Equipment, clothing, fitness key for successful biking season

Equipment, clothing, fitness key for successful biking season

Nick Jordan, a mechanic for Board & Buckle Ski & Cyclery, 2822 North Ave., tunes a road bike recently in the shop. It is important to make sure your bike is ready for the new season.

Summer is almost upon us. For many, that means baseball, golf, hiking or rafting.

For me, it means riding a bike.

Town bikes, road bikes, track bikes or mountain bikes; group rides, solo rides, kids’ rides or competitive rides, it doesn’t matter. I just like getting on a bike.

Early summer is one of my favorite times to ride. It is always brings back memories of my early childhood, when getting on the bike meant freedom from parental supervision and the mental joy of knowing that summer break was just around the corner.

Today, at this time of the year, I am itching to get outside and get some sun and wind on my face, legs and arms. But inevitably, my exuberance to ride causes me to take some shortcuts with preparation and to make some easily avoidable mistakes with my equipment, clothing and fitness.

So let’s do a quick run-down of some potential problem areas that are easily avoided.


It is important to check your equipment. With our low humidity, rubber can easily crack, so check that the tires on your bike are in good shape. Do not push it too far with tires. The risk/reward of a blowout and landing on your face is not worth the few extra miles you might get out of a tire.

To keep your bike running like new, it’s a good idea to have an annual overhaul. This would include checking the chain, rear cogs and cables for stretch and wear. I would also recommend greasing the rear hub of your wheel to keep it running smoothly.

Check the cleats on your shoes for wear and replace if they are too worn. Pulling a foot out of the cleats can lead to a crash.

Also, make sure to have two tubes, CO2 cartridges or a pump and a tire iron in case of flats. Or, if you don’t mind a bit of extra weight, get some tubes filled with slime, which will reseal most small punctures. Finally, make sure you have something to eat in case you bonk.

A little extra time and money on your equipment maintenance can really enhance your ride. Skipping gears, creaky bottom brackets and lots of flats or a crash can ruin a great ride.


Don’t get caught unprepared by our volatile Colorado weather.

It might be nice and warm, but the wind can kick up at any time and temperatures can still drop rapidly. Especially if you are climbing, the difference in temperature can be wide. And the wind chill from descending can make you really cold.

I usually wear a light vest of wool or polypropylene under my jersey and pack a light jacket, hat and long-fingered gloves in my back pocket.

A phone is a good idea in case you run through a goat head patch and run out of spare tubes.


Your fitness is a bit of a Catch-22. On the one hand, riding a lot is a great way to get fit, but on the other, too much too early can lead to injury and fatigue.

Although winter activities such as skiing, going to the gym and group exercises are great for core and cross training, they are no substitute for miles in the saddle.

To avoid injury, I would recommend no more than four days a week riding and limiting the lengths of your rides to 2.5 hours. Get at least 12-15 rides at a steady base-building effort before attempting any intervals or speed work.

Try to remember to spin a small gear with a high cadence. Most cyclists push way too big a gear, which is both inefficient and slow. Riding a high cadence will allow you to accelerate faster and you won’t load your legs with as much lactic acid.

Think of a car ­­— if you drive all day in fifth gear, it is not going to perform at its optimum level.

Where to ride is entirely up to you. Climbing, flats, rollers, we have it all. Be mindful of the wind, and gravel is still on the road in many places. Also, many cars are not yet used to seeing bikes on the road, so be cautious.

Summer is almost here! So get out and enjoy what western Colorado has to offer.

Good riding!

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Search More Jobs

734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Subscribe to print edition
Advertiser Tearsheet

© 2015 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy