About a decade ago, I started road riding. Over the years, I’ve upgraded bikes twice, participated in various biking events, and started riding with a group. Each time I get on my bike I think of all the tips I’ve gathered over the years and how they have shaped me into the cyclist I am today. So, I’m here to share with you some of the things I’ve learned, both the hard way, and the easy way.
1. Pump it up. Your tires, that is.
This was a lesson learned the hard way. The very first Trek Across Maine that I ever participated in, I had no idea what I was doing. I was on an old cyclocross bike with little knobby tires and not nearly enough gears for my liking. I was trudging myself up a hill when a fellow biker told me I was looking a little flat in the rear. At the next rest stop, I checked in with a mechanic and found out I was nearly 40 psi under inflated. It didn’t sound like much, but when I hopped back on my bike, I couldn’t believe the difference. It was like I had a whole new set of legs.
When your tires are underinflated, you are working harder than you have to. Your tire should tell you the maximum air pressure. You certainly don’t need to inflate it to the max, but make sure it is close to that. It’s ok to leave a little wiggle room for rolling over things without popping your tire. If you are on a mountain bike, you will want to inflate much less than the max as to not get bounced over rocks, roots, and such. Even if you haven’t been riding recently, tires can lose air pressure due to temperature fluctuations. Invest in a good bike pump and use it.