Cycling is one of the fastest ways to achieve cardiovascular fitness. Even if you haven’t been on a bike for years, the cliché holds true — bicycling is a skill you never forget.
Don’t worry if you haven’t been on a two-wheeler since childhood. Just hop on a bike and go slowly till you get the hang of it — it’ll soon come back to you. If you want, you can boost your confidence and fitness level by starting out on a stationary bicycle, which lets you get used to the seat and strengthen your quads and cardiovascular system without worrying about road hazards or balance.
You may also want to take a lesson with a trainer or attend a clinic offered by a bike shop, especially if you’ve never been on a bike before. You’ll learn how to sit properly and care for your bike. One warning: Sitting too far forward for too long may compress nerves and blood vessels and eventually lead to sexual problems, especially impotence in men. A professional can evaluate and correct your posture; specially designed or padded seats may also help. If you notice any tingling or groin pain, stop and see your doctor.
If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one from a bike shop, or buy a used bike. If you buy a new one, make sure the dealer helps you select the right bike for your body type. You don’t want to be stuck 20 miles from home with a flat tire and no idea how to fix it.
- Allen wrench – An L-shaped hexagonal metal bar that fits into the head of certain kinds of screws. It’s a necessary part of any bike tool kit.
- Cadence – Pedal rotations per minute. A high cadence means you’re going really fast.
- Drafting – Riding very closely behind another cyclist to reduce wind drag.
- Fork – The metal arms holding the front wheel in place.
- Panniers – A pair of baskets that fits over the back of your bike — handy for carrying groceries and gear.