Buying a bike, sizing yourself up on the bike and cycling gear.
BUYING A BIKE
There are bikes for racing, touring, shopping, commuting, jumping around on – whatever you fancy! So depending on what you want to do with your bike, you can buy a road bike, mountain bike, touring bike, hybrid bike, BMX bike or even a folding bike. These are the most common types of bikes, yet there is a huge range of pedal-driven bikes available, eg recumbents, track bikes, leisure or carrier cycles (eg Pashley), tandems, trikes, unicycles and fixie’s!
WHAT TO WEAR
Cycling gear used to consist of woollen shorts, jerseys and a pair of flat black shoes. These days, cycling gear is fashionable as well as being practical and there is a huge range depending on your style.
It is compulsory to wear a helmet. Your helmet should have adequate ventilation though the size and position is the most important.
Sunglasses stop you squinting and serve as a barrier against wind, insects and dust. If the budget allows, consider investing in a pair of polarizing sunglasses.
Fingerless cycling mitts provide a good shock absorbent padding for your hands and some protection for your palms in the event of a spill. Those with a towelling patch on the thumb are useful for mopping sweat.
Cotton t-shirts get soggy with sweat. A cycling jersey with a lycra/ polyester mix will be quicker drying and better at keeping the breeze off you (because of the tighter fit). It will also have pockets in the back, which are useful for carrying snacks or spares.
Padded shorts should be the first item of kit in your cycling wardrobe. They are comfortable. If you don’t like lycra you can get normal-looking shorts with inserts, or you could wear your cycling shorts beneath some baggy ones. Traditional shorts have a chamois insert. Leg grippers at the ends of the shorts stop them riding up.
Footwear needs to have a stiff sole to prevent your feet aching and to transfer your power most efficiently. Socks help prevent blisters.