30 Jul Biking for Beginners
The 5-hour ENERGY® p/b Kenda Pro Cycling team’s racing season is in full swing! With tours ranging from California to Spain, the cyclists are busy 24/7! We understand that not everyone can handle the lengthy five day tours like the pros. Maybe you just want to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather that summer brings and go on a bike ride, but with so many different kinds of bikes where do you even begin? Luckily the 5-hour ENERGY® team is here to help teach you the basics of cycling so you can get outside and get active.
There are several different kinds of bikes, but four of the most common bikes are road, mountain, hybrid and touring bikes. Learn about the uses as well as the pros and cons of each of these bikes.
Description: This type of bike is built specifically to reach maximum speeds on pavement. The road bike’s frame is made of lightweight material, usually aluminum or carbon, to make it as fast as possible. If you’ve ever wondered why road bikes have such narrow tires, it’s because the narrow tires and high pressure of the tires decrease rolling resistance to ensure riders reach top speeds during races. Road bikes have several sub-categories since the term “road bike” is used to describe any bike primarily used on pavement. This means touring bikes and hybrid bikes can also fall in to the road bike category.
Where can I ride it? The road bike’s name is pretty much a giveaway as to where cyclists ride this type of bike. A road bike’s frame and wheels are built specifically for riding on pavement, so if you’re looking to ride on trails, this is not the bike for you.
Pros: If you’re an avid or beginner street cyclist, this is the fastest and lightest style of bike available. If you’re looking to ride on the street, this will be the most efficient and easiest bike for you to control.
Cons: If you are used to wider bike tires, such as a mountain bike’s tires, you might find this style a bit uncomfortable. Road bikes are also situated in a more upright position which can be difficult for some riders to adjust to. However, time usually allows riders to adjust to the road bike’s different features.
Description: This style of bike is built to withstand the rough, off-road conditions that come with mountain biking. Mountain bike frames can be made up of a few different materials. Steel was once the most commonly used material for mountain bike frames, but now aluminum is a preferred frame material due to its lighter weight. Because mountain bikers have more bumps and obstacles to deal with, the aluminum and suspension features help the bike absorb the impact. Shock absorbers are in both the front and back of the bike which help eliminate the jolts of anything from rocks to ruts.
Where can I ride it? The fat tires, great suspension and strength of mountain bikes make them ideal for off-road cycling. These sturdy bikes were built for withstanding intense off-road rides, making them perfect for trails and even more daring off trail riding.
Pros: Unlike road bikes, mountain bikes can go both on pavement and off. If you hit a dip or pothole, you don’t have to worry! The durable frame and tires of mountain bikes won’t let you down.
Cons: Though you can ride mountain bikes on pavement, the wide tires create resistance that is not ideal if you’re riding a long distance. Also, if you’re travelling with your mountain bike, be prepared to lift a heavy load because a durable frame and tires mean heavier materials!
Description: You probably figured that hybrid bikes are a combination of two existing types of bikes, but can you guess which two they are? The answer is road bike and mountain bike. The wheels are the main hybrid aspect of this type of bike because they are not as narrow as road bike tires, but they are also not as wide as mountain bike tires; they fall right in the middle.
Where can I ride it? Hybrid bikes are versatile enough to ride comfortably both on pavement and off road. Normally hybrids have a high number of gears which is what allows this bike to be ridden on both surfaces.
Pros: As mentioned above, cyclists can ride hybrid bikes on pavement and off road. This gives riders who like both types of cycling a good middle ground bike to use instead of having separate road and mountain bikes.
Cons: When it comes to surface type, hybrid bikes are flexible but street bikes will always be better for pavement riding and mountain bikes will always be better for off road riding.
Description: Touring bikes are special bikes that are specifically modified to handle the loads that come with bicycle touring. These bikes have multiple mounting points to hold the luggage, water bottles and other necessities tour cyclists bring with them. Touring bikes are built to provide a comfortable and stable ride since the cyclists ride great distances at a time.
Where can I ride it? Tour riders mainly use this type of bike, but cyclists have certain reasons why they might prefer this type of bike, too. For example, tour bikes can have lower gears than street bikes, so a rider might choose a touring bike if they often ride on hilly terrains.
Pros: The mounting points and pegs for luggage are crucial for tour riders, and other styles of bikes do not come with this feature. These bikes are also very comfortable and stable which makes long road rides as comfortable as possible.
Cons: If you are not a tour biker and solely ride on the road, road bikes are better for you than tour bikes. This is because tour bikes are slower and are less agile in handling that road bikes since road bikes are more light weight and quicker.
Biking doubles as great exercise and a perfect way to experience and enjoy the outdoors. There’s a type of bike out there for everyone! If you enjoy city scenery, take a ride through town on a road bike. If you prefer being with nature, then mountain biking is for you. Remember this beginner’s biker guide when you try out biking this summer!