Starting Thursday, California will be hosting one of the biggest road cycling events in the world.
The Amgen Tour of California is an eight-day, 779-mile ride starting at Lake Tahoe for the women’s races and Sacramento for the men. The race will end in Sacramento for the women’s race on Sunday and all the way down in Pasadena for the men’s race next Saturday.
With so many professional riders and teams racing in the event, it’s the big tune-up before the Tour de France, but what if you are interested in cycling? Other than just watching the event on television or in person, maybe you have thought about getting into the sport, and why not?
According to a publication from the Harvard Medical School, cycling can build muscle, increase bone density and provide better cardiovascular health.
Though with so many bikes and equipment to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming, but here are some of the things every beginning cyclist should have:
A bicycle, but not just any bicycle…
Before even considering to get into the cycling world, it should be worth knowing that bikes aren't necessarily cheap. Just for a standard road bicycle, you can expect to spend around $1,200. Though it might seem like a big amount, bikes are built well to last and as you get more involved in the sport, you can upgrade.
When it comes to the rules of the road, be sure to keep yourself safe and protect your head! Helmets are a must and while you might get talked into buying one of the top-notch models for $250, you can get a much cheaper and just as effective one for about $40. The only difference between the two is that the more expensive helmets cut less weight and are more aerodynamic. Also take note that if you do hit your head once with a helmet on, you will probably need to replace the helmet.
A Decent Jersey and Shorts
Having high-quality cycling clothing is different from your standard outfit. Jerseys are very helpful for keeping you cool and comfortable while your cycling through the wind. Make sure that when you get your jersey that it is tight, if will make you more aerodynamic and prevent wind drag.
For shorts, they will provide comfort for your long rides on a probably un-comfy bike seat. Be sure to grab bib shorts! For a decent pair of shorts, expect to spend around $60 and about $30 for a jersey.
To avoid road vibration after long rides and protect your hands if you take a fall, gloves are a must. You can usually find a great pair for around the $10-$20 range. Make sure though that your gloves fit well, work well and are minimal.
Flat Repair and Multi-Tool Kits
Just like a car, your bike tire might get a flat. It happens to everyone, but it’s essential to be prepared with a kit that has an extra tube, patch kit, tire levers and a pump. This kit will save you for when you get stuck on the side of a road. For your bicycle, you might also need to adjust your seat and brakes. Multi-tools are super small and helpful for adjusting those issues on your bike. For these tools, you should expect to spend around $50.
In the chance you have a crash, a road ID will be very important for offering the immediate help. More than just being a fashion statement to wear, this ID will offer other cyclists, who probably don’t know who you are or your contacts, or emergency responders with your important emergency contact information. In the world of cycling, crashes are bound to happen and if you’re unconscious, have a concussion or anything worse, a road ID will save your life. Plus, they are relatively cheap at about $20.
And always carry a water bottle in a proper and fitted cage! It will be important to stay hydrated during your ride! You can get a water bottle cage pretty cheap at about $4.