I was asked to write an article on various aspects of cycling that would be relevant to our group. Realizing that this could take me in many different directions and be lengthy (I like to be descriptive); I hope this will be informative as well as inspiring!

The Tour de France ended last week with the top cyclists and teams competing in this 21 stage Herculean task! If you want to watch the best in the world (and see beautiful scenery) watch it next year.

It always begins early July. Three years ago, La Course by Le Tour de France was started. This is the women’s race and it is held on the last day of the tour. It is wonderful to see this addition to the tour line up! This is a way to get inspired!  All stages can be found on YouTube or google.

On the local level OTCC is listing weekly and some individually called rides from no drop, friendly, (a good way to begin group riding) to rides of different speeds and distances.

Formal rides are typically listed as

  • AA-21mph+avg.
  • A-18-21mph avg.
  • BB-16-18mph avg.
  • B-15-17mph avg.
  • CC-12-14mph avg.
  • C-14 and under avg.

Event rides are a SAG (support and gear provided) ride and a way to experience a variety of new locations and meet new cyclists. One thinks of these as safer, but experience in group riding is helpful.

  • Cycling is as diverse as is our terrain and geography.
  • Off road/ Mountain bike riding is a way to experience this. The terrain and elevation and recent weather conditions will dictate how technical the ride will be.
  • Road/ Race is usually a “lighter” bicycle on a road or track.
  • Cyclocross is a hybrid of road and mountain and done off road.
  • We are fortunate to see many physically challenged (PC)athletes competing today!
  • Miles for Smiles (Event ride- Fundraiser here August 6) and Megan’s House Duathlon/Triathlon held Aug. 20 at LWSP (drcsports.com) support these individuals.

Locally, we have many wonderful rural areas to ride on and off road in various counties, including LWSP which connects to the Swamp Park. It may be possible to find a rental that fits at LWSP.

When traveling, research your destination prior to arrival. Fernandina and Jekyll Island provide rentals. It is helpful to have a reasonable fitting bike so as not to get injured.

Bikes

It is imperative to have a bike that you intend to purchase be the correct bike type and fit for you. Talk with others who have purchased a bike from a shop and see if they were satisfied. Did they get the service and fit they desired?

If you are not bike savvy, it is important to be able to have a resource to get help. Ordering online makes this challenging. If it is not the right bike for you, don’t purchase it no matter how good the deal is.

Do your research as it is an Investment! Speaking of bicycle mechanics, Global Cycling Network is a helpful online tool. Need help to learn to change a flat – just google and practice.

You should carry the necessary equipment (for flats or bike tweaking) and fuel (nutrition) for the length of your ride. Nutrition needs and tolerances are very individual and would be another article altogether.

I finally learned what worked for me and my husband after we completed the Beach to Battleship Ironman in 2009. A full ironman is a distance that will test your endurance and fuel needs for sure!

Understanding Bicycle Traffic Laws is a must! Go to www.bicyclega.com to be as safe as possible. In this era of cellphones and texting it is more hazardous now than ever. Many persons in our area do not recognize bicycles as vehicles with rights and privileges.

The Ice-Tea grant used funds (included a bike path from the downtown depot to the swamp park) a number of years ago in a way that wasted federal and state funds on a route that could not safely be traveled on a bicycle and many plants could not survive in the locations they were placed.

Only the downtown funds to help with the REA railway depot were beneficial. Please be involved at a local, state national and even international level if you are so inclined. If you travel out of the country, you will see how other countries depend greatly on cycling for transportation, sport and recreation.

If it has been years since you have been on a bike, come and try a spin class at the Childers Family YMCA. I will be happy to provide you with a guest pass to a class.  If you would like to train indoors, you can get a trainer for your bike. There a many  training videos online! “Spinnervals” has a large number on YouTube.

There is something incredible about riding a bicycle. You are never too old! If you are interested in watching some of the world’s best, the upcoming Olympics will hold a variety of cycling event; so stay tuned!

May your helmet get used and feet turn the pedals,
Cheryl B. Monroe