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5 Essential Pieces of Cycling Gear for Women

Updated on September 22, 2012
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Cycling is an awesome way to burn calories without putting strain on your joints through high impact aerobic exercise. Cycling can burn more than 500 calories an hour; that's with work, no coasting ladies! Cycling is a great activity for families to enjoy together or maybe you're interested in an individual sport to challenge yourself. To get started, you'll need to select a bike and make sure you have the correct apparel for your ride.

When you take up cycling, there are 5 essential pieces of equipment you need to get started:

  1. Bicycle
  2. Helmet
  3. Riding shoes
  4. Bike shorts
  5. Bike jerseys


1. Choosing the Right Fit Bicycle

What are your goals for cycling? Are you looking for a leisure activity or are you looking to compete in races? Do you want to ride on flat, paved surfaces or take on the challenge of a mountain trail? Your answers will help you choose the right style of bicycle for your needs, as well as highlight features you may want in your bike.

The Easy Going, Cruiser Bike

If you're looking for a no-frills, comfortable bicycle to pedal around on flat, paved roads then this is the bike for you. The nice, wide seat is comfortable for any rider. Fenders protect from splashes or loose dirt kicking up. This bike could have a basket added to it to carry purchases if you want to ride to the grocery store or market.

The Beginner Road Bike

This bike would be a good choice for a beginner looking for more control and speed. The light weight aluminum frame makes it easy to load or unload from a bike rack. It has 16 gears allowing you to shift while taking on hills or gaining speed on a flat straight away. There are 2 easily accessible water bottle mounts to keep your drinks close at hand so you don't have to stop. The handle bars offer multiple grip positions which help during races or longer rides. The height of the bars and the height of the seat can be adjusted to find your perfect fit to maximize your power.

The Mountain Bike

Mountain biking or trail riding is gaining popularity as women look to find new, thrilling workouts to change up their routines. Trail riding can be extremely challenging, but rewarding. A good mountain or trail bike should have wider, knobby tires as opposed to the smooth, skinny tires of a road bike. Trail bikes should have 21 gears, good suspension, and easily applied brakes. You will need good grips for your hands and wrists because rough terrain will wear them out easily.

2. Bike Helmets

Bike helmets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The differences in materials and aerodynamics affect the price. When adjusting the fit, make sure the brim of the helmet is the width of two fingers above your eyebrow. The helmet should fit snug, not tight, and it should not wiggle or slide. If you like to wear your hair in a pony tail, make sure there are vents in the back of the helmet that you can push your hair through to keep it off your neck. Store your helmet in a cool, dry place to prevent rot in the padding and straps. Follow manufacturer's suggested washing tips to keep dirt, sweat, and salt from ruining the helmet.

3. Riding Shoes

Unless you want to go all out on your road bike with pedal clips, any pair of athletic shoes are perfectly fine for cycling. Light weight shoes are ideal; running or trail shoes with good grips will help keep your foot securely on the pedals. Make sure your laces are tightly tied and are not dangling near the pedals. They easily wrap around and can cause foot and ankle injuries or cause you to crash.

If you do opt for clip shoes, you will need to change out the pedals on your bike to the special locking pedals. Practice in an empty parking lot until you are comfortable locking and unlocking each foot then both feet. Clip shoes and pedals increase the efficiency of each stroke when you're riding, making them ideal for races or long distance rides.

4. Bike Shorts

Like any pair of shoes works for cycling, so will any kind of athletic shorts or pants. The benefit to actual bike shorts is the padding, or chamois, in the seat to prevent saddle sores and abrasions from long rides. A good pair of bike shorts should be made of a wicking fabric and should fit snug to the body. There are different types of pads depending on your comfort, so you should try several brands to find your best fit. The compression of the shorts will help with circulation in your legs for longer rides. Tri-shorts are another option if you are competing in a triathlon. You can swim, bike, and run in the same shorts, saving time in your transitions.

Consider bright white or neon colors to help make you more visible to other riders or to traffic if you're riding on the roadway. Reflective patches or tape will help make you more visible for night time rides.

5. Bike Jerseys

You can wear any kind of athletic apparel top for riding, but bike jerseys won't ride up, flap in the wind, or trap your body heat. They are designed to improve your aerodynamics, as well as keep the body cool while riding. Race jerseys have pockets on the back making great places to store energy supplements and snacks. Bright colors and patterns make you more visible. They are meant to fit snug, but you will need to try on several cuts and styles to find the best fit for your body. With that kind of variety, you can easily match your jerseys to your bike, helmet, and shorts!

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