Refresh Your Ride
Comfort on Contact : Candice Covello
Here are some inexpensive and easy things you can do to personalize the feel of your ride where your bits meet your bike. Easy on your body and easy on your wallet.
Let's talk about your hands. They're important. They do the shifting and lifting on climbs and descents. You want those arm-stars to be comfortable and ready to rock and roll.
Gloves: I ALWAYS recommend wearing gloves while riding, even when it’s hot. Gloves will help your sweaty hands stick to the bars! Plus, if you ever crash (it happens to the best of us) you want to make sure those suckers are covered. Hand abrasions suck.
Grips and Bar Tape: Try them before you buy them! A few things to consider when you’re looking for new grips and bar tape are width, texture and material. For MTB, cruiser and recreational bikes you will find all kinds of different styles of grips – the best way to tell if you'll like it is to feel it. Bar tape for your road bike is a little easier. Bar tape is usually made of cork or foam and has different thicknesses and colors.
Although your legs do most of the work on a bike, your booty takes the abuse. A good pair of shorts and the right saddle can make all the difference in the world of comfort.
*I won’t go into ALL of the details of saddle fit, because most saddle fitting procedures depend on the shape of your... “sit”... region… which varies greatly from person to person. What usually doesn’t vary too much is the width of the sits bones and that is a great place to start.
Width: Saddles come in different sizes! We have this handy tool at the bike shop that you can sit on and it measures the distance between your sits bones. Always get measured before you buy.
A saddle that is too wide will push your sits bones apart, which can cause bruising. A saddle that is too narrow can cause damage to your soft tissues. Both of those are bad. And unpleasant. So come in... we can measure your sits for FREE!!!
Curvature and Density: Whoa – big words. Okay, so you know how you see those hard-core roadies and mountain bikers and they’re on these little bitty seats. Well… a narrow, flat and hard saddle can be more comfortable than a big squishy gel saddle, depending upon the kind of riding you do. It’s all about what position you’re riding in! Check out these Bontrager saddle fit diagrams:
Dense saddles seem hard, but often they are more supportive than a squishy seat – AND they help to keep your circulation flowing through your seat region.
If you’ve tried a dense saddle and you wish you had a bit more padding, try a pair of padded shorts. The benefits of padded shorts significantly outweighs the dorky feeling you get when wearing them. Because the pad moves with your body they help keep blood moving allowing for proper circulation while riding! Good stuff.
Cut Outs: Have you seen those saddles with the hole in the middle? That hole is called a “relief zone.” I have a saddle with a cut out and it works great for me, but they don’t work for everyone.
Be sure to give your saddle a try before you commit to it. Saddles have a break in period of approximately ten good rides. Some manufacturers, like Bontrager, offer a comfort trial. You can buy a Bontrager saddle, ride on it for 30 days, and if it doesn’t feel right, return or exchange it and try another on.
Saddle Fit: Once you’ve picked the right saddle, you want to make sure it’s installed on your bike at the right angle. If you’re not sure how to set up your saddle, swing in. We offer saddle fit options. Click here to view pricing.
There are two types of pedals that we’ll go over – clipless and flats. Certain shoes are designed to work with different types of pedals, and I touch on that too.
Clipless Pedals: Clipless pedals are equipped to work with certain shoes. A little metal bit on the bottom of your shoe “clips” into a receiver on the pedal. This allows you to lock your feet into a comfortable position and it allows you to use your legs to pull up on the pedals as well as push down. Pulling up and pushing down gives you more control of your cadence, and it works different muscles. I highly recommend using clipless pedals if: you ride long distances, you have knee or leg discomfort while you ride, you want to maintain an even cadence.
Clipless Shoes: There are two types of clipless pedals: road and mountain. Road cleats mount to your shoe with 3 bolts, they are not really designed to walk around in, so if you plan on walking a lot, try mountain bike pedals and shoes. Mountain style cleats mount to your shoe with two bolts, and mountain style shoes also have more tread on the bottom so it’s easier to get of the bike and walk. This picture shows road shoes vs. mountain bike shoes.
Flat Pedals: Also called platform pedals… these are great for all types of riding.
Shoes for Riding Flat Pedals: You can wear all kinds of shoes with flats. My FAVORITE shoes for flats are Five Tens. They have a really grippy sole, so it kinda feels like you’re clipped in. AND they have a nice rigid sole, so you don’t get sore feet.