Third: Comfortable!  Let’s focus on your comfort for a minute. You will need a few things to be comfortable and to enjoy your bike ride. If you are not enjoying it, you won’t be doing it very often! You need comfortable and safe clothing. Please do not wear a bulky jacket or shirt that will billow out like a sail and tend to force you to go every which way but in the way you want to go! Occasionally, you see folks wearing a bulky jacket. They are being pushing around by the wind, and are struggling big time to make any progress at all, down the road. You are not sailing a boat; you are peddling a bicycle for fun and fitness.  Also, if you start with a bulky jacket, it will become uncomfortably warm very quickly as you exercise.  Start wearing your thin layers, appropriate for your weather that day, and very quickly you will warm up and be comfortable!

 

Please buy bike shorts with a padded crotch and a jersey with pockets in back from a bike shop or by mail order. Bike shops are the best source of bike clothes because they offer endless free advice and the chance to see and in most cases try on the merchandise before you buy. You might get a small discount from mail order but they certainly do not offer the personalized service that your local bike shop does. If the weather is cool, buy a biking jacket from the shop, perhaps a discontinued one if your budget is tight. The jacket will be form fitting, but not tight, wind resistant and water resistant but will breathe so you don’t create an unbearable sauna and sweat to exhaustion.

 

Be sure and have a clean bottle full of fresh water in your water bottle cage and keep hydrated, that is, drink some before you become totally dehydrated. Eat what you like before the ride and carry a convenient snack like an energy bar in a back pocket. Now you are energized, you feel good, look good, and your bike sings. Let’s go riding.

 

Fourth, Planning!  Think about your route and the time you have for your ride before you depart, and make adjustments accordingly. Preferable pick a time when vehicle traffic on the road is minimal, such as 9am or even earlier on Saturday or Sunday morning. That is time when you see lots of bikers out and racing teams training. Riders who ride a lot pick the best times and places to ride, and so should you.

Of course, riding 20 minutes every day is better for you than riding 6 hours once a month, but your busy schedule or inclement weather probably are dominant factors as to when you can ride.

 

Your local bike shop, once again, is a fountain of information about good bike roads in your area. They offer ride guides, ride announcements, and often function as a place for riders to congregate, meet each other and start rides from. On your ride, when you see other riders stopped for water or taking a break along the way, stop and say hi and be friendly. Ask about their recommendation for routes, and advice on anything. Sometimes you will find they bought their bike at a bike shop you never heard of, one that is a great new source for you.

 

Fifth, make your riding a regular activity. While you may not have time for longer weekend rides, you can always pull out your bike after work, weather and daylight permitting, and ride one of your favorite routes for about an hour.

 

One hour after work three times a week is ideal. You will continually get fitter, breath easier, walk easier, sleep better. When you bike, you are doing ideal aerobic exercise. Your heart pumps fast and irrigates every part of your body with fresh blood. Every organ, especially your brain, gets rinsed with fresh blood. Waste products are carried away, and nutrition-rich blood goes into every cell, renewing your body, helping it function better. Everything you do, from work to sex is better when you are fit and healthy.