Get the most out of your workout by choosing the best equipment for you.
Find a bike fit for you
"Having your bike fitted to your body is one of the most important steps for a safe and comfortable ride," Miller says. Most bike shops will help you find a model that meets the following criteria.
Frame size: To test, straddle the center bar of the bike. For road bikes, clearance between crotch and frame should be 1 to 3 inches, and 3 to 6 inches for off-road (mountain and hybrid) bikes.
Seat height: "When seated with feet on pedals, there should be a slight bend in the knee of the extended leg―if your knee is straight, then your seat is too high," Miller says. "If lifted knee extends over your toes, the seat is too low."
Seat design: "Focus on comfort: The seat should not cause pain, or you won't want to ride," Bausch says. "Look for a seat that fits the width of your sit bones."
Seat angle: Keep it level for maximum effectiveness. "A seat tilted too far down places stress on arms and wrists," Miller says.
Handlebars: These are mostly a matter of personal preference. Higher bars, like those found on a hybrid or mountain bike, are more comfortable. Lower bars, like those on a road bike, require a crouched body position for improved performance, but you have the option of riding with hands atop the bar near the brake/gear levers.
Choose the right bike
Road bikes have lightweight frames and narrow wheels with high-pressure tires that allow you to ride faster and longer. Their handlebars are lower, which improves aerodynamics but may be less comfortable for new riders. These bikes are not suitable for off-road riding due to their frame dimension, thinner tires, and lack of suspension. Best for: Distance and speed
Mountain bikes have a sturdy frame, shock-absorbing suspension, and wider tires, which provide traction and stability on uneven terrain. They also have wide handlebars that allow for greater control. However, they aren't as fast as the other two options. Best for: Off-road rides
Hybrid bikes,like the ones Griffiths bought, mix the suspension and shock absorption of a mountain bike with the light weight of a road bike. "If new to riding, a hybrid bike can offer more comfort, while still allowing you to ride intermediate distances at a fairly fast pace," Miller says. Best for: Paved surfaces and limited off-road riding
Helmet: Should cover as much of your head as possible with the strap secure. "It should not be tipped back on your neck," Miller says.
Glasses: Protect your eyes from wind, debris, and sun.
Shoes: Select workout shoes with solid treading. If, after a few weeks of riding, you find you're serious, consider purchasing stiff-soled cycling shoes, which allow you to ride more efficiently. "These are used with clip-in bike pedals, so your shoes are able to lock on the pedals, giving you better security," Bausch says.
Padded gloves: Feel good while you're riding, prevent slippery palms, and protect hands in case of a fall with gloves made for cyclists.