Get to know your cycling gear

Get to know your cycling gear
Being the cycling expert at Adventure HQ, here are a few tips on how to choose the right biking essentials
 Cycling shoes
  • The stiff soles and mechanical connection to the pedals improve comfort and efficiency
  • Cycling shoes with cleats are for road and racing while shoes with a cleat recess is available if you want to walk in them
  • Road cycling shoes are available with a nylon and carbon sole with Carbon being the superior shoe due to the stiffness of the sole
  • Nylon sole cycling shoes do flex a lot and this does waste a lot of power being transferred to the pedals.
  • Very important when purchasing a pair of Cycling shoes is to try them on and sit for a few minutes to see how your foot adapts to the shoe. Check to see if the inner sole can be removed as you will often have to purchase a different inner sole to fit your foot type. Riders with a wide foot need to look at a brand specific shoe that caters for wide feet IE Lake. The shoe needs to fit tight without any discomfort.

Clipless pedals

  • Clipless pedals are among the most significant bicycle innovations ever. Borrowed from skiing technology allowing the rider to clip into his pedal providing a better foot to pedal combination.
  • Various brands available with Shimano and Look being the most popular
  • Material used for pedals range from Aluminum, Titanium as well as Carbon
  • Pedal cleats are available with a various amount of float (Foot can move in pedal) therefore allowing the rider to find his optimal pedaling stroke and feel
  • Pedals have a spring tension adjustment for beginners and a more advanced blade type system for more advanced riders
  • Price point is a factor as cheaper pedals will be heavier

Helmet

  • Ensure you helmet meets the required safety standards
  • Try on the helmet making sure it fits your head correctly as a helmet that does not fit correctly could not save your life when needed
  • Ensure your helmet has adequate air vents especially as the UAE has an extremely hot summer and all the cooling available is vital
  • You only have one head so purchasing the cheapest helmet available is not a good option. Remember if you do happen to have an accident and land on your head you must replace the helmet
  • Some helmets are available with the option of a peak depending what sort of riding you will be doing.

Cycling Shorts

  • Cycling shorts reduce pressure points and prevent chafing
  • protecting the skin (UV rays, chafing etc.) and maintaining your body’s natural temperature. Ensure you purchase the best pair of Cycling shorts you can afford with an anti bacterial chamois.
  • Bib shorts are highly recommended as these do not fall down causing discomfort
  • Cycling Bib shorts and normal Cycling shorts have a different cut as they are often based on European Sizes so ensure you try them on before purchasing
  • Never wear underwear under your cycling shorts this will cause great discomfort and possible chafing

Cycling Jersey

  • Durable material as well as breathable is very important
  • Purchase a jersey that has a long Zip this allows for added cooling
  • The same applies for cycling jerseys as well as cycling shorts try and purchase the best you can afford as an inferior cycling jersey can cause a great amount of discomfort
  • Most jerseys are made of some sort of synthetic fabric that is designed to quickly carry sweat away from your skin so it can evaporate from the outside of the jersey

Ensure you try on the jersey prior to purchase to ensure a comfortable fit

 Cycling socks

  • Cycling socks are thin and fit closely because bike shoes fit snugly.
  • Avoid wearing a thick sock as this will cause discomfort
  • Ensure the sock is your size as a bigger sock will start bunching up causing added sweating and discomfort
  • Length is important as a short sock can creep down whereas a longer sock can add to a greater comfort level.
  • Compression socks to be used on recovery as a longer ride could hamper blood flow

Comfort saddles or covers

  • Everyone’s body geometry is different so finding the right saddle is vital to avoid discomfort
  • Men and ladies’ saddles do differ so ensure to purchase the correct one. The correct width is very important when purchasing a saddle
  • Saddle Gel covers are available for the recreational rider but not advised for someone doing longer rides as the saddle cover does shift at times.

Bicycle frame and composition

  • Three main types of material used Steel, Aluminum and Carbon
  • Steel was used up to the late 90’s as it was light and very stiff which is important when it comes to making a responsive race bike. Aluminum followed steel as it made the bike lighter but did sacrifice stiffness. Carbon proved to be the lightest and stiffest but also became a cost factor. Brand manufacturers have managed to make great quality carbon frames these days which makes them affordable for the average individual
  • Titanium is used in customized bikes but does come with a heavy price point.
  • Aluminum would be the most popular choice for the beginner as it does prove to be the best of both worlds these days. Aluminum production frames have improved a great deal since the early days.

Saddle bags and pumps

  • A good quality saddle bag is important allowing you to carry what you need in case you have a puncture. Ensure the saddle bag is big enough for your requirements
  • Ensure the saddle bag can secure correctly to your bike without flapping around. Also ensure the saddle bag is waterproof. Some saddle bags do have space to carry a mobile, but I would rather advise a correct mobile holder for this
  • Ensure you purchase a good quality mini pump as this is vital in case of a puncture during the ride. Ensue the pump has an aluminum barrel and is user friendly
  • Make sure your mini pump fits your required valve type IE Presta or Schrader.

What if I do not have the right equipment?

  • Chafing due to no cycle shorts as well as discomfort
  • Overheating due to not wearing the correct cycling jersey
  • Blisters due to incorrect shoes
  • Pins and needles due to incorrect saddle as well as shoes.
  • Swollen feet due to incorrect socks
  • Back pain due to wrong size bike or incorrect bike set up
  • Stranded due to no equipment to repair puncture
  • Dehydration due to no water bottles
  • Fatigue due to no nutrition i.e Gels, hydration tabs
  • Severe head injuries due to no helmet or incorrect helmet
  • Possibility of sunburn if no sunscreen
  • Lack of Temperature insulation which makes you vulnerable to Cold / Hot weather conditions

TIPS

  • Ensure you purchase your bike through a reputable dealer not only do you get good honest service, but you also need to consider after sales service and repairs.
  • Ensure your bike is regularly serviced as a bike that is not maintained will fail you in the long run
  • An adequate bike fit will ensure trouble free riding
  • Pre ride inspections before each ride especially checking your brakes and tires. Ensure to inflate the tires to the correct psi before each ride.
Barney Charles Simpson is the bike expert in Adventure HQ.Contact Barney for any questions related to your biking needs at 800 23847(ADVHQ).