Let’s get something straight immediately. I do not cycle nor would I look good in a cycling onesie. I leave that to the true cycling professionals. You might remember that I tried a spin class and detailed my near death experience in this blog post. Hilarious, I know. With July being focused on the Tour de France, I asked my dear friend and cycling guru Carl Warner to tell us all about the cycling craze. He demystifies it for us. We’ve been friends for close to 20 years. Shout out to Todd Kirby, a long-time blog subscriber, for suggesting the subject matter for today’s blog post.
Enjoy! xoxo – Tanya
The Cycling Craze
The final straw was a rolled ankle suffered on the basketball court. Years of running on pavement and up and down basketball courts led to nagging injuries to my calves, knees and back. Finally, I decided to put away the running shoes and high tops to concentrate on cycling for all my aerobic exercise. I quickly learned cycling is the one sport where you can get faster with age. I know of no other aerobic sport where you can actually be faster at age 50 than you might’ve been at 40. Hours in the saddle help perfect technique, improve conditioning; plus equipment and training regiments continually improve. In my early forties, I rode with guys who behind their Oakleys and beneath their helmets, looked like they were my age but were actually 15 sometimes 20 years older.
So I’m sold on the sport and now admittedly a cycling addict. When someone asks me for advice about cycling, I have a three-step answer that depends upon their level of experience and goals:
IF YOU’RE JUST STARTING OUT:
Join a spin class. 2-3 times a week at your gym or at a spin studio is a good way to see if you like it without committing to any big investment.
That’s it. You can certainly do the class without cycling shorts but it’ll be more painful and you’re less likely to return.
(One question everyone asks is: should I wear underwear? Cycling shorts are made to be worn by themselves. And The Rule is to never wear underwear. However, that rule was written when underwear was cotton and made with seams. I wear underwear made with a wicking material—like Under Armour—and prefer it under my cycling shorts. So even though it’s against conventional wisdom, it works for me).
IF AFTER A FEW MONTHS OF SPIN CLASSES, you decide you take to the road:
Get a decent bike from a reputable bike shop. The quickest way to hate cycling is to buy a department store bike that doesn’t fit you.
NOTE: no one—no one—thinks they look good in cycling kit. So don’t be self-conscious about it.
Buy a helmet. Don’t ride without one. Also, see the note about cycling kit above: everyone looks dorky in a cycling helmet. Sunglasses help to minimize the dorkiness. Again, don’t allow vanity to deter you from being safe.
Ride by yourself for a while. Get used to clipping/unclipping at stop signs. Get comfortable on the bike path or road.
Get an LED tail light if you ride on the road. Even during daylight hours, cars give me a wider berth when my light is flashing.
Join a bike club. They’re online and easy to find. A great way to meet other cyclists and find a group ride—which are much more fun than always riding solo.
And remember, you’re a cyclist. Not a biker. Hells Angels are bikers.
ADVICE FOR ADVANCED CYCLISTS (Most of which I’ve not seen addressed anywhere):
To hold your line while looking over your left shoulder, bend your right elbow. —I thought this was common knowledge, but most don’t know it.
Olbas inhaler clears sinuses—It’s the natural substance pros use as they warm up for time trials.
If you’re about to lose the wheel in front of you and don’t want to get dropped, shift up a gear not down. It’s counter-intuitive, but gives you a chance to hang on.
Don’t use Strava within a half-mile of your house.
Fixed gear bikes are a great way to:
1) smooth your spin 2) provide variety from your regular road bike.
Know the Velominati Rules. https://www.velominati.com/the-rules/
But know they’re tongue-in-cheek and not to be taken as Gospel.
Except Rule 5. There’s no joking about Rule 5.
About Carl Warner
Carl Warner is an advertising agency executive with extensive experience in building brands like Lexus, Bud Light, Tabasco, NRA, Ford, and the USMC. He lives in Dallas with his wife, two children, two Beagles, and his four bikes.
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Tags: Dallas, workout