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What do I need to know about cycling?


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I just brought my bike (Specialized Stumpjumper with slicks) up from LA and I am very interested in cycling now. I guess this bike will have to do until I raise enough money for a road bike, but that isn't exactly my problem. My problem is that I know next to nothing about cycling (what kinds of foods a cyclist should eat, best ways to be physically safe, etc etc). Basically I am a noob reaching out for advice from seasoned veterans. What sort of information that you now know from experience would you have loved to know about when you first started cycling? That kind of stuff.

 

Fill my mind with your sage advice.

 

 

Joseph

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Lots of people say a helmet. I wouldn't discourage getting one. However find laws on the books for CA, perhaps just the city you live in. I found a nice pamphlet for my state which I am using to refute a bike group that advocates some unsafe riding practices! Yet they are all about helmets and not bothering motorists and whatever else. Are you going to commute, or just use this for recreation, both? Potter probably can tell you better than me but I will say carbs are energy. And ride with critical mass when possible, its fun.

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I guess what threw you off was my comment on being physically safe. I should have clarified that. What I meant was what I should be eating and how I should be working out in order to not destroy my body. I don't want my diet to be lacking in an area that would cause me to under perform and get ill. I also am wondering how best to exercise my legs and stuff for strength and endurance. If that makes any sense.

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Nothing is better than total milage...ride as much as possible. Simply do whatever you can do comfortably ride 150-200miles per week...after you do that...start increasing your speed...then the next off season you should increase your distance to allow for a strong base.

As for food eat as many good carbs a possible...meaning eat as many fruits and veggies as you can and only eat grains to fill in the gaps if you have any...also you can probably just eat protein as you see fit...good carbs a vital...same with good fat

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I second the good carbs advice.

 

When I first started biking, something I noticed that helped my endurance a lot (besides mileage) was cross training with running. Even just a hlaf hour a couple times a week helped a lot.

 

And riding on Monday. Gets your mind set for the rest of the week.

 

Have fun!

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Bananas and apples are tops in the list for me...I also get a bit of sugar from carrots. When I'm not eating so much raw food I eat oatmeal and the darkest rice I can find...as for on the bike I've been eating dates and figs

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  • 2 months later...

As far as skills, etiquette and learning the "street" go, I would highly suggest riding with a group. You learn excellent handling skills, find out about new routes and get tips on what others are doing to improve your skills. There are just so many intricacies in riding a bike, such as fit, positioning and aforementioned skills that you can learn only by being around experienced riders.

 

Check with your local bike shops and find a local riding group at least once a week, preferably on the weekend when there's more time. Most cycling groups are very open to new riders and many cater to novices and won't leave you behind if you are concerned about that.

 

Good luck!

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I'm a bit worried about riding my bike during cold and windy days, the problem is I can't keep my throat warm enough during the process, and I mean it when I say this part of my body is crucial, if I know it's not gonna be warm, then it's not even worth trying. Of course I would go for some makeshift solutions such as wearing a scarf or putting something around my neck but then I have trouble breathing and start sweating abnormally. So the idea would be to find an ideal balance, do you guys have any tips? It's a shame because I can only take out my bicycle between spring and summer.

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When I ride in the cold, I make sure to bundle up. I always wear a cycling-specific neoprene cover specifically made for the face/head in really cold weather. Visit a bike shop in colder climates and they have all that stuff or find it online at http://www.nashbar.com or other online cycling gear seller; they really work.

 

Two other things to focus on:

 

1. Limit your high-intensity efforts. I find keeping the heart rate down at fat burning levels (60-70% max HR) is great for burning those extra pounds, plus you don't infuse your lungs with cold air. You also can sustain longer easy rides in worse conditions. But a good way to get sick is breathing in a lot of cold air at high intensity. Use the wintertime to recover and enjoy your riding, find new routes, etc. Have fun and take it comfortably.

 

2. Drink enough during and after rides, and warm stuff before rides to raise your core temperature. I love taking my favorite warm tea (herbal, non-caffeinated) with me in my water bottles. It feels great and keeps the core temperature up early on until your circulation gets going. I always drink tea before and at the beginning of rides in the cold (bottles get cold fast out in the cold, so drink early). Also, I find I lose a lot of fluids in the cold and I think a lot of other people make this mistake. They find their performance decreases, but they blame it on the cold. But you need fluids to perform. Primarily through breathing a lot and through sweat, it's easy to get dehydrated if you are not paying attention in cold weather riding because you aren't sweating in a hot sort of way.

 

Hope those tips are helpful.

 

-Matt

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