Go from rookie cyclist to respected newbie with these tips

Since, we’re on the subject of bikes, I’d like to continue it by offering a few lessons I’ve learned over the years regarding cycling.

1. Look the part! Never wear underwear under your cycling shorts. The objective of the cycling short is to protect your bottom from chaffing. Underwear with a chamois will CAUSE chaffing. So ditch those panties, briefs, thongs, whatever you do and get yourself one cycling outfit and wear it on your rides!

2. Seat height: One of the most common problem I see happening with new cyclists is that they are not properly set up on their bikes. If your seat is TOO LOW, you could injure your knees. If your seat is TOO HIGH, your butt will rock in the saddle. Please have your seat height adjusted with a bike fit specialist. Most bike shops will offer a complete fitting for $50 which I think would be VERY worth the money as a proper fit can ensure a comfortable ride.

3. Helmet: Please invest in a decent helmet and wear it properly. Cheaply made helmets should be left for a bike rental. The straps should fit comfortably under your chin. The triangles on the sides fit around your ears. The helmet should fit your head and sit at or below your hairline. Best bet would be to try them on at the bike shop. Your glasses are put on after the helmet and over the straps.

4. Be prepared: Before you leave home, check your tire pressure. This is huge! When looking at the sides of the tire, you should be able to locate the amount in pounds that the tire needs. I usually pump my road bike tires up to 120lbs and the mountain bike up to 35lbs. You should always carry a repair kit, tube and a pump or CO2 cartiridge in case of a flat.

5. Hydration needs: You will need at least one bottle of a performance drink (not Gatorade) or water per hour on the bike. Plan on water fountains or convenience stores to replenish your hydration needs.

6. Be friendly to other cyclists, always. If you’re passing someone, say hello! Use key words like “left”, “right” or “car back” or “hole” when riding in a group situation. It’s also polite to ride with those you left with- don’t ride “with a friend” by riding 200 yards in front or behind them, that’s just being rude.

The amazing garage gymonly thing missing is a car!

I have created a workout space at home. I love the flexibility I have to throw on some clothes and jump into my garage and squeeze in a workout daily. My original intent on improving this space was to create a welcoming environment so that I may feel motivated to practice yoga at home. Confession time: is that I havent done a lot of yoga at home lately. This is another goal of mine for 2009, to create the environment and dedicate specific time slots to practice yoga at home. But, I also use this space for weight training and indoor cycling workouts.

How did I create my home gym?

  1. Clean, clean and clean some more. In our garage, we have the floor painted gray with specks that is paint specific for garages. It needed serious scrubbing before I could even put my yoga mat on the floor! We also had five or six little mice living out there, which needed to be taken care of, first!!
  2. Organized, and donated as much as I could. There is more that could be done in this area. This is one space that is completely dedicated to fitness equipment and Ive worked really hard to keep it clean. Those two lovely black marks are actually where two of the bikes are stored. Plans are to cover that space with some relaxing Yoga posters and install a fabric cover for the shelf unit (that stuff has to be there but I dont want to stare at it!!)
  3. Workout mat. These are a low cost item that can be purchased at your local sports store. They look like large puzzle pieces that are fitted together. This space that has been created by the mats is where we mount the bikes in the trainers.
  4. TV. We have a 1990s TV (hand me down from the parents) hooked up to a dual VCR/DVD player. When my husband is on his bike, he will watch reruns of the Tour de France! If its my turn on the bike, I will turn on an old romantic comedy, and have my IPOD hooked up. Another thing I like to do is multi-task while Im on my bike such as watch instructional fitness DVDs while Im riding. Recently I purchased a Kettlebell and I need to learn the skills involved in lifting it!
  5. Setting the mood: Particularly for yoga, Id like to have some posters to hang on the walls to help me keep my mind on yoga- not on how unorganized the rest of the garage is!! Also, I plan on adding some fabric to this table to hide all the stuff that is hiding underneath the table. Yoga demands concentration for all of the poses but specifically for the balance ones, and Id really like to see some calming, material there to keep me in the zone.
  6. Weights. We were lucky enough to have some neighbors who gave us a weight bench. Its a great set except, so far, I havent used it enough. There is so little space in the garage – we have 8 bikes plus kid bikes out there- that I cant pull the bench out of its spot. So, I have purchased hand weights in 10, 15, and 20 pounds. I also have one 15 pound Kettlebell and the 8 pound medicine ball. This is one area in which Im not sure aboutwe are still paying for a gym membership as I love the flexibility it gives me especially when I am home with my kids, but with the home gym equipment, I already need 25 pound hand weights! As I get stronger, I will need to lift heavier..

So, the question is do I continue to invest in heavier weights or just get my butt to the gym?

In the end, Im totally happy with my flexibility for workouts at home! There is still more I can do, but, I can be absolutely productive out there. (Weve never had cars in our garage, ha!!)

Now, its your turn. Do you have a space at home where you could workout if you wanted? What workouts do you do at home?