Despite the infamous and patriotically depressing downfall of Lance Armstrong, cycling has been on the rise in the United States year after year. At one time or another, you may have been casually walking down the sidewalk on a hot summer day with nothing but joyous thoughts of purchasing an ice cream cone; when all of a sudden, a speeding bullet of padded Lycra (spandex) screams by you, too close for comfort, on their two wheeled steed. After the initial shock, you take a step back and laugh to yourself at the assailant’s goofy, oversized helmet and six water bottles under his seat. Their rooky status is then evident when you see the shark bite. I’m not talking about a heroic scar; I’m talking about the greasy chain ring print on the inner right leg. Trust me, you don’t want to be that guy. When you hit the road on your lightweight (hopefully) road beast, you want to make sure that you’re looking intimidating and not like a circus clown with a pay raise.
How to look like a pro and not like a schmo:
Buy a nice helmet. It’s the worst thing to skimp on. Not only will your silliness level increase, you are also sacrificing your safety. Get one that fits comfortably and well, since it will be worn every time you get on the bike. It should be snug on your head and the straps should be tightened until two fingers can barely fit between the strap and your neck. This way, when you flip over the bars in an epic endo trying to avoid a pesky pedestrian, you know that your helmet will stay in the same spot for maximum protection. Whatever you do, don’t put a mirror on the brim of your helmet. It’s the nerd accessory of cyclists. Who cares if you see the car that’s about to hit you anyways? I’d rather just not know about it.
Limit your water bottle holsters cowboy. Unless you’re training for a triathlon, you don’t need more than two water bottle cages on your bike; and don’t even think about putting any in a backpack, or worse, your cycle jersey’s rear pocket. Just bring enough water to stay hydrated. You don’t want to be pedaling around any more weight than necessary, right?
Don’t buy spandex that’s too tight. I’ve seen some lean mean looking cyclists on top of a nice ride. It’s very intimidating indeed having one of these guys pass you without a drop of sweat on their face going up a tough climb. They are clad with a full suite of matching lycra of course. That rider is probably passing a “circus cyclist” who appears to have donned a new belly cycling jersey before his ride. Either that or he bought a jersey too small for the beer belly. One can’t be sure.