Week 1: You just bought a new bike
Week 2: How to build fitness (volume, intensity, frequency)
Week 3: Realizing your intentions and setting goals
Week 4: Periodizing your season and goals.
Week 5: Using metrics (heart rate/power) and setting baselines
Week 6: Specificity of training and its importance
Week 7: Peaking for your goal
While every individual is different and needs customized training, there are basic guidelines that everyone follows. As a coach, I like to think about this as the guidelines being the outside of a puzzle. Then, the inside and actual picture is the athletes life. It is up to the coach to make the picture come together and end in the final product of a completed puzzle.
With that being said, enjoy the series and leave comments/feedback if you have questions
You just bought a new bike
The first thing you will want to do as a new bike owner is ask your local bike shop or coach to get you fit to your bike. This often means that an individual will put you on a bike trainer and watch you as you pedal. You can either be set up for comfort ( open hip angle, relaxed/upright position, relaxed hand position, etc) or for performance/aerodynamics (aggressive hip angle, flat back, power arm position, etc). Almost all of this will depend entirely on your purpose of riding and your flexibility.
Once you have been fit to the bike and you feel good on your bike, it is then time to ensure you have all the proper equipment that is needed while you are on the road. For the purpose of this article, we will assume that you are into fitness and making improvements, so I will recommend the following equipment
You will need:
- Helmet (regardless of activity level)
- flat repair kit (c02 or pump, spare tube, tire levers) < learn how to fix a flat
- speedometer (garmin is the best, if you are serious about it.. don't go cheap here.. 500 series garmin)
- Clothing (makes huge difference in comfort and speed)
- Heart rate monitor or power meter (syncs with your garmin.. can upload for analysis <Coaches job)
These pieces of equipment are going to do a lot for your ride quality and progress as a cyclist going down the road. You can get fancy with sunglasses and gloves or new saddles as you go, but all of these are preferences and not absolutely needed. It all depends on what appeals to you after these pieces.
You have your bike and your equipment. Now what do you do? The best thing to do at this point is ask the local bike shop about friendly roads in the area, group rides that are well established, or if there are possible bike trails in your area. You will be amazed at how a community has established bike roads and others that no cyclist would ever dream of riding on unless they absolutely had to. Yes, cyclists are allowed on most roads (not on most highways), but that doesn't mean it is necessarily safe for you to ride on all of these roads. What you want to look for as a beginning rider is roads with low volume or roads with bike lanes on them. The more bike lanes or lower car traffic, the better for most circumstances. If you have no other options, you can ride sidewalks, but in some places this is both illegal and puts you at an increased risk of an accident (cars don't look at sidewalks routinely before turning).
If you are able to talk to your local shop about routes to ride, you will be in a good place to help you build your skills of riding on a road.
Joining a group
Joining a group or club may be the best part about riding a bike. It brings in the social aspect of cycling and builds a network of individuals that will routinely meet on weekly nights to ride and enjoy each others company. The connections you make in cycling clubs go a long way and it is highly recommended that you join them. Here is Kalamazoo we have the Kalamazoo Bike Club that puts on annual bike clinics (Bike Week) and hosts group rides for many different skill levels. Also, the group or club is always full of safe roads to ride and can be a great resource for beginners in finding those safe places to practice. Seek out clubs
Intro to Part II
Alright, you have your bike, equipment, and roads to ride on... Now what? The next step to helping you in your journey to better performance or fitness is the building of fitness itself. Next week we will touch on the principles of building fitness and how you can both work around your life schedule and maximize your fitness.
Check back in next week to further your journey in becoming a better cyclist.