Article by guest blogger Andrew Obrecht.
When the weather starts to warm up, we’re all eager to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Fortunately, summer can be a great time to move your exercise routine outdoors, especially if you enjoy being on the bike. For those thinking of making the move from indoor to outdoor riding, I’ve got five tips to make your summer transition a little smoother.
1. Build up your base
Getting out on the road can be intimidating, and not having the cardio base before you do can make it even scarier. Before you get out on the road, find a group fitness class to build your cardio. It doesn’t have to be a spin class, but it can be helpful to try something with similar motions to outdoor riding. If you’ve never used clip-in pedals before, spin classes are a great way to practice clipping in and out without the risk of wiping out. Try downloading the Mind Body app to find spin studios or group classes near you.
2. Choose your riding style
Decide what kind of riding you want to do. Whether that’s a four-hour road ride, or a 45-minute cruise on a pathway, each style has different requirements when it comes to skill and equipment. Road biking, casual riding or mountain biking are all a lot of fun and have their own communities regardless of skill level.
3. Get the right gear
Once you’ve chosen your riding style you’ll need to get fitted with the proper gear. Bikes can range in size and fit depending on the brand, so it’s best to have a professional set you up on the proper bike. Sporting Life has an incredibly educated team that can help you get set up. If you’d like an idea of what Sporting Life has available before you come in, check out www.sportinglife.ca. After you’ve got your bike, you’ll need a helmet, shoes (if your bike has clip-in pedals), the right clothes and protective pads if you’re trying out mountain biking. Make sure you know how to use the gear as well. If you’re going out for more than a leisurely ride, it’s a great idea to watch some videos on how to change or patch a tube so a flat doesn’t ruin your day.
4. Know the Rules
Take some time to refresh your knowledge of signals and cycling etiquette. Plan your route and make sure it’s suited to the type of riding you want to do. There are plenty of route planning apps like Strava, or “Calgary By Bike” by local Calgarian, Mike’s Bloggity, for more leisurely rides. Calgary has an amazing network of paths and trails for all types of riding.
It’s also important to know your limits. Don’t get out on busy roads if you’re not comfortable with the basics. There’s nothing worse than a scary experience to set you back from outdoor riding!
5. Make it social
If you’re transitioning from indoor to outdoor riding, there’s a good chance one of your favourite parts is the social aspect – this can still be the case for outdoor riding. The Calgary riding community is a tight knit group and there are plenty of ways to find riding buddies. Try reaching out to friends or people you spin with, or ask the Sporting Life team for recommendations and community rides that they put on every Tuesday and Thursday evenings this summer. A quick search on Google can also bring up plenty of great options for riding groups. There’s a wide range of groups with different skill levels and interests, from those who like to take it slow and bike to a spot for lunch or ice cream, to those who enjoy being a little more competitive. There’s no shortage of options in Calgary to keep riding fun and social.
I hope you all have the best summer of riding and hope that some of these tips will lead you to an amazing season of exploring our incredible outdoors. But, if you’re ever craving that adrenaline rush, thumping beats and lights of the studio, I’ll always keep a bike open at YYC Cycle.
Andrew Obrecht is one of the Founders and Motivators of popular spin studio YYC Cycle. The studio was founded by three ambitious, born-and-raised Calgarians who saw an opportunity to offer an innovative, dynamic form of group exercise that breaks the mold of traditional indoor cycling. Along with their team of Motivators, YYC Cycle provides the community with an incredible fitness and lifestyle experience that extends beyond the studio doors. There’s a reason Andrew has been described as a Fire Starter, Passion Seeker and Connector: Much the way he does in spin class, Andrew will inspire and motivate you in all areas of your life.