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.
Enjoying the Women’s Ride in Freeport, Maine.
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.
Biking life started in my grandparent’s driveway on a classic model that had taught all those in my family before me. Its blue frame took me on two wheels for the first time and tasted freedom. My first mountain bike came at Christmas during my 6th grade year. Though I was tentative on anything resembling mountain rocks, dirt, etc., (some things never change) its multiple speeds kept me cruising right through to my 20’s.
Eight years ago, as many know, my love for road biking began. On a borrowed cyclocross bike with skinny knobbed tires and only two big rings up front, I road my first Trek Across Maine. 180 miles from the mountains of Bethel to the sea. The next year I upgraded to a classic seafoam green Bianchi bought off a friend. It was a transforming upgrade. Who knew I had been pedaling so hard. A few years after that I joined up with a local bike group which is when my passion for riding really began. I spent a couple of years as the youngest and the slowest rider, but one sweet upgrade to a Felt later (thanks to one of my besties at the Green Machine) and I was leading the pack.
My Felt and I got asked to be the stars of a video showing off all the great rides around the Bethel area. What a thrill. The best part? I got a car ride all the way to the top of Evan’s Notch and all I had to do was enjoy the cruise back down. Yes, you may be asking for my autograph soon. See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3sAAPSofXo
The season for biking may be coming to a rapid close, but I hold it in my heart all year long. So when you’re thinking of a cool gift for the biking enthusiast in your life, look no further. We’ve got you covered.