Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Common mistakes made by women new to cycling
I have been helping women and older folks get into the sport of cycling for awhile. After 4 years, I have noticed a few common problems that usually help to derail a lady or an older cyclist.
The energetic enthusiastic lady shows up for one of my newbie rides. She comes on a heavy huge cross bike or mountain bike. She has on street clothes and a soft sneaker. She has one small water bottle, usually one bought in a convenience store and she usually loses it when she hits her first bump as these bottles are too small for bike water bottle cages.
What is wrong with this picture and why is it bad to use a cross bike or mountain bike for road riding?
1. the bike is too heavy, climbing hills is impossible, coasting is also impaired
2. you end up working 3 times harder than the lady on a nice road bike
3. most likely the bike does not fit you either
4. biking in street clothes and soft shoes means a sore bum and sore feet
SO what happens after your first ride. YOU QUIT!
So why is it that women especially end up on the wrong bike??
Most women cannot see themselves as an athlete and think the road bike is for racers. Bike shops see a lady or senior citizen and think, "this person is never going to do any serious biking, might as well sell him/her a cross bike."
Women and older folks think they are safer on the big heavy bike.
They do not want to spend the money needed to buy a good bike, so they waste $500 on a cross bike that they will never use.
Road bikes look scary to the older cyclist and to women. The thought of clipping in to the pedals sends shivers up their spines.
I often bike on the Schuylkill River trail and see many many many women and senior citizens on big heavy awful bikes. No wonder they can only go 3-5 miles. They are exhausted.
Biking is probably one the best activities for women and seniors. With the right equipment, you can easy hit the roads and do a nice 1-2 hr ride. Not only will you feel better, you will improve your fitness level quickly.
Several short rides per week and one longer ride is all it takes. There is no special science to biking. No training necessary.
Simply bike. Get a good road bike and bike well into retirement. BUT GET THE RIGHT BIKE!