Cycling is great exercise and a wonderful way to get some outdoor time. Whether you’re considering going pro or just trying to get around town, here are six important things to mark off your beginner’s cycling preparation checklist.
Choose a helmet that fits your head perfectly and secures with a comfortable strap under the chin. Avoid helmets with decorative elements like stick-on mohawks or sharp, pointy back ends. These embellishments can reduce the effectiveness of the helmet, snagging on the pavement during an accidental fall and causing overall injury to the neck and spine.
Pump and Gauge
Three main classes of bicycle pumps are floor pumps, foot pumps, and CO2 cartridge pumps. Floor pumps feature the classic upright stance and require the use of two hands to push the plunger up and down. Floor pumps are horizontal, featuring a handle suitable for a single foot to do the pumping, and CO2 cartridge pumps, while costly due to the replacement of the cartridges, offer fast and virtually effortless ‘tube filling by using canned compressed air.
Inner Tubes and Tires
Tires can be purchased with special treads for every type of cycling from mountain biking to cruising on the city streets.
There are different types of inner tubes as well, some even boasting puncture resistance, but another important thing to consider is this: Are the air intake valves on these ‘tubes thin Prestas or stocky Schrader types? A different pump nozzle is required for each, so make sure yours has the right type or comes with an adapter.
Always know what PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) your tubes need to be filled up to, as both overfilling and underfilling can cause tire blowouts.
Shoes must be able to grip the pedals without sliding off, yet not so gripping as to make the foot difficult to remove from the pedals at a moment’s notice. Closed-toe shoes are safer than sandals of any type.
Handlebar get surprisingly hot and cold during these extreme temperatures. Gloves that preserve finger dexterity are very useful for this.
Thanks to thieves, the days of thin chains and cables are over. On outings, lock up your bike using a modern titanium U-lock. When you come back to your still-present cycle, you’ll be glad you did.