Cycling: Making You Faster In Motorsports

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The more budget materials are aluminum and good ole steel/chromoly.  Titanium is another common high-end bike material for its ride characteristics, but they can't get as light as the carbon fiber bikes.  Anyways, the frame is the heart of the bike.  From there, you can pick your components groups (brakes, shifters, cranks, gear sets), wheels, and the smaller stuff like saddles, handle bars, stems, seat posts, and pedals.  The vast majority of the cost is split between the frame, components, and wheels.

 
Bikes usually do not come with pedals, so you'll need to buy pedals in addition to the bike.  The reason being there are quite a few clipless pedal designs and riders tend to have a strong preference.  Why do you want to get clipless pedals?  Having your feet locked into the pedals allows for more efficient power transfer along with being able to apply power through more of the pedal stroke.
 
I bought a set of LOOK pedals.  Each brand of pedal uses their own unique cleat designs to lock the shoes to the pedals.  Shimano is the industry standard and all the spin bikes at the gym are Shimano cleat compatible.  However, I would say based on my observations that most road cyclists use other brands of pedals.  Speedplay and Crank Brothers are popular pedal brands out here.  One thing to keep in mind is that some bicycle components have weight limits as they are designed to be as light as possible.  My pedals are only good for someone up to 200lbs.  If you are the size of an NFL offensive lineman, I don’t think I'd recommend a 14lbs carbon fiber bike.
 
 
I did get a pair of Shimano shoes as they were on sale and installed the LOOK cleats that come with the pedals.  I really wanted a pair of Sidi (I have Sidi motorcycle boots and love their fit) but they were out of my price range.  Helmet and eye protection are mandatory accessories while the gloves are optional.  For eyewear, I just use my Oakley Half Jackets which are my do-everything sports sunglasses.  I bought everything on sale except for the Oakleys.  As a friend likes to point out, I'm a cheap bastard.
 
 
So you have the bike, pedals, and shoes.  What else do you need?  I would recommend quite a bit of stuff.  Starting with apparel, a helmet and eye protection should be considered minimum safety equipment.  Concrete, asphalt, and rocks are very hard and it hurts really badly when you hit your head against said hard objects.  As for eye protection, it's hard to ride when sand, dirt, and bugs get in your eyes.  I wear contacts so the wind will dry my eyes out too.
 
For clothing, at the minimum, you'll want to buy padded cycling shorts.  Typical bike saddles are, I won't say a medieval torture device, but thin and not very comfortable.  Padded cycling shorts go a very long way in keeping your butt from screaming at you on long rides and also the day after.  Shorts range in cost from around $50 to a couple hundred.  
 
I bought two cycling jerseys to cover to the upper body.  One is short sleeve and the other long sleeve for when the temperature is below 70F.  My cousin told me I would need a long sleeved jersey for anything below 70F, and he raced pro in Europe.  Who am I to argue with that?  FYI, he was right, at least for the two of us being Florida boys and of Vietnamese decent.  The benefits to cycling jerseys are that they are form fitting so that they don't flap around in the wind and they also have a lot of pockets on the back.  The pockets are good for carrying things like food, energy gel packs, water bottle, tools, spare tubes, etc.  
 
Okay, so now you have the bike, pedals, shoes, clothes, and safety stuff.  What else do you need?  If you go for rides longer than 10 miles, you’ll want something to drink.  And you WILL get a flat tire at some point.  Therefore, you're going to need to carry stuff with you and a way to carry them.
 
 
I have two alloy something or other water bottle cages on the bike to hold fluids.  If you feel the need to bling out and save 20 grams in weight, you can spend around $100 on carbon fiber bottle cages.  I just added the bicycle pump and it is carbon fiber; yes, I bought it on sale for 40% off.  Oh yeah, you'll want a floor pump at home to air up your tires before a ride.  I suppose if you have the forearms of Popeye, you can make due with just the hand pump.
 

 

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