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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve loved cycling since I was a little kid. I first started on a Big Wheels when I was really tiny, moved up to a bike with training wheels, and then received a Mongoose mountain bike for my 12th birthday. Today, I ride a Raleigh Alysa 1 that I bought last year, and I love it.
I discussed the reasons for this choice in a recent article where I went through the pros and cons of different styles of bicycles and reviewed a few offerings from Amazon.More... In a Hurry? Jump Links! [list icon="icon: check-square-o" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Outside of loving the way it feels to pump my legs hard up a hill and then feel the wind whip past my face on the way down, there are a lot of health benefits to cycling.
Whenever I’m suffering from stress or anxiety, I’ll hop on my bike and ride for an hour or so until I cool back down.
Scientific proof backs up this phenomenon. In “Your Brain on Bicycling,” Selene Yeager explains how researchers at Kent State have found that cycling, like all forms of aerobic exercise, increase serotonin and dopamine, which are chemicals in our brain that make us feel happier and calmer.
Not only will cycling keep you cheerful, it can also make you smarter. In Yeager’s article, she explains that research also shows that cycling can improve mental performance.
Not only will cycling improve your brain, it will make you physically healthier. Your cardiovascular system will improve, as your heart will get pumping during speedy or hilly rides.
You’ll also be building muscle. Since cycling burns a lot of calories, it’s also an excellent form of exercise for weight loss.
The number of calories you expend in any activity is difficult to determine, as it depends on a number of factors, including your age, weight, gender, muscle mass, and the difficulty of your workout.
On average, a 155-pound cyclist moving at a vigorous pace will burn 704 calories an hour. I own a Garmin GPS Watch, so I link all of my runs and rides to My Garmin Connect, and it gives me an exact calculation of my calories burned.
After you have your bike, you’ll have a few more purchases to make. Before hitting the open road or trail, you are going to want to make sure you have this essential equipment.
It is illegal in most of the United States to ride a bike without a helmet and for good reason. You’re putting your life at risk if you do not wear one.
According to the CDC, in the United States in 2010, 800 bicyclists were killed and around 515,000 were injured severely enough to require emergency room care.
So, whether it looks cool or not—wear your helmet! Any will do but here are a few currently retailing on Amazon.
Note that bike helmets are unisex because they are fully adjustable. You can buy women-specific helmets, but the only reason to do so would be to get a “girlier” design.
I have a tiny head, and I am able to adjust my unisex helmet to fit me perfectly (I have a lower-end Giro).
Schwinn Thrasher Adult Micro Bicycle Helmet
Bell Solar Bike Helmet
This is the last time I’ll say it, but if you do read the reviews, you’ll see more testimonials about how a helmet saved a person’s life. Wear your helmet!
Unlike the Schwinn helmet, Bell’s fuses together the helmet’s microshell and foam layer so that they stay together better, which is part of the reason for the slightly higher price-point.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Canari Cyclewear Men's Velo Gel Padded Cycling Short
They are rated 4.4 out of 5 stars. These nylon/spandex shorts contain a GEL pad that promises to absorb shock, and the silicone gel won’t overheat or leak.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Santic Cycling Shorts Biking Bicycle Bike Shorts Black Padded
Unlike the Canari shorts, there is a size-chart on the Amazon page. The product promises to keep sweat away from your body, and the fabric is light and soft.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Baleaf Women's Cycling Padded Shorts Black UPF 50+
These shorts are advertised as having breathable fabric, flat seams, and an antibacterial pad. Like most bike shorts, they also have leg grippers that stop the shorts from rolling up.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Pearl Izumi Women's Quest Shorts
These run from $49.90 to $90.23, depending on the size that you order, and they are ranked 4.3 out of 5 stars.
The material is thin, so these shorts are intended for summer or indoor use.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Why do other people buy jerseys? They are good for keeping cool. Most of them are made of moisture-wick material, which basically sucks the sweat off of your body and then quickly dries.
I don’t wear cycling jerseys. I’m a runner, so I already own lots of moisture-wicking shirts that I use for bike rides.
The reason some people choose jerseys over regular workout clothing is that they have pockets. Most of them have a zipped pocket on the back that is great for holding your keys, phone, snacks, and a small tool-kit.
Another benefit of a jersey is that it is made of reflective material, so people can see you (or should be able to see you) in the day and at night (though if you’re biking at night, you absolutely have to have lights for your bike.
I have this one and love it).
Most of my running gear is also made of reflective material, and I have a pannier bag that I keep on my frame where I keep my bike lock, cell phone, tool kit, etc.
Thus, I don’t really need the jersey, though I’m strongly considering getting a long-sleeve one for the winter.
If you would like to ride your bike sans bag, you will probably want a jersey, and there are several from which to choose on Amazon.Men
Tenn Mens Coolflo Breathable Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey
It has high-wicking fabric and three elasticated rear pockets, with one specifically designed for your mobile phone. It boasts a relaxed fit.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Pearl Izumi Men's Quest Jersey
It is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars. There is a size chart on Amazon (which most report is accurate), and it uses moisture-transfer fabric and has three large pockets.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Louis Garneau Women's Beeze Vent Sleeveless Cycling Jersey
This is a sleeveless jersey intended for the summer months, and it is made with a lightweight mesh fabric and has three pockets on the back.
The ad suggests sizes based on your bust measurements.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
Pearl Izumi Women's W Select Jersey
The price is between $30.98 and $95.33, depending on color and size. It has short sleeves, two back pockets, a full-length zipper, and moisture transfer fabric.Pros [list icon="icon: check" icon_color="#0fb157"]
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