So you have been ramping up your cycling as we move through the summer months, and you have been joining friends and family on fun rides but there are a few things that turn a great ride into a bad situation.
While you’re out training make sure that you inspect your cycling equipment regularly.  You should make sure that your bike is thoroughly serviced by a bike mechanic at least once a year. Remember that the only thing between you and the ground is about a ½ inch of rubber, so before every ride check your tires to make sure they have the proper air pressure in them and that they‘re in good physical shape. Also make sure that the brakes and other major systems are working properly before leaving on a ride.
For some, your brain might be your most valuable asset, so making sure to wear a helmet on all rides is a must. Several times throughout the year inspect your helmet to ensure there are no cracks or missing parts and that it still fits properly. Since we are talking about protecting your head, always wear eye protection as bugs, dust, UV rays and flying objects can put a quick end to a great ride and potentially cause permanent damage to your eyes.
Clothing might be optional in some states while cycling but here in Colorado we like to stick with the weather-appropriate clothing. You should always wear clothes that fit comfortably and are not loose to avoid the material getting caught on things while riding. Avoid clothing made of cotton as cotton tends to retain moisture. Choose a fabric made of sporting materials such as Lycra which is designed to keep you comfortable and dry. Cycling shorts with chamois pads and gloves to protect your hands are also a must when riding. Your local cycling shop can point you in the right direction for cycling attire which will best suit your needs.
Lastly, your cycling shoes should be comfortable because there is nothing worse than riding 10 to 20 miles away from home to find out that your shoes are causing you major pain. Ask your local bike shop to help you with your shoe selection and try on several pairs. Cycling shoes need to have a stiff sole and fit COMFORTABLY.
Coach James Flanagan is a Licensed USA Cycling Coach and Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor.  You can see his classes listed in our recreation classes section.