What you really need to start riding

Cycling is one of my absolute favorite pastimes, and for good reason. It doesn’t matter what kind of mood you’re in, what day of the week it is, what problems are going on in the middle east, or how long it’s been since you’ve ridden last, you can always go for a ride. Nature will always welcome you, fresh air will always be good for your lungs, riding will always be good for your heart, and sun will always increase your happiness.

It’s time to get back to the basics.

I’ve worked at a lot of different bike shops for a lot of years. During those years there were many questions asked and many questions answered. One question that often seemed to pop-up in some form or another is, “What do I need to get started?” The short answer is, “Whatever is going to get you riding.” There’s not a magic list of things that you need, there’s no magic equipment that is going to make you ride.

Here’s the list of the things you need:

  • A bike
  • A route (optional)
  • Determination to push yourself

A bike

Picking out a bike can be overwhelming for people who are just getting started. I used to get questions about, “How much do I need to spend?” Also, questions about, “What kind of bike should I get?” Both are great questions, but there seems to be too much emphasis on them. What you need is a bike. Two wheels, a frame, some good brakes, and it can have gears… or not. You can get a single speed if it’s what you want.

One of the greatest things about a bike is how malleable it’s form can be. You can spend $75 at a yard sale and have all the bike you may ever need. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Ultegra Giant TCR Carbon, but do I need it? Nope. I can have just as good of an experience on an old 12 speed, steel, no name road bike with a good tune-up.

The only two things I would truly recommend is a good seat and a bike that isn’t way too big or way too small.

A route

This is totally optional. Go on an adventure. When’s the last time you went on an adventure? It amazes me what I find sometimes.

Determination

Riding bikes is classified as exercise. I know this concept is strange to a lot of people, but you will be rewarded for it. I promise.

You will need to push yourself. There will be moments that you will feel like you won’t or can’t make it, but you can. Maybe not at first, but hang in there. Again, you will be rewarded.

It’s time to complicate things

After you get the basics, anything that you want to do is awesome. If you want to be a roadie, wear spandex, and buy Gu and recovery drinks in bulk, cool! If you want to only ride on dirt, and drink beer for recovery, shoot me an email and we will hang out sometime. If you want to be a Stravasshole, well, we can talk about this later. Whatever you do, do it on a bike, you’ll be happier that way.

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