It really comes as a shock to me when I hear triathletes say that don’t love cycling. Of all the disciplines, I’m probably the strongest in the swim, have learned to love my run training, but biking makes me happiest. There’s a freedom that I’ve tried to capture in posts before but the ability to travel further and spend more time outside that cycling gives me wins my heart every time.
Many adults probably have memories of biking as a child and whether the memories positive or negative probably translates into how they feel about biking as an adult. And chances are that if you are not actively cycling as an adult, the world of cycling can also feel fairly foreign. Couple that with the fact that in triathlon, cycling definitely is the most expensive discipline from a ‘gear’ perspective and many fear that you need something fancy to compete. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot to get started and you can let your future love for the sport dictate when you need to upgrade your ride.
For starters, any bike can be used in a triathlon with a few safety requirements (like plugs on the end of your handlebars). You can ride a mountain bike, a hybrid, a fixie, a cruiser, a road bike, a tri or TT bike. It really doesn’t matter. Of course there are advantages to lighter bikes without knobby tires but to just compete, I say, use what you’ve got.
You’ll also need a helmet and maybe a water bottle cage but that’s about it. No fancy pedals or computers- bike in your running shoes if you want and use your smartphone with an app like map my ride to track your progress. It’s really about starting where you are and just riding your bike.
So now you are ready to ride, but where? No matter where you live, if there’s a bike shop nearby, there are probably group rides. Believe me, I have been plenty intimidated to join a group ride. Most of the time, it’s a great resource for knowledgeable bike technicians and bike enthusiasts and they will often have classes of rides like A, B or C with distances and speeds that you can match with your current ability. Joining a group will also put you in touch with other cyclists like you who might end up being great training partners.
No bike shop or can’t make a ride? Find one of the awesome Rails to Trails locations near you, bring your kids or spouse or friends and go for a ride.
Here in the Northeast, the foliage is perfect and the weather hasn’t turned too cold yet so hurry up- get out there. Feel the wind in your face and hear the rustle of the leaves. I dare you to not enjoy the ride!