Congratulations! You have just registered for this year’s Ride Don’t Hide event! I hope you are excited. To avoid having registration regret and feeling overwhelmed on how to even start training, here are some tips on the type of gear you are going to need to gather before starting to train for this year’s Ride Don’t Hide.
1. You will need a road safe bicycle. Preferably one that has gears, not fixed gears such as a beach cruiser bike would have. Ask your neighbours and friends if they have a bike you can borrow before buying one. If you are buying one, stay tuned, there will be a blog specially addressing what you need to know when buying a bike.
2. In most Canadian provinces it is the law to wear a helmet. In 2013, different bike helmet laws applied in each Canadian province and territory: Alberta: minors, British Columbia: all ages, Manitoba: minors, New Brunswick: all ages, Newfoundland and Labrador: all ages, Northwest Territories: no law, Nova Scotia: all ages, Nunavut: no law, Ontario: minors, Prince Edward Island: all ages, Quebec: no law but education programs available, Yukon: no law. I live in BC and have been riding for more than 25 years as a commuter and for road racing. It seems absurd to me that someone would choose to not wear a helmet, no matter the age. I have witnessed a bike helmet save a cyclist’s life. When buying a helmet ensure it is CSA certified. “Safety first” is my motto as an athlete, a coach and a mother of two young boys. Be safe!
3. Clothing is important. Layering up in textiles that wick away sweat and keep you cool is the way to go. For the colder months I recommend neoprene or gortex booties. They go over top of your bike shoe and keep your toes toasty, dry and warm. Water proof or water resistant gloves are a must. Ensure they have good grip so your hands don’t slip on the handle bars or brakes. For spring and summer months, the layering still applies because you never know what the weather could do when out for a longer ride. Light cycling jackets, vests, cycling jersey, arm warmers, leg warmers and cycling socks are recommended. Possibly the most important purchase you can make is your bike shorts, capris or full leggings. Choose one with a chamois. The chamois design for men and women are very different because we have different shapes. Wearing the wrong chamois can cause chafing and we all want to avoid that! Go to a reputable bike store and start doing some of your own research and try out different clothing. Choose early so that come the day of the event you have tried the clothing out on your bike and know that you will feel comfortable on the day.
4. Shoes. I recommend cycling shoes over running shoes. Running shoes are not the best shoes to wear while riding a bike because they allow your foot to flex too much while riding which can cause problems all the way up your leg and into your hips. Cycling shoes have a rigid sole, which provides a stable platform for your foot. You may have watched a triathlon or a cycling event and have seen athletes clipping in and out of their pedals. The thought of using clipless pedals can be incredibly intimidating at because invariably one will forget to clip out and fall. If you go with clipless pedals I recommend practicing clipping in and out while on a bike trainer or go on grass if possible so you have a soft place to land. Forgetting to clip out happens to all of us when starting out and it usually happens when we are coming to a stop. It is a rite of passage so don’t be too embarrassed when it happens to you.
5. Other gear to consider are: sunglasses, sunscreen (always apply), anti-chafing cream (there are many products out there such as body glide, butt butter, so try out a few in training), bike bag (attaches to the rear of the saddle) and water bottles/water bottle holders.
I hope these tips help you get started on your journey to your Ride Don’t Hide event. Next month I will discuss in more depth how to train for the distance you have registered for. Stay tuned!
Leanne is a highly experienced, incredibly motivated triathlon and multisport coach based in the Comox Valley. She is Co-owner and Coach for PACE Multisport, a multisport coaching company that run local clinics, camps and events as well as online/virtual coaching to athletes around the world. Leanne specializes in working with adult athletes, ages 18-80+, who want to take on a new challenge or push themselves that extra distance.
Her passion for the sport of triathlon started 18 years ago, already a cyclist, she took up swimming and running and after her first race, she was hooked. At that time she was working as a Recreation Therapist in the field of Forensic Mental Health. She worked in the field of mental health for 15 years before turning her passion for triathlon into a career and became an NCCP competition certified triathlon and Ironman Certified Coach. Over the last 5 years, Leanne has coached athletes to their goals such as: Ironman, multi day and single day cycling events, Grand Fondo, Half Iron distance, Half marathon, marathon and standard and sprint distance triathlon.
Leanne’s certifications and accomplishments:
NCCP Competition Certified Triathlon Coach since 2014
IRONMAN Certified Coach, 2016
Certified Spin Instructor and qualified TRX instructor
Triathlete since 2000; IRONMAN Canada finisher in 2003 & 2005
Finisher at Half Iron distance races 2002, 2003, 2005, 2012, 2015, 2017