by Coach Todd Lawless
The old saying “it’s as easy as riding a bike” is somewhat of a misnomer when it comes to endurance events. Similar to the way endurance running is much more structured than simply running around a playground, effective cyclists follow good form, do targeted strength training, and make sure they have a bike that fits them properly. So where should you start? Most new triathletes start their careers by dusting off the bike that has been hiding in the garage for a few winters. Before you hop on that bike for a long ride there are a couple of things you should do to make sure you’re going to have am enjoyable experience
Proper bike fit is one of the most important aspects of endurance cycling. There are a number of sizes of bike frames, seat heights, handlebar widths, etc. that need to be selected and configured to match your body. All bikes are able to be adjusted to accommodate a wide range of body styles and sizes but not every bike CAN fit every person. A good bike fit can make the difference between a perfectly comfortable ride and some unfortunate pain. If you have ANY pain during or after a long bike ride it can most often be traced back to improper fit! When getting your bike fit by a local shop make sure the fitter is certified to make sure you’re working with someone who has been trained!
You don’t want to be barreling down your first hill only to find out your brakes don’t work right? It’s a good idea to have a local bike mechanic take a look at your critical systems to make sure you’ll be safe. Tires, wheels, brakes, helmet, and drive train are the important parts to inspect for defects or excessive wear. If you don’t remember when you last purchased a bike helmet….you’ll need a new one. The safety material in a helmet breaks down after about 3-5 years so even though you haven’t fallen your helmet may not be protecting you!
We will be covering bicycle fitting and safety in much greater detail at our next clinic. Please join Coach Todd Lawless at Fleet Feet on September 27th @ 6:00 PM for “Introduction to the Sport of Triathlon Clinic #2: All about the BIKE!” If you have specific questions about a discipline or triathlons in general please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the trails!