The winter this year seems to have been particularly challenging and relentless. But we are finally starting to see signs of Spring. It’s May 2nd, and my bike hasn’t seen the roads yet. This is a first for me as I usually start to head out in late March or early April.
Even with the nice weather, I still spend most of my training indoors during the week and only head out during the weekend. With work and family, it’s a lot more efficient to saddle up and train at odd hours. Plus, indoor training offers a lot of advantages that I can’t get by riding outside. I live in a fairly flat and busy area with a lot of traffic and stop signs. Getting a steady-state long interval is almost impossible.
However, cycling is still an outdoor sport, and riding outdoors is part of its fundamental nature. As you transition to riding your bike outdoors, I wanted to offer few tips as we sometimes just forget which I am guilty of that as well.
Here are things to consider and go through everytime you go outside for a ride and not only the first time you transition from indoor to outdoor riding:
- Clean Your Bike: Take your bike off the trainer and clean it. Clean your chain and make sure it runs smoothly, and check that your tires are sufficiently inflated.
- Check The Brakes: On the trainer, you mostly worry about putting pressure to the pedals and never have to worry about stopping. Make sure you check those brakes.
- Check Your Flat Tire Repair Kit: Make sure you have everything you need in your flat kit:
- Co2 cartridges and inflator
- Spare tube
- Hex keys
- Tire levers
- Obey All Traffic Laws: Riding your bike doesn’t give you permission to break traffic rules. You have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs.
- Lights: I can’t stress this one enough, make sure you install bright tail lights. I recommend the Bontrager Flare R lights or Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150. For additional safety, check out the Garmin Varia RTL 510. The Garmin Varia requires a dedicated radar display unit such as Garmin Edge 520 or Garmin Edge 820.
- Lose The Earbuds: No need to listen to music or podcasts when you are riding outdoors. You need to focus on your ride and be 100% aware of your surrounding.
- Wear Bright Colors: Wearing bright colors, helmet, and socks are very effective to get drivers attention.
- Wear Your Helmet: I don’t think I need to stress this one enough.
- Road ID: These are affordable bracelets with your contact information just in case something happens to you. You can have your contact information, allergies, blood type, etc.
- Be Kind to Drivers: I know this is a hard one. Be the better person and be kind to him/her and don’t get into an altercation. You will never win. I am more worried about drivers that don’t see me than drivers that yell at me.
- Don’t forget to take some money with you for that coffee stop, or in case you need to buy yourself drinks, food, or possibly an Uber.
The first time you head out, you might feel a little hesitant and possibly scared depending on your experience. Don’t be afraid to slow down or just take it easy the first few rides. You might also feel sore in different areas in your body such as your neck, shoulders, and forearms. Riding outdoors requires different muscles to balance the bike, cornering, turning, etc. However, your indoor fitness will transfer to the outdoors no problem.
Enjoy and be safe!