Friday, May 16, 2014

Advice On Starting Riding Road Bikes

The other day at work I was in the elevator with one of our executives and he said he was thinking about doing next years MS 150 with his daughter.  We had a quick chat about training and bikes and he asked if I could email him some information.  I thought I would share here.  Let me know your thoughts...

Next year’s MS 150 ride is April 18 & 19th.  If you and your daughter started riding one day a weekend in January, and towards the end of March did a couple back to back weekend rides, you would both be in great shape for finishing the MS 150.  We had people who only rode a couple training rides and still managed to finish the ride.  Finishing shouldn’t be an issue. I think it is more about being comfortable and enjoying the ride which is easier with the more training time you get on the bike.

As for the bike, I always tell people cycling is a lot like golf in that as you get more involved, there is always a new gadget or better piece of equipment you will want.  And it is never cheap.  An entry level road bike from one of the big manufacturers like Fuji or Giant will run you about $650.  If you go with Specialized, Bianchi, Trek, or similar it is probably around $800.  I know people who swear by carbon fiber bikes; but personally, I don’t think they are good $$ spent for beginning road riders.  Chances are you are going to bang the bike around a bit, maybe even fall over while trying to get out of your  pedals, and an aluminum bike will handle that better. 

When I decided I would buy a road bike (I had been commuting on my mountain bike) I knew I would use it a lot, so I bought a more upgraded bike and spent $1,400.  I focused on the group-set (brakes, shifters, crank, derailleur, etc).  If you decided to buy above the entry level that is what I would suggest instead of focusing on frame material.  I’ve ridden my bike just over 1,000 miles since I bought it in January and haven’t had to fix or adjust anything.  The other teammates that bought entry level bikes, and used them a lot, are now having to fix parts on their derailleurs or brakes, etc.  To me not having to mess with the bike is worth extra $$.  If you are going to spend above entry level I would say go with a 105 groupset or better (chart below).  Of course the entry level bikes are just fine- see the golf analogy?

Intended Use
Shimano Models
SRAM Models
Entry level

General use level
Mid-range level
High-end enthusiast level
Pro race level
Dura Ace

For the basics, you will need:
Bike                                                       $650+
Helmet                                                 $50+
Clipless pedals                                   $50+
Shoes                                                    $80+
2X Water bottles                              $20
@x Bottle cages                                $20+
Shorts                                                   $50+
Jersey                                                   $60+
Gloves                                                  $20
Saddle bag w/repair kit                 $60
Back warning light                            $15
                                                                $1,075 + tax

Nice extras:
Bike computer                                  $40+
Floor pump                                         $40+

I could go on and on but I think this should cover the info you were looking for.  Feel free to ask me any questions.  I love this stuff.  I hope you and your daughter decide to join the team.  We had a great group last year and all 15 members said they would do the ride again next year.

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