With spring coming up pretty soon, you might be thinking of ways to get out, get healthy and enjoy the gorgeous weather when it comes.
One great activity to get into is bike riding.
If you have a bike already, great. But if you don't-- no worries. Mat Seelinger, owner of Spokes Little Rock-- a premier bike shop in the heart of Little Rock-- highlights four things you should know to get your riding journey started off right:
Where are you going to ride the bike?
If you are on a search for a new bike, this is the first question you should ask yourself. "It dictates what bike you will ride," he said. There are generally four classifications of bikes: cruiser, city, road and mountain. If you're looking for a super-casual easy rider bike, look no further than a cruiser, which can be ridden on pavement. A city bike is a little different. "It gives you possibilities anywhere-- trails, gravel, streets," Seelinger said. Road bikes are for those who want to stick to cycling and even get into racing, while mountain bikes are ideal for people who are adventurous and want to tackle the mountain bike trails.
Get the bike to fit you
After deciding the type for you, finding the perfect size for your body is crucial, because let's face it-- if you're not comfortable, you're not going to want to ride. So many times, riders make the mistake of getting a bike that is too small for them or one that is way too big, which can create discomfort and even injury. "The most important [thing to look at] is the distance between the nose of the saddle to the handle bars," Seelinger said. "This dictates how far your stretches are." The folks at Spokes can fine-tune your bike fit with a new bike or even one you already have.
Get geared up
What is the most important piece of equipment to have one while riding? You guessed it-- a helmet. "Things happen so fast when you’re on a bike," he said, "it doesn’t take much to fall down." If you already have one in stock, make sure it is still intact and hasn't been damaged. It's good to have a helmet that is in tip-top shape, so if the helmet has been compromised at all, it's probably a good idea to get a new one. And also make sure it fits your head properly. That's also something the Spokes staff can help adjust for you. When you're shopping for one, it's important not to take shortcuts, Seelinger added.
Another thing that is recommended are gloves. "All riders should have gloves," he said. They not only help wick the sweat from your hands as you ride, keeping away those pesky blisters and irriation, but if you fall, gloves protect your hands and take the impact.
One last thing to keep on board, Seelinger said, is a flat repair kit. "We always recommend a kit for people who are going to venture far out." What the Spokes staff does is put a little saddle bag on the bike with a spare tube, tire wrench and seal-to-air canister to air the new tube up.
Not too fast...
After getting the right bike that fits you to a T and getting stocked up on all the right gear, it's time to hit the trail. The thing to remember is control is key. "Don't ride over your head-- riding faster than they need to go," Seelinger said. Many times, riders think they can take on what ever trail at what ever speed they want. He said it's a good idea to take it easy and ride a trail that is at your skill level. On those gorgeous spring days, or winter ones in our case, many people take to the Arkansas River Trail to go on a walk, run or ride. On those busy days, it's always a good idea to slow it down and always be aware of others. "Be in control," he said.
See what trails are out there here and if you're wanting to start your new biking journey, stop by Spokes at 1001 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, or call (501) 664-7765 to get a little help.