Things to Consider When Buying A Bike

Cycling is a great past time to get into. Not only is it a fantastic way of getting around, but it’s also incredibly good for you. More and more people are turning to cycling as their main mode of transport. It has seen significant growth in the last ten years as a hobby alone. That’s not to mention the amount of cycle to work schemes which have cropped up. It doesn’t take much to see that cycling is going from strength to strength. But what are some of the things you need to consider before you go out and buy yourself a new bike? If you feel that you are at a bit of a loss, here is a guide to what you need to think about. Read through this before you do anything else.

Mt hamilton road cyclist

The Right Type of Bike

Firstly, it is really important that you choose the right type of bike for the purpose you will be using it for. In other words, if you are an urban user, don’t get an all-terrain mountain bike! The type of bike you need to use varies hugely depending on where you live and what you will be using it for. If you plan to take it to somewhere very hilly, then you will need a bike with plenty of gears. However, if you are going to be riding solely on the road, then a three-gear bike will probably suffice.

The Accessories

It is likely that you will need one or two accessories as well. Some of these are absolutely basic, and some not so, but nonetheless are desirable. For example, a helmet would be a basic requirement for any bike user, along with mud flaps. However, there are also extras which you might like to consider purchasing. Something which people often overlook is insurance. The fact is, this is an important part of having a bike. Have a look at a bike insurance quote before you buy.

The Clothing

There is much debate within the cycling community regarding clothing. Some people maintain that it is necessary to wear certain clothing in order to ride a bike. However, most people would not agree with this viewpoint. While there are certain clothing trends within the cycling community, none of them are essential. Nonetheless, there are probably some things you might like to consider regarding clothing. The main thing to think about is the fact that you may be cycling in all forms of weather. It is probably wise to invest in a good set of waterproofs for this reason. There’s nothing worse than splashing through a puddle and being soaked!

By the same token, you may want to think about buying proper shoes for when you are cycling. Wearing the right shoes can make all the difference. Not only do they help to stop chafing when you use the pedals, but they also help protect against athlete’s foot. The main concern with clothing, however, is visibility. If you are planning to ride in low visibility, such as in the evening, then you need to ensure you are visible. For that reason, it may be wise to invest in reflective vests.

Image By Sweetnsourbkr at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Smoother Cycling in the Rain

Doing anything in the rain is not what the majority of people would call fun. Cycling in the rain definitely falls into this category, and in fact it can be quite dangerous. It can be unavoidable some of the time as well, so here are some tips on how to make it smoother.

cycling via commons wikimedia org

Spare Socks Stop Soaked Feet

Taking a spare pair of socks, which you can get from 99 Bikes, can stop your feet from getting completely soaked during your ride. Your feet are usually the first target of the rain, so it’s important to be prepared. Socks are also easy enough to change and store so it shouldn’t be a problem as space is limited when riding a bike. It will also stop that terrible noise and irritation when your feet get wet.

 

Riding through the Wetness

A common misconception when purchasing waterproof riding gear is that you will stay dry – unfortunately you won’t. It is nigh on impossible to stay dry when you are faced with water falling all over you from the heavens and this is a fact. Even if it is your own sweat whilst pushing the last ounce of energy out, it will find a way through your waterproofing, guaranteed.

 

Appearance is Key

During those onslaughts of rain, it can be quite hard for not only yourself – but for others as well – to see. So it is important to make yourself seen. There are a number of ways of doing this, whether it is purchasing a simple set of lights for your bike, to wearing some hi visibility gear or attaching a hi visibility flag to your bike they will all make sure you don’t become part of yet another accident on our roads.

 

Puddles Can Be Deceiving

We’ve all seen the videos on YouTube of the silly cyclist (or motorcyclist in some cases) who decides to take on the standing water on the road without avoiding it, slowing down or stopping to check its depth. The cyclist then ends up stacking their bike and ending up in said water. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by going around the standing water, slowing down or stopping and checking its depth. After all you don’t want to become the next internet sensation by doing the wrong thing, do you?

 

Follow the Signs

We all know the sign, slippery when wet, so why do we ignore it when it matters most? Just like motorists, it’s important for cyclists, too, to slow down when it’s wet and make sure they are braking earlier as well as turning less sharply than in normal conditions. Road markings are one of the more slippery parts of the road when wet, so it is best to avoid them as much as possible. You should also make sure your brakes are working well before you go out for a ride, and that’s in any conditions.

There are some valuable tips for riding in the rain that should make it a smoother experience for you and for others. Do you ride in the rain? Leave your tips for wet weather riding in the comments below.

 

Photo via commons.wikimedia.org

 

Can Cycling Reduce your Calorie Count?

Cycling is one of the best ways of getting exercise. It’s a fantastic way to boost cardiovascular fitness, increase endurance, and strengthen and tone your leg muscles. This is all great, and it’s stuff that benefits you all year round. I’m writing this just after Christmas though, so I have a slightly different priority right now – fighting the effects of all that seasonal excess. It’s pretty hard to watch what you eat at this time of year, so if you want to avoid starting 2014 a bit bigger than you were in 2013 the best solution is to get out there and burn off some calories. I’m planning to do that by cycling as usual, so how effective is it?

 

©Blue Jean Images/Corbis

The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you eat. For the average man that should be about 2,500kcal a day, or 2,000 for a woman. Unfortunately most of us tend to get through a few more than that, especially round Christmas. The recommended energy intake is based on what you’ll burn in a normal day, with some moderate walking around thrown in. Even 100kcal a day more than that and you’ll steadily pile on some extra layers, and most of us eat a lot more than that, so anything that burns off some extra is going to help. The best way to burn energy is through aerobic exercise, and that’s exactly what cycling is.

 

The key to a bike-based weight loss plan is to work out how many calories you actually eat then figure out how far above the recommended limit that is. If you sit at a desk all day add another hundred to what you want to burn; if you do heavy physical work knock a few off. The good news is that you’ll burn about 65 percent of the recommended daily intake even if you’re lying in bed, so the targets we’re looking at are pretty achievable. So now you know how many calories you need to burn every day; how much cycling is it going to take to manage it?

 

©Yew! Images/Corbis

I’ve always been pretty lucky with my metabolism. It’s a fast one and uses a lot of energy, so keeping my weight down is fairly easy if I don’t overdo the eating side of things. Some people get through calories more slowly. This makes it difficult to work out exactly how much energy you’re burning when you exercise, and a lot of other variables can affect it too. Your weight, the slopes you’re cycling on, your bike and even the air temperature will all affect how many calories you use up every minute you’re pedalling, so it’s hard to give more than a rough guide. Some exercise bikes will quote you a figure for how much energy you’re using but they’re not really very accurate. Even an approximate figure is usually enough to get you started though, and if you get the numbers wrong and burn more than you’d planned you’ll just lose weight faster so you still win.

 

The main thing that affects your energy consumption when cycling is your speed. The faster you go the more energy you need to keep that speed up, and the rate you burn calories goes up more steeply than the number on the speedo. For the average man cycling along at a leisurely 16 km/h will get through about 517kcal in an hour; for a woman it’s slightly lower at 444kcal. Get up to 20km/h and that rises to 862kcal for a woman, and if you enjoy racing and can keep up 30km/h for a while that’ll use around 1,034kcal for a man and 887kcal for a woman. These are pretty impressive numbers – even if you really overdid the turkey and fruit cake you can easily get back on the right side of the calorie curve by cycling 10km a day.

 

©beyond/Corbis

 

To get a better idea of how many calories you’ll burn yourself, look for an online calculator that lets you input your weight; this still won’t be exact, because there are too many unknowns, but it won’t be too far off and certainly close enough for you to sort out your exercise plan. And of course the great thing about cycling is it’s so flexible; if you’re out on the trail and decide you have some energy to spare you can go a bit further or up the speed. Don’t try any shortcuts though – wearing a waterproof jacket on a hot day to make you sweat more won’t help you lose weight any quicker, for example. You can’t sweat out fat; you need to burn it. What you’re sweating is water, and if you lose too much you risk dehydration or even heatstroke. Just stick to whatever sort of cycling you enjoy and you’ll be fine.

 

Michael Carlisle is the Technology & Marketing Media Manager of Pushys Online – Michael has taken Pushys to great strengths across the online, ecommerce world. Pushys offer a huge range of Bikes and Accessories and very competitive pricing. Find out more at www.pushys.com.au and follow Michael on Google+ and Linked In