Julie: Some notes about getting outfitted when you haven’t ridden a bike in 20+ years.
If you’re like me and live in an area where you see a lot of people out riding, you’ve probably seen plenty of people who dress like professional cyclists, but clearly aren’t professional caliber. There must be a reason why so many people dress that way, right? Maybe you’ve wondered if you’ll have to, too. Much to my relief, I have found there’s nothing wrong with dressing like a recreational rider if that’s what you are. Here are some tips I picked up from Kristen:
- For short rides, it’s ok to wear anything you want. Jeans or shorts and a t-shirt work just as well as anything else.
- For rides greater than about 7 miles (the distance will differ a bit for each person), chafing can become an issue if you wear street clothes. This holds true for men and women. However, it’s still not necessary to jump directly into bibs and jerseys. If you don’t know what those are, it’s ok…if you’re not into racing, you probably don’t need to know! Form fitting leggings, yoga pants, or running shorts/pants will do the trick while being more commonplace, and maybe more comfortable, than pro gear.
- Different things work for different people depending on your body and your bike’s saddle (that’s the proper term for the seat!). Experimenting with different gear during regular rides will help you find what’s most comfortable for you before you get to that 28 mile ride at the Farm to Fork Fondo!
If your bike has platform pedals, like mine, you don’t need special shoes. Platform pedals are flat and don’t require your shoes to clip into the pedal like a ski binding. Any type of flat shoe will work, though sneakers are recommended – I wouldn’t advise riding in flip flops.
The last time I rode a bike was before helmets became a thing. If you’re like me, you’ll need one now. I have discovered that there is more to bike helmets than meets the eye – literally! A bike helmet is like an insurance policy. You hope that you won’t ever have to put it to the test, but you want to have a good one just in case. After all, you only have one noggin! Price is not an indicator of how well, or not well, a bike helmet will perform. Not sure what to look for? Farm to Fork Fondo sponsor Rudy Project has a range of helmets for all abilities: https://www.rudyprojectusa.com/