The sun is rising in the distance, and the landscape at your side becomes a hypnotic blur as you set out on your road biking journey.
The stress of the work week seems to fade behind you, as if you left it in a pile under the last cluster of trees you passed. Your mind clears, and all that consumes your thoughts is how crisp the morning air is, as the pavement pulls your tires forward like a magnetic force.
Pavement is one thing there is no shortage of. Whether you prefer the excitement of the city or the calmness of the country, you will never have a hard time finding the backdrop of your choice. Enjoy a quiet ride through rolling green hills one day and ocean views on the road paralleling the coast the next. The possibilities are endless. For many, there is nothing in the world quite like road biking.
Road Biking Begins
Created for maximum speed and competitive racing, road racing bicycles tend to be more lightweight than any other style of bike. They are also one of the oldest varieties. It is suggested that the earliest models were first put to the test on May 31, 1868, in a road biking 1.2-kilometer race at the Parc de Saint-Cloud in Paris, France.
An Englishman by the name of James Moore took the race on a wooden bike with iron tires. By 1896, bicycling had become so popular it was introduced to the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Compared to other types of bicycles, some consider road bikes to be less comfortable. However, their design and weight makes them perfect for long distance rides. On these bikes, the rider’s weight is distributed towards the front to create a more aerodynamic riding position.
Plus, the tire pressure is two times less than what you find in mountain bikes. Rolling resistance is reduced due to the decreased tire pressure, and optimal speed can be achieved because of the rider’s aerodynamic position.
Where Should You Ride?
Due to the narrow profile and high pressure of the tires, road bikes are best used on paved surfaces. From blissful beach cruises to climbs over majestic mountains, inspiring road biking routes can be found around the world.
Inner city rides can be engaging, but most will agree that the most enjoyed journeys are found beyond city limits. Nothing can compare to accidently stumbling upon a country road you have never been on, and discovering that it coils through unfamiliar farmlands and enchanted forests. This type of experience is not one you can be blessed with sitting behind your computer or watching TV.
Did you know...?
Did you know that special features are available for road bicycles to make the rider more comfortable?
With an endless supply of exciting routes for lengthy road biking trips, you will appreciate that many road bikes feature seats with deep central recesses or grooves. These relieve pressure from the base of the spine and genitals. Be sure to consider this feature when you buy your road bike.
Similar to mountain bikes, modifications are done on road bikes to make them better suited for casual rides in the city.
Single speed bikes, often referred to as "fixed gear bikes," are a great example of this type of modification. As their name implies, they have only a single gear ratio. Road bikes can also be modified for bicycle touring over significant distances.
If you enjoy a little friendly competition, you will want to find out if your city has any cycling clubs or organized races. Many areas offer criterium, trial, stage, and hill climb races inside and outside city limits.
Equipment for a More Enjoyable Ride
The more comfortable you are, the more you will enjoy your ride. When you enjoy your ride you will want to travel farther and more frequently. Since you spend a substantial amount of time in the saddle while road biking, you will want to take advantage of the available selection of specialized cycling equipment.
- Gloves - Holding onto the handle bars on a short ride may not invoke a thought about protecting your hands, but on a long ride, finger numbness and calluses are inevitable. Something as simple as padded bicycle gloves may be the determining factor in whether you take the rewarding scenic route home, or not.
- Shorts - Since you will be sitting for long periods, investing in quality spandex cycling shorts is recommended. They contain a chamois (pronounce shammy) that provides your bottom with padding you will truly appreciate. These shorts also provide a full range of motion and reduce wind resistance. Many are even made of a moisture-wicking material to keep you cool and dry by pulling moisture away from your skin.
- Jerseys - Fitted cycling jerseys are also recommended for road biking. The cut along the back accommodates the rider's bent-over position. These are often made of moisture-wicking material, as well, and their tight fit reduces air resistance. Plus, cycling nutrition, repair tools, and spare bicycle inner tubes can be carried in the rear pockets.
- Pedals and Shoes - Special bicycle pedals, also called "clipless pedals," and bike riding shoes are a couple more elements that will increase your comfort on the road. When the stiff sole of the cycling shoe is combined with the pedal's locking mechanism, you literally feel like the pedal is an extension of your leg. You essentially become one with the bike. You cannot appreciate how exhilarating this is until you experience it firsthand. Additionally, this combination generates increased momentum while road biking from both upward and downward pedal strokes.
Where to Buy Road Biking Bikes?
If you are interested in buying road bicycles, you can always buy them at your local bicycle store, however there is another alternative: you can buy mountain bikes at one of these trusted online stores:
Road Bicycles on eBay
Books about Road Biking
For more information, there are some informative books about road biking. You can find them on several online book stores. Take a Look: