Photos courtesy of Bike Sports
Covid-19 restrictions have us all itching for newd activities to entertain, release stress, and stay healthy. If you haven’t ridden in a while, or really ever, we’ve compiled a few tips for getting into bike riding in Northern Colorado.
- Run what you brung. Cycling doesn’t need to be done on the fanciest bike or done in the perfect outfit. Just get out there, sweat a little, and enjoy yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the consumer side of cycling — the list of things people might say you “need” can get long. In reality, bikes are simple machines of freedom. Even if you’re looking to go fast on a local group ride, show up with what you have first. Don’t let fancy, new or expensive things become a deterrent to you getting into cycling.
- Pump up your tires. There are generally two types of valves: Schraeder and Presta. Presta valves are thin and have a little end piece that you twist out to open the airflow. Schraeder valves look like your car valves. Most pumps work with both. To what PSI should you pump your tires? A good place to start is the suggested range printed on the side of the tire itself. Most riders should pump up on the lower end of the range.
- Have a flat changing kit. It’s a huge bummer to go out for a ride only to find that you have a flat tire and nothing to change it with. It only takes a few minutes to change if you have the right materials. I pack my saddle bag with a spare tube (ask your local bike shop what size you need), tire levers, a hand pump or C02 head and cartridge, and a good multitool. You can find a lot of great videos on how to change a flat on YouTube and you can practice even if you don’t have a flat.
- Find an “LBS” you love. Find a Local Bike Shop you love and trust. Especially as a woman, Whitney is well aware of the feeling when someone is trying to oversell her on unnecessary maintenance. If you find somewhere you really enjoy, develop that relationship and they will take care of you. Whitney has that relationship with Brave New Wheel in Old Town. In fact, one of the owners and Whitney go back to when they were still in college over 10 years ago.
- Know the law and practice etiquette. It’s good to know what the laws are in Colorado regarding cyclists and right-of-ways. CDOT and Bicycle Colorado both have summaries of state laws and best practices. Even though it’s not the law, Whitney also rides with a well-fitting, less than two-year-old helmet (they expire!) and rear red blinking light for extra visibility on the road.
- Check out new routes. The bike infrastructure we have in Northern Colorado is pretty incredible. We have extensive multi-use paths, extensive bike route signage, infinite bike lanes, tons of single track and so many amazing road and gravel routes just outside our doors. Look at route information through Bike Fort Collins, Your Group Ride, Strava, and Gravel Graceland to see where popular routes are or explore off of that!
- Connect with a community. There are tons of amazing cycling groups in town. This can be a great way to learn new routes (and when permitted) to meet some great friends to ride with. Your Group Ride has a list of the big clubs in town which is a great place to start!
I hope to see you out on the road or trails sometime soon! Give me a wave or say hello.
Whitney and Zack Allison are professional cyclists and entrepreneurs. Bike Sports, their most recent venture, seeks to make gravel riding more accessible, inspire cyclists to challenge their limits, and highlight Northern Colorado as a travel destination.
Have more questions about getting into riding?