If you know nothing about bikes and/or cycling, purchasing a bike can be very overwhelming! So, to our friends and followers who are looking to invest in a bike, either for triathlons, road races or just to change up the fitness routine, here are a few things we’d like to recommend:
*Fit Absolutely nothing about your new bike will be as important as the fit! If you walk into a bike shop and they ask you to stand over the bike in order to get the right fit (and that’s the only thing they do) – RUN! Getting the right fit is dependent on more than just the size of the bike and should take some time. If you are in the Phoenix area, we HIGHLY recommend getting your bike from Tribe Multisport. They will measure different angles, lengths, heights and your flexibility, then set your bike to fit you … and this fit is guaranteed. I was hesitant to get into cycling and triathlons because as an adult, riding a bike was always very uncomfortable for me … that was because the cheap-o bike I had didn’t fit me. A well fit bike makes all the difference in your cycling experience!
*Components This is where things can get very overwhelming. We can’t tell you exactly what you want because it will depend on your finances, as well as what you’re wanting to do with your bike (race, triathlons, exercise, commute, etc.) but here are some tips for when you go shopping:
- Again, if you’re in the Phoenix area – go to Tribe Multisport – we went to a lot of different bike shops before landing at Tribe and can tell you that they know bikes and can find one that’s right for you.
- Know what you want to do with your bike – the sales rep will then be able to narrow your search
- Know your budget – prices can range from $500 to thousands. There is some truth to ‘you get what you pay for’ but it isn’t always the case. Be honest about how much you can afford and they will be able to recommend bikes that fit your needs and your budget.
- Ask a lot of questions – that’s the benefit of going into a shop – you have a wealth of knowledge available to you – take advantage of it.
*Extras Before you can ride your bike there are few other things you’ll need:
- Pedals – Don’t be intimidated by being clipped into your bike … it’s actually quite easy and you get use to it pretty quickly. It also allows you to use your whole pedal stroke so you save energy and become a lot more efficient on your bike. We really like our Speedplay pedals. Here’s a review with a little more info. They come in a variety of colors (so you can match your bike) and have very easy entry & exit.
- Shoes – Yes, now that you have pedals that clip into your shoes … you need shoes that will clip onto the pedal. We’ll warn you … if you get a good pair they’ll be over $150. However, they last for a long time. We’ve replaced our running shoes many times and haven’t needed to replaced our bike shoes yet. You can find them cheaper but you won’t want to go too cheap. Mindy wears Shimano, Kris wears Louis Garneau.
- Helmet – Please do not skimp on the helmet!! Please do not go out riding without a helmet!! After my crash last May, I can tell you a good helmet is priceless! My helmet at the time was a Giro and that is what Kris still has. When I crashed, the guy behind me stopped immediately and asked if my head was okay which I thought was odd because only my shoulder hit the pavement. Turns out my head must have hit pretty good – my helmet was totally cracked. But, it was a good helmet, it felt like I had just laid my head down on the ground after I hit – my head was fine. My replacement helmet is now a Lazer – another great quality helmet – I switched to Lazer because their helmets have a cutout on the back to allow for a ponytail (a very nice feature for the ladies!)
- Clothes – Although you make fun of the people you see in spandex outfits, if you are interested in cycling, you will soon be one of those people. You definitely will want to invest in a good pair of cycling shorts and a jersey. We’ll talk more about this issue in another post but if your bike shop doesn’t throw in a jersey with your bike, a good place to go is the Pearl Izumi Factory Store in Anthem.
- Hydration – Most bike shops will include water bottle cages & bottles with the purchase of your bike (if they don’t, you’ll want to get these). This basic system will be good for starting out and we’ll talk more about other options for hydration & nutrition in other posts.
- Spare Parts – You’ll want to be prepared for a flat (and it’s a good idea to have someone at your bike shop show you how to change a tire before you leave with your bike). The basic things you’ll want: spare tubes, CO2, tire levers, and a saddle bag or bento box to put these things in for your ride.
- And don’t forget head and tail lights if you plan to ride at night! We use NiteRider MiNewt lights – they work great!