Women and Biking
When women think of biking we often think of being uncomfortable in the saddle while we endure the trial of keeping up with our kids or partners on trails and hills. Many of us grew up riding hand me down bikes that didn’t fit well and probably had not been maintained or even had adequate air in the tires. Biking was not a pleasant experience.
Bikes have changed and biking is a great way to get outdoors! In Minnesota we are blessed with a multitude of bike trails that circle our lakes and neighborhoods as well as take us across the state in all directions. In close proximity to most communities we can ride single track mountain bike trails, packed trails on old railroad right of ways and miles of paved trails. Possibilities are endless and it’s time to get outside!
I would encourage you to go and visit your local bike shop. Work with an experienced sales person to identify the biking you would like to do and then ride some bikes. You’ll find everything from mountain bikes to cross bikes to road bikes and many hybrids in between to try. Biking is not limited to road bikes with skinny tires and drop down handlebars. When you go, wear comfortable clothing and good footwear – a hard soled shoe is better for biking. If you have bike shorts, wear them! (That’s part of the secret of being comfortable on your bike seat!) Make sure the seat height and position are set for you and then ride the bikes outside for several blocks to get a good feeling for the bike. If you are a smaller women consider riding a bike by Terry, designed and framed specifically for you.
Once you’ve found the perfect bike learn how to take care of it. Attend a basic maintenance class; you want to know how to change a flat, clean your bike after a ride, maintain proper tire pressure and cable adjustments. Look for a biking class to be learn more about being an efficient rider, it’s not all about pushing the pedal down. Clipless pedals, a scary thought I know, will help you maintain a cadence and work the pedal all the way around. Don’t forget to use a bike computer so you can keep track of how far and how fast you ride.
Like anything else you’ll ride more often if you have a riding partner. Check out the bike clubs in your area. Local Bike shops may have a group or be willing to help you form one. Group rides most often include a “no drop” rule. It’s not a race, it’s about enjoying the ride and you won’t be left on your own to finish the route. Along with your extra tube and snack bar include a local bike map in your seat bag and try different trails often.
Biking is great exercise and good for the earth. Leave that car at home and get outdoors under pedal power!