Five Myths About Road Cycling (and Why We're Busting Them)
If there’s anything that puts us off a sport quicker, it’s the idea of a pre-existing set of expectations. It already takes courage to step outside your comfort zone and take on a new challenge, and conflicting advice, misinformation or outdated concepts can make it all the more challenging.
That’s why, in this week’s blog, we’re highlighting five major myths about road cycling and why they’re wrong.
You Have to be Super Fit to Ride
False! The enduring appeal of cycling lies in its accessibility. C ycling suits all levels of ability - so yes, while you may see some pros out there on the roads, they all started somewhere. Lots of cyclists ride for reasons other than competition and speed - it’s quicker than walking, for example, cheaper than a car and also just a fun way to exercise - not to mention getting some “me” time.
Cycling allows for a short break away from the kids or housemates, and a chance to clear your head and reset for the rest of the day. If you want to head out on the roads, all you need is a bike, a helmet and some weather appropriate clothes. Check out our post, Dos and Don’ts of Biking for Beginners, for tips and
tricks on getting started.
Harder, Better, Faster, Tighter
Somehow, the idea that lycra is required to ride a bike became widely accepted. While it can be really effective in enhancing comfort and regulating temperature, wearing this highly elastic material is really not needed on every single ride.
If you’re heading out on a casual commute, cycling to work, heading on a weekend ride or even bike-camping, regular clothes are completely fine to ride in.
As long as you’re dressed appropriately for the weather (waterproofs and layers ar
e your best friends) and avoid baggy or flowing pieces of clothing, which can get stuck in the wheels or chain, you and your bike are good to hit the road.
Decent Bikes Cost Over $1000
In some ways this is correct! If you’re willing to drop a grand or more on a new ride, then the chances are you’ll get a great set of wheels. However, there are lots of bikes out there for smaller budgets, which perform well and can keep you safe and comfortable.
The range in price, types and brands of bike can be con fusing to those new to cycling, and it’s not always clear what you should be looking for. To help new riders out, we put together a list of our favourite beginner road bikes for under $1000. Check it out before heading to the bike store!
Cyclists Should Stay as Close to the Curb as Possible
Nope. It might feel safer to be out of traffic by hugging the curb, but this actually puts you at risk of being “doored”, or even hitting a pedestrian. In addition, drivers may not be able to see you in their blind spot - and if they do see you, they may attempt to squeeze past you at dangerous proximity.
Ideally, you should never be closer than 36 inches from the curb. By riding further out, you make yourself more visible to drivers and force them to react to your presence. Remember, cyclists should assert their position on the road, but not be obstructive. Taking the lane is advised for safety, and if cars have to wait to overtake you, don’t be intimidated - you have every right to be there!
Pumped up Tires Equal More Speed
Wrong! It’s true that cycling on flats will absolutely slow you down and make your experience much tougher than it should be. However, over-pumped tires don’t necessarily make you go faster, either.
In fact, if your tire pressure is too high, your bike will begin to vibrate over imperfections in the road surface and decrease grip, leading to an uncomfortable ride and extra muscle fatigue. As a result, you’ll actually end up slowing down.
Making sure your tire pressure is at the right level can save you time, energy and potential embarrassment. There are a few considerations that go into selecting the proper tire pressure, including rider weight and wheel size. Sky Bike have put together this handy chart so you can work out what pressure you should be riding at.