This is the second post of 3 for Triathlon Tips for Beginners. Last week I published Triathlon Tips for Beginners (Part 1-Swim)
Biking is probably the easiest activity to start yet still has it’s dangers. Make sure you have your equipment inspected by a bike shop, a good quality helmet, bright cloths and lights. Even if your riding in daylight. It never hurts to make sure you can be seen by the many drivers on the roads.
- Tip 1 – Safety
It goes without saying that safety should be #1. This is especially true while biking. Have your bike and shoes inspected to make sure they’re in good shape. Notice that this is the second time this is mentioned. Have a good quality helmet. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive but usually the higher the price the more comfortable and light weight it is.
- Tip 2 – Start small and be mentally comfortable
Triathlon is about endurance. Meaning, you need to build up to your race distance. Don’t start with a 20+ mile ride at 18-22 mph. Start with a short ride at a comfortable pace and make sure your mentally and physically comfortable on your bike. Practice clipping in and un-clipping your shoes to stop. You might fall over, everyone does. Aim for the grass.
Practice taking turns slow and then with a little speed. Feel how you have to handle the bike differently. If you have aero bars give them a try for short periods. If you just feel very uncomfortable or it hurts to ride you may need to visit the bike shop and have them do a fitting (adjust the bike for your body). Physical comfort is a necessity.
Plan a route that will keep you off major roads. If possible ride with a buddy and try to ride outside of the rush hours in your area. For example, where I live, as soon as the schools let out and everyone is headed home from work is the worst time you could ride on the streets. I ride in the early mornings with TCCR and we typically have the roads to ourselves while people are still sleeping. Parks with run/bike trails are also great places to ride.
Some sites that can be used to plan bike routs are Garmin Connect, ridewithgps.com, Strava or MapMyRide. All of them work about the same and probably already have popular routs for your area. I’ve used all three and if you have a Garmin and want turn notifications check out this blog post: Route Mapping on Garmin FR920, Fenix 3 and Edge
- Tip 3 – Be social
This can be a tough one. I typically keep to myself until I know the people around me and can relate to them. Bike riding and Triathlon training is a great conversation starter. Find a local bike club or social ride with a shop and just show up. Let someone know your new. You most likely aren’t the only one.
Note: Unless your riding with all triathletes who will space themselves appropriately don’t use your aero bars. This is for the safety of you and everyone else around you.
- Tip 4 – Set a goal
This is a recurring and important tip. It helps to have something to strive for and to motivate you. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to loose wight, ride 35 miles without taking a break, ride 15 miles at a certain speed or to keep up with a training group. Goals allow us to achieve what we see as impossible. When you meet your goal, take a moment to reflect and set a new one. One of my goals starting out was to ride my planned distance. Speed didn’t matter. If my plan for the day was 20 or even 60 miles I kept at it until it was done. Even if I had to stop and take a break.
What tips have you learned along the way? I would love to hear them.
Follow the Blog to receive an E-mail when Triathlon Tips for Beginners (Part 3) is published next week.