In Part 2 of our series, the First Level of Serious, we pick up where we left off in last installment of the In-Tune Guitar Academy. Part 1 was an overall guide to investing in gear and sundry equipment for activities that you are passionate about, whether they be hobbies or sideline ventures. In this episode, our guest, Mike Drolet, an Olympic-class mountain bike race commissionaire (judge), gives expert advice on equipping yourself for serious cycling.
Mike has been heavily into cycling for several years and as soon he starts talking about cycling, you will immediately see that he is very knowledgeable and passionate about this topic. In this video, he freely offers very valuable insights into investing into equipment and gear, if you are serious about cycling. His advice will help make cycling more enjoyable and safer for you, and at the same time, will help you reach your progress as a cyclist more quickly and efficiently.
Cycling is a wonderful sport and a great pastime. It allows you to see new sights and to experience familiar sights from a new perspective. It’s low impact so if you’re looking for a safe way to improve your physical fitness and to get out in the fresh air with less risk of soft tissue injuries, cycling is an activity worth considering. The biggest danger with cycling is riding in traffic and that’s why defensive riding is extremely important. We spend quite a lot of time on safety in our video as it is a very important consideration.
Choosing a good quality helmet that properly fits is your most important safety consideration. Mike talks about the latest developments in cycle helmet technology, including something called MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), which has been designed for maximum protection against debilitating or fatal head injuries. It’s a standard for helmets in other sports helmets as well. https://mipsprotection.com/about-mips/
We also talk about cycle clothing and LED lights for your bicycle, both of which make a cyclist much more visible to oncoming traffic. Visibility if a very important aspect of cycling safety, especially road biking. Making yourself visible to other vehicles, that are traveling at much greater speeds than you will be while riding your bike, is critically important. It only takes a split second to get into an accident that could lead to very serious injury or even death.
Choosing the right size bike is also very important, as is choosing properly fitting clothing and a properly fitted helmet. That’s why going to your Local Bike Shop, or LBS as Mike calls it, is highly recommended. Dealing with experts who are trained and experienced at outfitting their customers, will you to maximize the value of your investment by helping you choose the possible bicycle and sundry equipment. Again, the point is to make your cycling as enjoyable and safe as possible.
Look them up online, there are plenty around. And as always, Google reviews or other online consumer rating systems will help you choose a reputable shop. I am fortunate to be living in Ottawa, Canada because our city is mad for cycling and there are several good bike shops to choose from. I took a tour of a few of their websites, and one, Rebec & Kroes, even has an online sizing feature that helps you decide, based on your height, which size bike you should consider. Of course, I am not going to rely just on that to make a buying decision, but it’s a good start and helps point me in the right direction. Doing some prior research to educate yourself always helps to make better buying decisions, in cycling and for anything else you plan on spending considerable amounts of money on.
Cycling Canada has a pretty interesting website but limited in usefulness for guiding your buying decisions. Home Page | Cycling Canada Cyclisme.
Manufacturer’s websites are always a great source of information for just about any field of endeavour, including cycling. Some of the top bicycle manufacturers to consider are:
Norco, Home | Norco
Diamondback, Giant, Specialized, and the venerable old classic, Raleigh Bikes are other companies that are also worth researching online. There are many others of course, but these are a few for you to check out. The brand of bike that I’ve had for a little over 5 years, is GT Bicycle, GT Bicycles / Bikes & Bicycle Parts / BMX Bikes & Mountain Bikes
Mine is a hybrid, which GT describes as a “Road Fitness” bike. I like it. It handles well and is quite comfortable to ride. Would I like to upgrade? Seeing all these great new bikes with a host of modern features, I have to say I’m quite tempted but, in my world, money definitely is an object. I spent about $500 for it 2016 and I must say, it has performed and held up well over the years I’ve owned it.
USA Cycling has a wonderful guide on equipping yourself for riding, with several past articles to help guide you: https://usacycling.org/encyclingpedia
There are thousands of other resources available online as well. The point is, doing a little prior research will help you make better buying decisions, which will help you enjoy cycling more and will help you stick with it. Mike’s point is very valid in my opinion: spending a little more up front as investment into your betterment, is a worthwhile expenditure.
To check out part 1 of this series, please follow this link: