Sportive Plus Blog

 

Wednesday, June 16th 2020- by Louise Green

5 Tips for beginner cyclists 

 Plus Size Cycling

 

The past several months have been extremely difficult for people all over the world.  People have experienced isolation, financial worry and lack of connection and community.  Within that mix, many people have spent very little time exercising or spending time outdoors.  The last several months have also given people an opportunity to re-evaluate things and better understand that our time, our freedom and our opportunities to freely move our bodies is something we shouldn’t take for granted.  As the world starts to lift the restrictions of the pandemic, many of us are starting to feel a reawakening and freedom to get outside. There isn’t a better way to sense your freedom that feeling the wind on your face, riding a bike.  

 Here are some things to consider as you get on the road, trails and paths.

Louise Green

Louise Green, trainer, author, advocate, athlete

Louise Green is a global plus-size fitness coach, fitness activist and author changing the narrative and idealistic standards of our fitness culture.

Her fitness career began in 2008 when she opened the first plus-size fitness franchise, Body Exchange.

As an influential change-maker, Louise has helped thousands of plus-size women find their inner-athlete and love their bodies.  Through speaking, writing and coaching women online she has lead the charge in creating a more inclusive fitness culture across the globe.

Smashing the barriers of mainstream fitness, Louise is the first plus-size athlete to be featured in elite publications such as: Triathlete Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, Canadian Running and Runner’s World UK.

Louise is the Author of Big Fit Girl and a Columnist at SELF Magazine

You would like to know her better?

https://www.louisegreen.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/louisegreen.bigfitgirl/

https://www.instagram.com/louisegreen_bigfitgirl/

 1. Decide which style of bike is right for you.

There are many types of bikes for a variety of lifestyles and needs, here are the basic selection. 

Mountain bike: Mountain bikes are generally specialized for use on unpaved surfaces, the bike frame is heavier to navigate mountainous terrain and they usually have thicker, knobbier tires than most other bikes.  The sitting position on a mountain bike is upright which can be a more comfortable posture to maintain for some people. 

Road bike:  Road bikes are meant for smooth, fast riding on roads.  They have skinny, smooth tires and lighter frames.  They also have a forward sitting position at about 45-degree angle and in some cases a forward lean of a 90-degree angle if you are using arrow bars.  This positioning of the body and can take some time to get used to. 

Hybrid:  The Hybrid is a mixture of both mountain bike and road bike which makes a nice middle point for those who want to ride the road with some ease and also do a little off roading on some paths but nothing too heavy duty.  

Cruiser: The Cruiser are often a funky option that is for leisure riding.  This isn’t the bike for off roading or commuting, it’s a fun, often very comfortable option (often with a larger seat) and upright riding position.  You will often see cruisers with high handlebars, retro colours and baskets on the front. 

Motorized Assisted: A motorized bike is a bicycle with an attached motor or engine and transmission to assist with pedalling. This is a great option for those who want to cycle but don’t love the idea of climbing big hills, the motorized assisted bike can help in those challenging moments while still offering a workout.

2.Try out Various Saddles.

Saddle, also known as your bike seat, is one of the most important components of cycling.  Whether your seat works for your body or not will determine whether you can ride comfortably and sustainably.  There isn’t a specific type of seat I would recommend because everyone’s body is different. I personally changed the stock seat on my road bike to a Terry’s seat and I love it.  It’s wider and more comfortable for long rides.  Read reviews on seats and test them out!

3. Get your Bike Professionally Fitted. 

I highly recommend that you have your bike professionally fitted to your body. This can be done at most bike stores or there are some general tips you can from YouTube. It’s important because if your seat is too low or too high, or your legs extend too much this can cause serious havoc on the body which will make your biking experience unpleasant.  Additionally, for more serious riders, you can have your bike fitted by a physiotherapist who can look at your specific biomechanics and make sure the bike is precisely measured to your body. 

4. Get to Know Basic Road Safety.

If you haven’t ridden a bike in a while, I recommend riding on a bike path away from traffic so you can get comfortable on the bike before heading into traffic areas.  

  • Stay on the shoulder of the road, riding with traffic (not facing it). 

  • Use hand signals, (outlined below) this is extremely important when riding with traffic.  Take some time to practice these at home before you start riding.

  Plus Size Cycling
  •  When riding in groups, the “stop” and “slowing down” signals are a must to avoid collision.
  • When passing a cyclist on the shoulder, call out, “passing on your left” so they are aware you are coming up beside them.  Never pass on the right (inside) of a cyclist. 

  • Make sure you are visible.  Always ensure drivers can see you when passing in front of a car by making eye contact.  

  • Always wear a reflective vest or reflective wear and add lighting to your bike for dawn and dusk or riding in the dark

5. Understanding the best accessories.

 The accessories that go with biking are endless, from hydration packs, water bottles, helmets, mirrors, gloves, padded pants and shorts, sunglasses, shoes with peddle clip in options –– they are endless.  

 The most important accessory, however, is your helmet.  This is not an area to be frugal, after all, you are protecting your brain.  Different helmets will fit different heads, so this is a matter of trying out the right fit.  Make sure it is from a certified company and not second hand, materials can breakdown overtime.  Make sure it fits snug with not too much pressure on your head, the chin strap should be fitted, not loose and there shouldn’t be too much movement, if any. 

 Second, a good pair of padded shorts or tights are always a good investment, check out Sportive Plus for great cycling gear in a range of sizes.

 Cycling is for every “body” - happy cycling!

 

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