Cycling for many women can be a stress relief from all the challenges and struggles of the office and home. That’s just life and we all need a healthy outlet to blow off some steam. Road cycling can be so exciting for women because it makes us feel as though we are getting our bodies and minds toned up, and we really are! it’s just an amazing feeling to say the least! There’s more to it then jumping on your bicycle and heading down the highway, there are specific elements that you will need to take into consideration before you head into the world of road cycling. At times, it can be quite dangerous if you’re not skilled enough to handle your section of the road, so with that being said, we are going to be taking a look at a beginner’s guide to road cycling!
Always Protect Your Head
I cannot stress this enough! You should always protect your head when you’re out on the highway riding. Why? Well, you will be sharing the road with motorcars and if there is a crash, by wearing a helmet could very well save your life! Keep in mind that head injuries are the cause of 60 % of all cycling deaths in The United State every single year. Many of these deaths could be evaded if everyone wore a helmet while cycling. Always wear a helmet when riding and make sure your kids do, too. Many states have bike helmet laws, but you should always wear one even if your state says that you don’t have to.
In Extended Periods of Time, Don’t Pedal in High Gears
As a rider, it’s so important to always protect your knees, since your knees are constantly working as you pedal your bicycle. It’s vital that you try and keep your rhythm between 70 and 90 rpm’s. When you pedal in a high gear it puts added strain on your knees. You must remember that a person only gets one set of everything that their bodies consist of and when the knees begin to go out, that will place added strain on your legs and back, making it more difficult to ride; almost feeling like a chore to ride. As a woman, you want to ride to get rid of the stress in your life, so make sure that you never overdo it, even if you feel like it!
Always Use Your Gears
Why are there so many gears to a bicycle and why would people need to switch into them at different moments of cycling? That’s a great question! Well, let me just inform you that when climbing hills, you need to shift into a gear that will keep your cadence in the right range of rpm’s, so you can make it up the hill without putting excessive stress upon your knees. Once again, it’s all about protecting yourself as a rider. Anytime you are going up a large hill, please make sure that you always change your gears, so it will not wear down the muscles surrounding your knees.
Getting the Right Bike Fit
What I would personally recommend you doing is going to a local bicycle shop and have them custom make your bicycle. That way, it’s a perfect fit only for your body and that will increase your chances of success and comfort while you ride. By having your bike set up to fit your body, it will make riding much easier, more efficient and cause you much less pain and soreness during and after the ride. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Road cycling is a serious activity and if you’re not properly fit with the right gear, it literally could be a matter of life and death.
Obtain the Right Saddle
Getting the right saddle will make a huge difference when riding. Don’t think the thickest padding will give you the most comfortable ride. A longer seat with a cutout will commonly be the best type of saddle. Read reviews online and find out what others like, then test ride a few. The type of saddle that you have is going to determine what kind of rider you are. I mean, after all, you are sitting down on this saddle, pedaling and your saddle needs to be of divine comfort, not too low or high. Once again, this would be a perfect issue to take up with your local bike shop during the customization process.
Changing Positions While Riding
It’s important to not get numb while riding, so that’s why we recommend you move around a bit on the bike while you ride. Move your hands around on the bars, and move your rear end around on the saddle. This will keep your hands, arms, and rear from getting numb due to protracted time in a given position. You don’t want to become too stagnate while you ride, almost appearing as a robot and believe me, not only will you look too stiff to other riders, but your body will pay for it after the ride.
Do Not Ride with Headphones On
As much fun and relaxing as this can be, please try and refrain from wearing headphone while you are on your ride. There could be emergency vehicles trying to pass you, car horns alerting you of various forms of danger and so on. It can be extremely hazardous if you don’t hear an emergency vehicle or other commotions behind you or off to the side. If you must have your music playing, get a small clip-on radio with a speaker that you can attach to your clothing.
Knowing the Rules of The Highway
Make sure that you are aware with all the signs and signals of the highway in which you are riding with because unbelievably, you as a cyclist are looked at and treated just as if you were driving a motorcar. You must be knowledgeable of how to properly navigate throughout your surroundings. Ride with traffic and obey all road signs. Closely watch all cars in front of you so you can try to anticipate what they are going to do.
Always Keep Your Head Up
Never text and ride and I mean that! As a female cyclist, it’s very substantial that you always keep your head up, watching out for sticks, rocks, or anything else in your path that could trip up a skinny bicycle tire. Look out in front far enough so you can react to any difficulties in the road or on the shoulder in front of you. Things like storm drain grates are very bad for skinny road bike tires, as well small animals running out in front of you.