied can be dangerous on your part. You can’t think straight, and your reaction time can be evidently slow. Clear your mind before riding.
- Socially. Yep, you read it right. Whether you’re introverted or otherwise, establish a social bond with your fellow riders as it makes your experience more worthwhile. Plus, these people can help you know your bike better and may even suggest tips and suggestions.
PLAN YOUR RIDE
When you’re being serious about integrating road biking into your daily life, it is wise to plan it out. Set up your goals and track your progress to make your life easier. Here’s what you can do.
- Don’t rush. Especially if you’re a beginning rider, it is advised that you ride lengths that you can only manage in the meantime. Baby steps are still steps. You can go for 7-8 miles per ride at the beginning, then add on a little as you progress.
- Rest. Take time to rest your muscles, especially after more extended than usual rides, as they also need to recover from stress.
- Ride familiar routes. Be familiar with the routes that you aim to traverse at the beginning of your road bike journey. Again, take little steps, and once you get the hang of it, you will get there.
- Check out the weather. Don’t push it when you knew it would be pouring hard today. Tomorrow is another day.
- Track your progress. Apps are a thing now in the biking world. Download one from your app store and use it to track your road biking progress. You’ll never expect how rewarding and motivating it is to see the results after only a few weeks!
MAINTAINING AND CARING FOR YOUR ROAD BIKE
Love your stuff, and it will love you back. Check your bike from time to time, even for something off or weird-sounding. Do these things to care for your bike and improve its lifespan.
- Check your bike’s tire pressure, brakes, chain, etc., for any dents and punctures and make sure everything is in the right fit. This should be your protocol every time you plan on riding, as this will determine your safety.
- Procure oil or lubes for your chains, and make sure to oil them when necessary.
- Have your bike checked and maintained by a professional at least once a year. It is always fun to ride with a safe and comfortable road bike.
- Don’t let your road bike rot. If you’re not using it yourself, have a trusted person to use it for you from time to time to keep the mechanism ‘alive’. Do not stash it out somewhere in the garage to rust.
- Learn how to troubleshoot. Broken chains and flat tires are only two of the many obstacles you’ll meet in one or two of your rides. Educate yourself on how to troubleshoot these problems.