(This June I will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 7-day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funding for HIV and AIDS research. Read about my training and fund raising progress below.)
Currently I have a 7-speed Miyata hybrid that I adopted from a good friend who moved to Colorado--which is a really dependable bike but after this weekend's hilly trip, just doesn't cut the mustard. Before I even signed up for the ALC ride, I didn't know what kind of bikes were what. Brand names fused together for me, I couldn't tell you a thing about bike parts or their components and certainly didn't know how to ride one. Well, I know how to ride a bike but didn't know really how to ride one (there's a lot more to the posturing than I knew).
I'm still no expert but I have come a long way from where I was. And now I'm looking for the right bike for me. For other beginner cyclist, here's a quick lesson on road bikes (and their offspring) lifted from Wikipedia:
Compared to other styles of bicycles, road bicycles share common features, such as their tires are narrow and smooth to decrease rolling resistance and are often quite lightweight. The term road bicycle can also describe any type of bike used primarily on paved roads, in contrast to bikes primarily intended for off-road use, such as mountain bikes. Several variations of road bikes include:
- Hybrid bicycles, designed for a variety of recreational and utility purposes. While primarily intended for use on pavement, they may also be used on relatively smooth unpaved paths or trails.
- Utility bicycles, designed for utility cycling and are a traditional bicycle for commuting, shopping and running errands in towns and cities (Roadster is a specific form of the utility bicycle developed in the UK).
- Recumbent bicycles, designed for variety of recreational and utility purposes, but are characterized by the reclined riding position in which the cyclist is seated.
- Vintage road bicycles, also known as classic lightweight bicycles, are generally older bicycles with frames which are manufactured using steel tubing and lugs.
If you are looking to buy a road bike I highly suggest you do your research. Visit bike shops, talk to cyclists, go for a few test rides and find out what kind of bike you like best. Pay special attention to your measurements (inseam and reach of arms) to see that you are riding the right size bike for you. Just think of that episode of Oprah (R.I.P.) where she had a boob expert come on and tell all these audience women that they've been wearing the wrong bra size for most of their lives (because they never got properly measured). Don't be that person. If you're thinking about riding with any regularity, remember, fit is important and separates the hobby cyclist from the moderately to avid cyclist. Measure your legs, your arms and your boobs (just to be safe).
In training news, in addition to the weekly ride and two spinning classes, I'm doing a class called "Guts N' Butts" which targets and works just what you might think from the title.