COMFORT & PEFORMANCE -- WHAT YOU WEAR
Safety is Priority One. It only takes one fall without a helmet to really, really wish you had one. Beyond protecting your noggin, helmets should be lightweight, well-ventilated and comfortable -- if it's not, you're a lot less likely to wear it.
Cycling apparel isn't just about looking stylish (or, for you critics out there, looking silly). There's comfort- and performance-enhancing aspects to the wear. Cycling shorts sport a padded chamois in the crotch to increase comfort for those long days in the saddle, and a fit that promotes bloodflow to your pumping legs. Tops are breathable and wick sweat away from your skin -- think technical wear.
Added comfort for your hands on the handlebars. Crash protection. Nose wiper. Cycling gloves bring all these benefits to the table.
Cycling shoes pair with clipless pedals to secure your foot to the pedal for proper foot position and enhanced power transfer on each pedal stroke. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT PEDALS!
COMFORT & PERFORMANCE -- CONTACT POINTS
After a properly-sized bicycle, nothing is going to affect your comfort and performance on the bike like your relationship with the contact points. They can make or break your cycling experience.
Having the right saddle for your bike, your position on the bike and the type of riding you are doing is critical. Road bike saddles are narrower with longer noses, to accommodate the movement of your legs relative to your body position. Contrary to popular belief, more padding is not always the answer to improving saddle comfort. For long days in the saddle, excess padding actually increases pressure on your soft tissue areas, the very places we're tying to remove pressure. DON'T FORGET TO ASK ABOUT CYCLING SHORTS.
There are myriad pedals to choose from, but the two basic styles are platform and clipless. Platforms are what come stock on most bikes. Clipless pedals, meant to be paired with cycling shoes, have numerous advantages over platform: More efficient power transfer to the bike, the ability to push and pull on the pedal stroke, and keeping your feet secured in the proper position (no slipping around).
A comfortable handlebar grip or bar tape on your bike can go a long way to increasing the comfort of your hands. Pair with cycling gloves for best results. And if your hands aren't happy on your bike ride, nobody's happy.