What is the difference between a road bike and a mountain bike?
Besides the obvious differences of why you would use one versus the other they also have a number of key differences. Mountain bikes have suspension systems, larger knobbly tyres and a more relaxed geometry with flat handlebars. Road bikes have a more aggressive geometry, thinner tyres and drop bars. Each is designed for the comfort of either the road or off-road. For Bryan Steel Cycling group rides you will need a road bike and we would recommend clip-less pedals.
How much should I spend on my first bike?
Once you have the cycling bug you can spend a lot of money on a carbon bike. But when first starting out this is not what you need to do. Realistically you should look to spend between £350 and £700 and as and when it becomes a true passion you can upgrade from there. Look at eBay or we can put you in touch with one of our Partners who can assist. Also, have a look to see if the company you work for offers the Cycle to Work Scheme – this is a tax efficient way to get a bike for much less.
Should I wear a helmet?
YES! Broken bones will heal but a significant head injury is a different consideration altogether. Helmets and helmet technology have come a long way in recent years and are an accepted part of being part of the cycling community. Any organised event will not let you participate without one. Realistically you should look to spend upwards of £35 and we can put you in touch with one of our Partners who can assist.
How high should my saddle be?
You wouldn’t believe it but having the saddle height right can be more complex than you think. As a general rule of thumb, your leg should be almost completely extended, with a slight bend in the knee. Your toes should be pointed and scooping the pedals as you complete the pedal stroke. When you join us on one of our led rides we will be able to assess your position and provide more guidance for you.
Do I need a Professional Bike Fit?
As you spend more and more time on the bike this is a great investment. A proper bike fit will increase your performance and will also decrease potential injuries by ensuring you have the correct saddle height and cleat positioning (for when you are using clipless pedals).
Do I need to wear bike specific shorts?
Another YES! Cycling shorts have padding built into the design known as a chamois that protects the nether regions from vibrations and the saddle. As you cycle more and more you will develop muscle memory and the pain will ease but you will always be thankful for cycling shorts – Trust us on this one!
Should I use Clipless Pedals?
Clipless pedals can be intimidating for new cyclists but they have huge advantages. Clipless pedals will improve your pedalling efficiency by allowing you to utilise the whole pedal revolution plus they will give you better control on the bike.
What should I take when I go on a bike ride?
Be prepared as they would say in the Scouts – there is nothing worse than being miles away from home due to a puncture. We would always suggest that you carry some ID, at least one spare inner tube, tyre levers, a mini pump and/or a CO2 cartridge, a multi-tool and some money just in case. Obviously it would also make sense to take a mobile phone with you.
How do I fix a puncture?
There is some inevitability that you will experience a puncture at some point – they always seem to be on the days when the weather is worse! But you can minimise the inconvenience with some pre-planning. Dealing with a puncture is nothing to be feared and we would advise taking some time to try and deal with one at home first. By taking a spare inner tube with you, you will reduce the inconvenience rather than mending the tube at the side of the road.
What should I eat or drink for cycling?
This can be a whole topic in its own right as you become more and more experienced and we address this further in other areas on the website and as part of the training. However, whatever level you are the fuel you put into your body plays a big part in the performance you will achieve. It is important to maintain a good level of hydration throughout a ride and water with added electrolytes will yield dividends as the mileage increases. For longer rides it is advisable to take gels, energy bars or a good old banana or jam sandwich so that you can replenish some of the carbohydrates you will need to perform.