Indoor cycling is all the rage these days, especially with rainy days and cooler temps. And we know that setting up a stationary bike can be intimidating. Since the proper fit makes the workout so much better — and prevents injury — we tapped endurance rider Audry Adler to give us the skinny on adjusting a bike. Watch and learn! Then head to cardio cycling early to set up your bike just right and then get your sweat on.
After a few miles in the saddle, it has probably become apparent that some cycling-specific gear is needed to make your rides more enjoyable. We know that biking can be an expensive pastime, but you can outfit yourself without breaking the bank. We've rounded up some affordable essentials to help you gear up for the long haul. Should cycling evolve into more of a lifestyle than a mere hobby, you can always upgrade — a gal can never have too many pairs of cycling shorts.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
Earlier this week, SELF told us about three sports that are even better in the fall. And if you read it, you may have been thinking: How could we leave out biking?
It's not that we left it out, exactly; in all honesty, I've been doing little but biking for the last few weeks in preparation for my upcoming Toyota SheRox Triathlon in San Diego on October 21. (I'll be there competing on behalf of SELF, along with several editors from other magazines and fitness websites!) It's just that biking is so awesome, it deserves its own post—especially because now's a great time to get started.
Last week, I caught up with Jackie Baker, marketing manager at Liv/giant — a cycling brand that's dedicated solely to the female rider, but is also part of Giant, the world's largest bike company. (Full disclosure: It's also the brand I'll be riding in my tri!) Baker took a break from pedaling the Tour de Pink to give me her best advice for choosing a bike and making the best purchase, no matter what your goals are.
- Fall is a great time. Cycling season may be winding down soon, but that makes right now the perfect time to buy a bike, says Baker. "The 2013 [bikes] started arriving at retailers in August, and many will still have 2012 [bikes] on the floor that they'd like to sell so they can make room for the new bikes." This could mean a limited selection, but great deals on what's left. "Also, there's nothing better than being the first of your friends to get the brand-new model, and now's a great time for that, too!"
- Ask yourself the two W's. "Before you think about price range, color, size or anything like that, you want to think about where you're going to be riding this bike and who you'll be riding it with," says Baker. "Someone who rides on trails and dirt roads needs a different bike than someone who rides to work every day in a dress, and she needs a different bike than someone who wants to compete in races." Take a cue from your riding partners, as well. If your friends all have road bikes, it might make sense for you to ride one, too. (See SELF's buyer's guide for bike suggestions to fit every personality.)
- Find the right fit. Bikes are not one-size-fits-all, and it helps to know a few of your basic measurements — like your height and inseam — when shopping for one. (Salespeople can always measure you in the store, but this is especially important if you're buying online or secondhand.) Look first at women's models, says Baker: "I would never say that every woman has to ride a woman's bike, because we're all built differently. But typically, women are smaller, with longer inseams and shorter torsos. We build our bikes to reflect those proportions." The technicians in-store can change your seat height and handlebar position, but ideally, you want to find something that doesn't need a lot of adjustment. "You know you've found the right bike when you only need a few tiny tweaks to make it right."
Read on for more tips on buying the right bike for you!
We are excited to share one of our favorite stories from espnW here on FitSugar!
By Kathryn Bertine
According to my friend Felicia, I am the 2012 road cycling world champion. Felicia cheered me on in Limburg, Holland, in my time trial and road races in September, and since then she has referred to me as champion of the world. "Where shall we go for lunch, world champion?" she asked, to which I quickly responded, "If I'm world champion, what do you call the 39 women who finished ahead of me in the time trial and the 80-plus competitors in the road race?"
"They're world champions, too," she said, intonating duh.
"And Judith Arndt and Marianne Vos, the actual world champions in the time trial and road race?" I asked.
"They're the extra-special world champions," Felicia assured me.
Oh, I see. Well then, I'm sure they don't mind sharing the title with me.
"Don't you get it?" Felicia said. "You were there. You were at the world championships. That's amazing."
In some ways it is amazing. Taking into account the details of getting to world championships for the past five years, I too have been downright dumbfounded that I've reached the starting line of some of these events. Given the foreign language barriers, homestay dynamics, registration protocols and mechanical issues with my bike — all of which I've often had to navigate solo — the race itself is usually the easiest part of the trip. The wickedly strong legs and unsmiling game faces of the greatest European cyclists have no physical or emotional effect on me, but trying to find a postrace sandwich has often brought me to tears. Worlds man, it ain't easy.
The day after the road race in Holland, I opened an email from an anonymous sender who didn't exactly share Felicia's opinion that I should be allotted any sense of world championshipism. Since I'd finished 40th in the time trial and been broomwagoned on the sixth of eight laps in the road race (I was hardly alone — only 80 of 132 finished the race), the author of the email felt compelled to articulate my unworthiness. I was a complete loser. I was an embarrassment to my country. I was undeserving of being there at the world championships. Before sending the email into the trash, I had three gut reactions. My first thought was about the unknown writer: Have we dated? My second was about the ridiculousness of it all: One must be incredibly bored or angry to send such a message. My third thought lingered on the words "being there." Even if a competitor is highly unlikely to win the world championships, does she truly deserve to be there?
I believe the answer is yes.
It is no secret that sports fans and athletes usually come in two varieties: those who believe that winning isn't everything and that participation is the true beauty of sports, and those who follow the Ricky Bobby philosophy of, "If you ain't first, you're last!"
Yet in a sport like cycling, where there are often 200 competitors in the elite fields, "being there" is just how it's gonna go for 199 of us. Not coming in first doesn't make a cyclist a loser, it makes her the majority.
Now that it is officially Fall and daylight saving time is quickly approaching, shorter days may call for shorter rides. Before you check in early, consider exchanging dark clothing for reflective gear that will help you be seen well into the night. Aside from safety, this gear will also add style and function to your ride the next time you hit the road.
If you're looking for a new ride, now is the time to buy a bike. Just like car dealers, bicycle shops want to move their stock of 2012 models to make room for the new styles of 2013 bikes.
You can find deals at large chain stores like Performance Bicycle as well as small independent shops, where you can bargain a bit too. Even REI has bikes priced to move.
To find the feel and fit you want, head to a couple of different stores to test ride a number of bicycles. It also helps to come prepared; bring bike shorts (you can wear them under a skirt) and a helmet. If possible, ride a few bikes on different types of terrain. Most shops can recommend a hill close by, should you feel the need to climb. Happy test riding!
We are excited to share one of our fave stories from espnW here on FitSugar!
By Kathryn Bertine
While the world was dazzled by Olympic teen phenoms like gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Missy Franklin during the London Games, a steady presence of "older" female athletes showed that athletic potential goes far beyond the high school years. In the sport of road cycling, Kristin Armstrong won her second Olympic gold medal in the time trial at the age of 39. In fact, the average age of the four members of the women's US Olympic road cycling team was 34. While there are always youthful standouts in any sport, it is safe to say that endurance sports like cycling often reward the older athlete.
"As a kid, I was a nonathlete and always the one picked last for gym class," Team Colavita's Moriah MacGregor, 38, said of her days growing up in Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory. With no interest in sports as a child, it wasn't until her late 20s that MacGregor mounted a bike, after seeing the Canadian national championships nearby. The riders' speed and prowess touched a nerve in MacGregor. "They were so fast and so tactical . . . That race is what motivated me to take out a race license, and the next season, I did my first Category Four [beginner-level] race. I had a lot of work to do to build a base as I was starting from square one."
In 2007, MacGregor shifted her attention to cycling full time, and the results were rewarding. She had top-10 placings at many prestigious North American events, including the Tour de PEI, and caught the eye of the Canadian national team after capturing the bronze medal in her country's road race championship. From there, it was off to the Pan Am Championships and European races, where MacGregor helped vault her teammates — and her country — to victory in some top international competitions. In 2012, MacGregor brought her time trial and domestique skills to Team Colavita.
Yet, as with most tactical sports, it wasn't just MacGregor's fitness that was key, but also the psychological skills that come with age. "There's a lot more to being a contributing member of a highly functional team than just the ability to perform," she said. "I think that having a bit more life experience probably helps . . . It's a coping benefit to have a bit more emotional maturity."
Recently retired cyclist Anne Samplonius, 44, who was with Team Now and Novartis for MS, agreed. "My training is different now — I must pay attention to rest, and rest hard, as my body takes longer to recover," Samplonius said. "But I also think that what I lost in the physical aspect, I have gained with experience. I may have slowed with age, but my experience, knowledge and savvy [have] lessened the gap to those who are much younger that I compete against, so I [was] able to still contribute to the team, be competitive, and even pull off a result here and there."
You don't have to be a triathlete to appreciate the grueling effort and stamina it takes to complete an Olympic triathlon. This three-sport competition requires competitors to be well-rounded athletes in swimming, cycling, and running since overall time is considered, not the time for individual sections of the race. Before catching the first competition this weekend, you'll want to brush up on these Olympic triathlon facts.
- Only 110 athletes will compete — 55 men and 55 women — and each country can have up to six athletes race — three men and three women.
- Five athletes will be representing the US in the triathlon: Laura Bennett (37), Sarah Groff (30), Gwen Jorgensen (26), Manuel Huerta (28), and Hunter Kemper (36).
- There are no heats, only one race, and the first one to cross the finish line is the winner. Six medals will be awarded; three each for the men and women.
- The course is a 1,500 m swim, a 43 km bike ride (seven laps of a 6.137 km course), and a 10 km run (four laps of a 2.5 km course), in that order.
- The swim will take place in open water in the Serpentine, the cycle portion in Central London, and the athletes will finish by running in Hyde Park.
- Competitors can be penalized for things such as blocking another athlete, not completing the transition between portions of the race (keeping their goggles on while running), or cycling in the transition zone. These penalties must be served either in the transition area or in a penalty box during the run.
- The first Olympic triathlon was in Sydney in 2000, won by Canada and Switzerland. New Zealand and Austria triumphed in 2004, and Germany and Australia were the winners in 2008. Let's hope the US can bring home gold in 2012.
- So far the record time for men made in 2000 by Canadian Simon Whitfield is 1:48:24.02. Australian Emma Snowsill holds the record for the women with her time of 1:58:27.66, made in 2008.
- Susan Rene Bartholomew-Williams is the first and only US triathlete to bring home an Olympic medal (bronze) in this event. In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, she had a time of 2:05:08.92.
- The women's triathlon begins at 9 a.m. (local time) on Saturday, Aug. 4, and you can catch the men's triathlon on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at 11:30 a.m. There won't be a live broadcast, but there will be live coverage available on Twitter through @triathlonlive and ITUonline.
Feeling inspired? Here's a mini triathlon workout you can do inside your gym.
Spoiler alert: Results from the day's Olympics events are available online hours before evening broadcasts of the games. If you'd rather watch the athletes compete and learn the news on TV, please do not look at this slideshow.
The second day of the 2012 Olympics brought more medals for the US, a couple surprising upsets, and plenty of inspiring images of athletes competing. Catch up on the games through these action shots!
The triathlon made its Olympic debut at the 2000 Summer Games, but people have been competing in this challenging multisport event since the 1920s. The Olympic event includes a 1.5 km (0.93 mile) swim, 40 km (25 mile) cycle, and 10 km (6.2 mile) run. Since you may not have time to squeeze an Olympic tri into your schedule, here's a mini triathlon workout you can complete at the gym in about an hour. Not only will this get you psyched to check out the female athletes competing on Aug. 4 for the gold, but mixing up your cardio workouts is also a great way to prevent injury and beat boredom.
Begin with a five-minute warmup to get your blood flowing and to loosen up your muscles. Here are some ideas for exercises that will get you ready for your tri. Once the workout is complete, don't forget the five-minute cooldown.
Ready to give this tri a try? Keep reading for this mini triathlon indoor workout.