Live the DIY Lifestyle one bike ride at a time
The DIY Lifestyle is about doing what you love while staying active and in shape. Garet is definitely following his dreams and doing just that! I’d like to thank Garet for his time and effort in getting us this super informative article. This guy knows more about bikes than anyone I will EVER know. To him, riding isn’t only a passion it’s a lifestyle.
Having plenty of them is great. Unfortunately choices of how to stay in shape while maintaining an already busy life are relatively slim.
There are the basics, such as going to a gym, running, or swimming at a pool. All these things are great, but not for everyone. Maybe the gym isn’t your scene, or your running days are overdue to knee issues, and going to a pool isn’t feasible time-wise.
Cycling allows you the opportunity to jump right from your front doorstep and go for a ride that, depending on your style, will either give you a great workout or just the ability to stretch your legs and enjoy some fresh air.
Its physical and mental health benefits span far and wide and its uses as a tool range from fitness to utilitarian purposes. There are many different disciplines of cycling, from your simple just for fun riders, to the highest race levels on and off the road.
So where do you begin? Start with what kind of ride you plan on seeing yourself doing. Pavement or off-road?
Long rides, or short jaunts? There are street, paved trails, gravel, and off-road trail riding options in almost any community. You can basically ride a bike anywhere you can imagine, but you have to look at what you want and sometimes, more importantly, can do ride-wise.
That will help decide the type of bike you get.
One thing is to consider when looking at what kind of riding you want to do is time. What kind of time do you have to dedicate each day, week, and month? The less time, the more crucial it is to have easy access to riding from your home and be out the door as quickly as possible
For those with less time, fitness hybrids or a basic cruiser that you can use to ride out of your front door is the best choice.
Choose a fitness hybrid if you want to seek out cycling as a tool for getting into shape, or go for the basic cruiser if you purely just want to get out and spin around for fun.
Want to get into serious road riding and maybe join along with a local group road ride? Then the road bike is the best choice. Road bikes have drop handlebars that allow you different hand positions for when you do longer or harder rides. They are also going to be the lightest of the cycling bunch allowing more speed and agility.
They have less meat on the tire and take a little more handling skills. But if it’s your style, you’ll be rewarded with a bike that is a blast to ride on the streets and roads and will provide you with unlimited fitness opportunities right out of your front door.
Gravel traveler? Living in rural areas allows almost endless gravel riding potential. These rocky roads are great not only because they’re less traveled by vehicles, but they also usually take the route least taken which usually ends up in more picturesque areas. A cyclocross bike is the fastest means of riding gravel.
It’s basically a road bike with knobbier and higher volume tires. You can usually ride any bike with a knobby tire on gravel, as it will give you the traction you need. Some bikes will just give you a smoother, easier, and faster ride depending on their style.
Mountain bikes also work well on gravel and provide a slightly slower but more comfortable ride with their bigger tires.
How about if you have more time and say want to be a bit more adventuresome? Well, then it’s the trails you seek. There are two types, paved and not paved. Paved trails are popping up more and more and allow a rider to be in their own environment free of cars and traffic.
Some trails span for miles, while others just use short sections to connect the city. Any bike can be used on bike paths, but pavement-oriented ones are the most efficient. Then you have the unpaved trails. There are trails like the KatyTrail which is a fine gravel trail, and then there are mountain bike trails.
Mountain bike trails usually take the most ride time overall, mainly because you usually have to travel 10-30 minutes to get to the trail. But if you have the time, it’s well worth it.
Mountain bike trails will take you deep into the woods along the natural features of the land that will challenge you both physically and technically.
There are easier trails to learn on, and then advanced trails to test your skills. A dedicated mountain bike is the best choice for off-road trail riding. You can seek out all kinds of trails usually through your local bike shop.
The local bike shop is your hub for knowledge. They can set you up with the right bike, and help you along the way with any questions you have or equipment needs you’ll run into.
Cycling can be an inexpensive hobby, or a high-end obsession with all the latest, greatest, lightest bikes and new gear. It is worth noting that if you see yourself getting into riding on a somewhat regular basis, a good bike will do wonders. Bike shop brand bikes are professionally built, maintained, and overall will be of a higher quality than a department store bike.
You also will usually get some service work included in a new bike purchase that will ensure the bike runs as perfectly as possible. In the end, the extra money spent in the front end will save you big on the backside.
Cycling is so many things to so many people. The bottom line is it’s a way to get out, enjoy the outdoors, and ultimately do good for your mind and body.
How you go about it is up to you…
Ride on, have fun, and seek out new things, people, and places. It’s not hard to do from behind a handlebar.
- Choices by Garet Steinmetz - September 3, 2014
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