Fall is the perfect time to head out on a bike. For the past several years, my son Kenton and I have dabbled with bicycling. I read a couple of Chris Carmichael’s books (Lance Armstrong’s coach --- yes, way, way overkill for me, but interesting nonetheless) and a couple issues of Bicycling Magazine.
But I never got serious about biking until I became serious about a biker.
So, for you newbie riders like me, here are a few biking tips:
~~ Get a good seat. A seat can make or break you. I have found a few extra dollars on a comfy seat go a long way. The seat should also be adjusted at the optimum height for your height. Go to a bike shop and have them help you. And yes, go to a real shop, not a discount store. The bike geeks that hang out in these places really know their stuff.
~~ Buy yourself some bike shorts. I know, I know, what middle age woman wants shorts with MORE padding? But like a good bike seat, the shorts can mean the difference between ever feeling your butt again or not.
~~ A pair of bike gloves. Same with the bike shorts, keeps your hands from getting numb.
~~ Helmet. Don't skimp on this important item.
~~ Take along a bike repair kit. On one of my first trips out, I didn’t have an inner tube for my tires so my guy and I tried to make do. It would have been a lot easier with the tube. Bicycling Magazine recommends the following in your own kit:
~~ Pump -- they have little ones that fit right on the bike. Sounds silly but check it out prior to hitting the trail. My friend had a brand new one that didn’t work.
~~ Spare inner tubes as I mentioned above. Your tire will have the size printed on the side.
~~ Patch kit with tire-booting material.
~~ Multi-tool kit that includes a chain breaker, tire levers and spoke wrench.
~~ Mini-pocket knife.
~~ Cell phone.
~~ I was also stung by not one -- but two -- bees one day so a small first aid kit with sting kill and a couple of Band-Aids would be good things to take along. You may want to throw in some Advil as well, depending on how long it’s been since you’ve biked. Of course, It’s a good idea to have I.D. with you as well.
Start off slowly, but I bet are are amazed at how far you can really go. Before you know it, you will be like that little kid who used to ride his or her bike forever. Remember?
By Kathleen Ganster
Visit Kathleen’s website at www.thetravelingbag.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.