Sunday, 5 March 2017

Type of The Cyclist

Finding The Right Ride For You...

The Recreational Rider

You don't want to compete and losing a few kilograms might be a bonus, but you’re attracted to bicycling as an experience. Maybe you’d like to explore the world around you a little more closely, or find a way to spend time with friends on two wheels. If these characteristics sum up your cycling attitude, then recreational riding is a great fit for you.

Whether solo or in a group, this riding is all about the experience, recapturing the joys of childhood, and taking stock of the world rolling by. Recreational riding is recess on a road bike. Many riders of all stripes start by riding solo. These riders find that they prefer to pedal along on their own, keeping their personal pace and timeline and enjoying the quiet time. 

Bicycle touring is one of the most revered types of recreational riding by all types of riders. Road touring involves picking a point-to-point destination or a loop of roads, which you’ll cover over a series of days. Most touring guides suggest that the best way to tour is to focus on the recreational aspect, stop often to eat, and explore the land you’re journeying through.

Commuting and everyday riding are the last kinds of recreational riding. You might question how commuting could be considered a “recreation.” If you have the ability to cycle to work—meaning the stars align so that you live close enough to ride to work and you either have a job you can wear commuter gear to or your place of work offers facilities for you to clean up and change—it’s one of the best ways to beat stress, get active, strengthen your immune system, get your brain revved up in the morning, and wind down on the way home. Other than that, many riders come to find that getting to work by bicycle actually saves time off their commute, negates their gym membership, and leaves them happier and more productive on the job.

Everyday riding is similar to commuting but a good choice for individuals who don’t have riding to work as an option. It’s defined by accomplishing daily tasks, entertainment, and errands on two wheels. Your road bike can be a wonderful way to get to the library, grocery store, coffee shop, happy hour, or movie theater. You can even buy a trailer to cart your kids to school or to the park.

The Fitness Cyclist

You look at a bike and you see a way to test your body, your heart pumping, and maybe lose a weight. You’re not looking to race anybody. You mostly want to spend time in the saddle getting fit and healthy, setting up personal goals and knocking them down. 

Many people come to cycling as a way to make themselves healthier without the embarrassment or competition of other sports. You can head out on the road solo, or with a few supportive buddies. It’s a common occurrence in bike shops that someone who has never been “fit,” “athletic,” or a participant in any sports outside of high school physical education walks in and buys a road bike. 

While cycling, the heart rate will be at a perceived exertion of somewhat hard to hard. If you’ve already got a solid athletic base, your first ride will be longer than if you’re starting out fresh. Fitness riding is defined by the amount of time spent on the bike combined with the effort at which you’re riding. Usually this type of rider will spend a minimum of an hour riding, working up to an average of an hour-and-a-half to more than 3 hours per ride, between 2 and 5 days a week. This can be quite a time commitment, but it’s also a great excuse to get away from the of our chaotic, plugged-in lives. 

Actual mileage will depend a lot on how fit you are, and even then how fast you are. Terrain and weather conditions will make a difference, too. A flat route might seem easier than a hilly one, but flat routes are also typically windier and not necessarily faster. In any case, most cyclists like to mix up their terrain.

The Racing Cyclist

You've watched the pros from afar and now you're inspired to test your limits. Fitness riding seems a little too unstructured for your goals. You’re ready to pin on your race number and head for the start line. If you’re a road racer, it’s likely that you already know it.

There is something very enticing about speed. The wind in your face, the burning lungs, the thrill of pushing corners with just over 2 centimeters of rubber between you and the road—in the sport of cycle racing, that velocity is mostly dependent on your strength, fearlessness, and cunning. How quickly you go up, how much risk you take to be the first one down the hill, how wisely you use the energy of the riders around you—and possibly your team—to conserve energy all make a difference in a race situation.

Due to the time commitment, it can quickly become both a lifestyle and an identity. People who are new to cycling but attracted to racing tend to have an athletic background. However, you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy the sport. All you really need is a competitive streak. If you’re not convinced this is your forte, be aware there are a variety of types of racing on the road. Regardless of the type of race, you’ll be training. This looks similar to fitness riding, but your time on the bike will be much more regimented to optimize your race results.

In this sport, even races are a part of your training for the big performance of the season. Racing bicycles is not an activity that you’ll do from home. After all that time training on the road, you may have to drive significant distances to get to the races. Beyond time, there’s also an added financial investment. You’ll need to buy an annual state or national racing license and entry fee for each race. Because it’s dictated by a calendar, road racing is both seasonal and cyclical. Depending on the weather where you live, there will be a season that racers rest and recover, a pre-race season training, and sometimes a long (more than 6 months) race season. 

Big Book Of Cycling for Beginners

Ride On!

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