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STERLING LORENCE/FOR METRO VANCOUVER
With last week’s Gastown Grand Prix bike race and the Tour de France showcasing the sport of cycling all this month on television, I thought I would help enlighten those who have always wanted to get out and try the sport of road cycling.
There is nothing like cruising along under your own power on a lightweight bike feeling the ground pass beneath you as you dance up those hills like Lance Armstrong.
If you are looking for a bike, you first need to decide what type of riding you wish to do. Whether you commute by bike, ride for fun or train for races, the bikes are very similar. However, there are a few subtle differences that will be better suited to each individual type of cycling.
If you’re commuting then a city bike is best. This type of bike has all the characteristics of a lightweight road bike, however, the flat upright bar is more comfortable and allows you to sit upright and see more as you pedal through traffic. Some city bikes also come with disc brakes, which makes for awesome stopping power, especially during summer rain showers. Fenders and racks can also be easily added to these bikes to make them ideal for commuting in our climate.
If your plan is to road ride for fitness then look for a regular road bike and spend the time trying different models to find the bike that fits and feels the best to you. The next step is defining your budget, as this will help the store show you what gruppo you will be able to afford. The gruppo is the selection of parts that allows you to shift gears, brake and propel the bike forward; Shimano is the leader in this technology. The Shimano 105 gruppo suits most people’s budgets and is a great set that will last a long time.
Racers prefer the lighter and somewhat smoother Ultegra and elite racers and passionate cyclists choose the even lighter weight Durace Gruppo.
Once you have chosen your ride it is time to choose a proper helmet. Again, try on different brands and models and choose the one that fits and feels the best atop your head. Spare no expense, after all one day this simple helmet might save your life.
Next choose a proper bike short with a good chamois. This will make your ride so much more enjoyable and if you are a little bashful wear a pair of loose fitting shorts or cycling knickers over top. Remember — no underwear under cycling shorts!
On your ride, work on being smooth and pedaling in circles rather than focusing on speed. If you don’t feel comfortable in traffic stick to wide roads or cycling pathways until you feel more confident in your abilities. This will allow you to maximize your fun while you are off enjoying the great outdoors.
Pearl Izumi boulder bike knickers
Description: These Boulder bike knickers are the most comfortable cycling pants I have ever tried. Durasensor-light fabric, front pockets and floating integrated mesh liner with minimalist UltraSensor Chamois make for great comfort.
Price range: $99
Where to find it: www.pearlizumi.com
Shimano SH-R085 road shoes
Description: The SH-R085 road shoe from Shimano delivers awesome performance at a great price. The stiff fiberglass nylon outer sole directly transmits your power to the pedals and the micro-adjust buckle and dual offset straps keep your feet stable.
Price range: $140 Where to find it: www.shimano.com
Bell Sweep R helmet
Description: Enjoy the comfort and safety of this feathery road helmet. Twenty functional vents channel air over your head to keep you cool and Bell’s signature GPS Fit System ensures a proper, secure fit.
Price range: $169
Where to find it: www.ogc.ca
Rocky Mountain RC 70 city bike
Description: Commute to work or use the RC 70 to get out of the city. This hybrid road bike is super comfortable, stable and has disc brakes for awesome stopping power. Shimano components, comfortable ride position and triple chain rings will help you tackle any hill.
Price range: $1,599
Where to find it: www.simonsbikeshop.com