Three Things You Don’t Need To Start Cycling

When starting out in the sport of cycling, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by everything involved. The types of bicycles (their respective sizes, components, price points, materials), the myriad of clothing choices, training recommendations, and the list goes on, and on, and on. It doesn’t have to be that hard. When first starting out, I think folks may jump a little overboard as far as buying equipment before they fully understand what they’re getting themselves into. I think this is why we see so many bicycles on Craigslist due to new cyclists quitting. Or they don’t even start because they’re too overwhelmed about perceived ‘requirements’. What you DON’T need If you’re new to the sport of cycling, I wanted to provide you a list of items that I think you DON’T need when you first start out. They are: An expensive bicycle. Some would disagree with me on this and we could get into a long discussion regarding the ability to upgrade later, comfort, and quality. Maybe we’ll talk about that someday. But I believe that if you’re just starting out, you don’t need to drop $2500, or even $1500, on the latest bicycle (Bicycling Mag says $1500 is the minimum a new rider should spend – March 2010, page 48). I think my first road bicycle, which I bought brand new, cost me $500 back in 1996. I rode it off and on for 15 years until some problems with it last year forced me to retire it. I looked at some brand new bikes as a replacement but would have had to spend at least $1200...

50 Reasons To Start Cycling

I’ve started a list of reasons to start cycling. I want to hear yours in the comments. You can lose weight. You can improve your fitness. You get to wear skin tight clothes. You get to drink lots of water. You can meet cool people (which, in turn, makes you cool). You can satisfy your urge to compete. You get to rub silky smooth concoctions in your nether regions. You can raise money for a charity. You get to buy cool toys. You can buy bicycles that cost more than your car (if you want to). You can play with CO2. You can improve your maintenance skills. You can quit driving a car. You can save money. You can ride 100 miles in one day. It’s an excuse to buy things made of carbon fiber. It’ll help improve your cooking skills. It’s great for your self-esteem. You can ride in the rain. It gets you outside. It’s great to do with the family. You can go downhill really fast. Breaks at the local coffee shop are awesome. Riding a paceline is exhilarating. You get to wear padded shorts and they aren’t Depends. You can get an awesome tan (on half your legs and arms so you might look like a freak). You get to ride up mountains. You get to eat energy bars. If you’re a dude, you have a reason to shave your legs (maybe). You get to drink electrolytes. You can ride the Tour de France route. You can actually buy a product called DZ Nuts (for him or her) and not feel creepy (maybe not). It’s...

Five Ways to Measure Cycling Success

As we ride our bicycles we need to know how we’re doing, if we’re getting better, and if we’re on track to meet goals we’ve set for ourselves. The way to do that is to take measurements to see if we’re on track to success. Five Ways to Measure Cycling Success Keep a log. This can be as elaborate or simple as you want it. It can also be free or available for a price. I’ve used both Excel and online tools and it’s a matter of personal preference and requirements as to which method you choose. Use a cyclocomputer. You don’t need anything fancy but if you’re a numbers nut there’s high-tech computers available. Some of the nice cyclocomputers have options to download data into logs for convenience. Bike Noob recently wrote a good article on What’s the Best Cyclocomputer? Note how your clothes are fitting. I found out last year that one of my best indicators that I was making progress was how my clothes were fitting. Because I was riding so much, and building some muscle, I wasn’t losing a ton of weight but my clothes were fitting so much better. I was even able to get into clothes I previously couldn’t wear. Listen to people. Are co-workers asking if you’ve lost weight? Is your family asking if you’re still riding all those miles? If people are taking an interest then they’re more than likely noting change. It also means they care. Listen to your body. I think this is huge. Only you know your body and only you can tell how you’re feeling. I can...

Five Ways to Stay Motivated for Cycling

My last several posts have been about self-discipline, losing weight, and new cyclists quitting the sport. You can go a long way towards improvement within those three areas if you apply a little motivation. What is motivation? Motivation is a condition that activates or stimulates behavior and gives it direction. It energizes and directs goal-oriented behavior. It can have many forms and is usually based on the desire to achieve an end result – losing weight, riding a century, etc. Five Ways To Stay Motivated For Cycling Set goals. You know what you want (lose 40 pounds or ride a 100 miles) but it’s meaningless unless you set those goals down in stone. Let others know about those goals so there’s some accountability. Here’s a good article about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Sign up for a ride. Knowing you’ve signed up for, and paid money for, an event is a great motivator to gut it out and keep riding so you’re prepared to ride. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to train. This is what I did last year when I decided it was time to get serious about my weight loss by riding my first century (although bicycle problems kept me from participating). Do a fundraiser. There are many opportunities available for cyclists to sign up for and raise money for worthy causes. Some of the bigger ones are Livestrong, MS-150, and Tour de Cure. Knowing your raising money for a worthy cause is great motivation. Keep some small clothes in the closet. Still have those jeans you wore in college and want to get back...

Six Reasons New Cyclists Quit Riding

Yesterday I posted 5 Reasons to Consider Cycling to Lose Weight. There are actually more than five reasons but I wanted to see what my readers had to say too and several came up with some good ones: Psychologically it makes you feel better to ride. It’s easier to ride the same distance than run it if you’re overweight. It has great medical benefits. All great reasons. Today I wanted to look at why so many new cyclists end up quitting the sport after only a few rides or months. Why Do New Cyclists Quit? If there are so many great reasons for anyone to take up cycling, why do we so many newbie cyclists quit? While searching for a new bike, I saw so many new, or barely used bicycles, on Craigslist. They were listed as only being ridden once or only a few miles (many less than 50)? Here are a few reasons why I think new cyclists find it hard going and end up quitting. Failed New Year’s Resolutions. We’re now into February and many people made some kind of exercise or weight loss resolution at the beginning of the year. I wonder how many are actually still following through with their plans? Too many people get caught up in the holiday season with big plans for exercise that are based on impulse decisions, made without end goals in mind, and with little thought about how they plan to pull them off. So, that shiny new bike they got for Christmas just sits there collecting dust in the garage. They didn’t lose any weight right away....

Five Reasons to Consider Cycling to Lose Weight

Exercise is an essential ingredient in our goal to lose weight (diet is another but we’ll talk about that later) and riding a bike, cycling, is a great exercise. You don’t have to train like Lance Armstrong to lose weight cycling but you have to do something. For those of us that are overweight, cycling is a great sport to help us and here’s why I think so. You probably already have a bike. There’s probably a pretty good chance you’ve already got a bicycle sitting out in the garage that’s seen little to no use. Why not use it to help you shed those pounds? Whether it’s in serviceable condition is another story so make sure you give it a good once over before heading out for a ride. If you can’t remember the last time you rode it then you’re probably not going to be able to hop on it without the tires being flat. Cycling is a great recreational sport. Like I said earlier, you don’t need to be racing like the professionals in order to enjoy the sport of cycling or to lose weight. Those guys and girls are great inspiration but their goals are different than ours (at least right now). Cycling is a great recreational sport you can enjoy while riding local trails or in your neighborhood. It’s also a great exercise to enjoy as a family. Cycling is low impact.I think this makes cycling a truly great sport for those of us that are overwieight. If you are overweight, you may already be experiencing joint problems due to carrying around those extra...
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