As a new cyclist, the idea of group rides with stronger riders can be intimidating. No one wants to be the one holding up the crew and getting dropped never feels good. This can be an especially difficult challenge for women, who are often raised to be less assertive when it comes to demonstrating confidence in their athletic abilities. It ends up having long-term consequences and can decrease overall satisfaction with the sport. As devout cyclists will pretty much all tell you, training with stronger riders is one of the best ways to improve and develop your abilities.
Tips to choose equipment
You probably know that a helmet is a must for safety. The right type of clothes and bike will also make cycling safer and more comfortable.
These have high-tech fibers that wick away moisture. They are usually neon-colored, with reflective material so you'll be visible to drivers. Bike shorts have a thick pad or chamois to prevent chafing and provide cushioning.
Look for one that puts less stress on your body, such as a beach cruiser or comfort bike. They have high-rise handlebars that enable you to sit upright, wide tires for a smooth ride, shock-absorbing seat posts, and low top tubes so you don't have to swing your leg too high to mount the bike (allow at least an inch or two of clearance between you and the tube). If mounting a bike is difficult, look for a step through bicycles that feature top tubes just six inches off the ground.
Other bike types include tricycles, which are helpful if you are less stable on your feet, and recumbent bikes that allow you to lean back and ride. A recumbent bike puts your spine in a flexed position and gives you pain relief. But if you have a herniated disk, the bike can make the disk bulge more.
Get one with extra padding that's wide enough to support the pair of bones you sit on. Go even further with a saddle that relieves pressure on the perineum, the area between those bones, behind the genitals. It's home to nerves and arteries that supply the lower body, and too much pressure here may cause numbness and tingling in the legs.