There is nothing quite like the freedom of a bicycle. From long road rides, to gravel adventures, to adrenaline pumping mountain bike rips, it is so easy to have fun on two wheels. The hard part is figuring out where to start. Between the bike itself, the gear, and trails, there is a lot to consider. Gearo is here to help you get started on your next biking adventure with our Bikes 101.
Step 1: What type of biking are you interested in?
The three main types of biking are road biking, mountain biking, and cyclocross/gravel.
Road Biking: This type of biking can be summed up as longer endurance rides on paved roads. Road bikes have the distinct curled handlebars, light frames, and skinny tires with slick treads. Many people find this type of cycling as a form of low impact cardio. It’s widely considered that three miles road biking translates into one mile of running without all the pressure on your knees or hips. Because the bike is meant for the road, there are no specific ‘trails’. Depending on the area, many roads have bike lanes or less traffic which make for great routes. One should always be cautious of cars while road biking. Check out this Global Cycling Network video to get an idea of what road biking looks like.
Mountain Biking: This type of biking is very versatile. The bike is a much heftier frame with options for suspension (much like a car) in order to make it easier to ride in rough terrain. The wheels are large in width and have big treads in order to get traction on a multitude of surfaces. Full suspension bikes are typically used for downhill or very technical riding in rocky terrain. Hardtail bikes are great for more long distance rides on smoother surfaces. Mountain biking, as the name implies, usually is done in mountainous or hilly areas. Specific trails are designated for mountain biking which makes it slightly less accessible than road biking. Check out this Global Cycling Network video to get an idea of what mountain biking looks like.
Cyclocross/Gravel: This type of biking combines road and mountain biking. The bike is lighter than a mountain bike but slightly heavier than a road bike. The wheels are skinnier like a road bike but have treads similar to a mountain bike. This combination makes the bike great for riding on gravel roads or smooth trails and is comfortable for long distances. Those looking to explore gravel roads will find significantly less traffic and more resistance in their workout. These bikes are also used for a sport called cyclocross. Cyclocross races are held on closed loop courses with many different terrain and feature challenges. It is pretty intense but super fun. Check out these Global Cycling Network videos to get an idea of what each looks like.
Step 2: Choose a bike
Once you figure out what type of biking you are looking to do, it’s time to find a bike. This is probably the hardest part of the process. You need to consider so many different components and factors. It can be overwhelming. We’ve gathered the most important elements to help you in the process.
- Identify the bike type (refer to Step 1)
- Know what size you need
Bike size depends on several factors. Check out this article for more specific sizing info for bikes of all types.
- Determine what elements are important to you.
Do you want a lighter frame to increase speed? A heavier one to improve the stability? Hardtail for smooth, long mountain bike rides? Full suspension for more technical riding?
There are A LOT of special features, don’t be afraid to research or ask what difference each makes.
- Adjust it to fit your body.
The seat post height is the most important adjustment to make. Check out this article for more specifics on making your bike the most comfortable.
Step 3: Find a route
Now for the fun part. Once you sort the details of the right bike, planning the next adventure begins. There are many resources to find where to go for each discipline.
Road Biking: Check out Ride With GPS to find routes all over the world. Another great option is to head to your local bike shop. They usually run weekly group rides which are great ways to explore your area and meet more cyclists!
Mountain Biking: Check out the MTB Project for all the mountain biking trails of your wildest dreams. Their site has a great rating system along with a plethora of information on each trail. For Denver trails, check out our blog post for our favorites.
Gravel Biking: Check out this map for gravel roads in your area. For cyclocross, many cities have specific parks dedicated to the sport.
With the right information, getting out on a bike is easy. We hope our Bikes 101 help you with your next bike adventure!