A bicycle is the most efficient locomotion on earth. Think about that, man. That’s crazy. Think about a falcon, and a jet, and a grizzly bear – none of those things transfer energy from their driving engines into locomotion as well as a bike does. Think how fast you can go!
Okay, enough puffery. Road biking is as exciting, serious, calm, social, dangerous, or relaxed as you want it to be. You can spend $8,000 or $80 and you’re still going to be able to go for a ride. Granted, one of them will be a little nicer, but what’re we to do in these tough economic times.
You need two things to start road biking: a bike and a helmet. The Made Man editorial team here cannot count on both hands the number of times a buddy of ours life has been saved by a helmet. Buy one. Rule of thumb: Wear it if you’re leaving the driveway. If you’ve never ridden a road bike, you might consider a hybrid (road bikes are tipsier than we were at the Made Man launch party). If you’re moderately athletic, though, you can handle an entry level bike like the Specialized Allez or the Trek 1000. Ask for last year’s model or hit up Craigslist to get cheaper versions of those bikes.
The next two pieces of equipment you should buy are cycling shorts (at least 8-panel), clipless pedals that lock into special biking shoes (get ready to fall at least once) in that order.
Joining a biker gang is a good way to learn about all the little things of biking without having to sit on your living room floor and read a book (print is dead). This way, if you drop your water bottle, or want to learn how to draft, or just want to find the good local routes, you’ve got yourself a bike gang to do it. Most urban centers with a few tens of thousands of people have more than one bike club. Fair warning: most of them are lame and aren’t really rough-and-tumble biker gangs.
If you’re planning on going out solo (not recommended), you need to learn how to change your tires if you get a flat, what the proper traffic signals are, and what your limits are on a physical level. Always bring a cell phone so you can call your special lady (or mom, or roommate) to come and pick your sorry ass up.
Even if you’re not taking your riding very seriously – if you’re not training for a race, tour, or some other specific event, a visual representation of how far and how fast you’ve been riding is a great motivational tool to keep getting in the saddle. Believe us, there are plenty of hurdles you’ll have to overcome. A calendar over your bed will remind you how well you’ve been doing or how lazy you’ve been.