Considering Begining My Bike Adventure

I’ve already starting talking to friends at work, so some whom are pretty serious bikers, about getting starting riding back and forth to work. Not only because my legs are starting to hurt a little bit from the running, but the 2 hours a day of workout time is becoming difficult to manage. I figure by being able to ride to work (from Chevy Chase, MD to Arlington, VA) that will give me a break from the high impact on my body of running, provide a little change of scenery and condense my time a bit. It already takes me about 25 – 30 minutes to drive to work anyway, if I ride… I think I might be able to do it about an hour according to the estimates.

It does being up a lot of questions though, so I’m getting start with my research:

1) Why type of bike should I be riding?

I’ve been told road bikes are a little more advanced, sometimes a little harder to ride, and hybrids just “aren’t really good at anything”. The advice I’ve gotten so far is to get a mountain bike, possible with a front fork, but put slick tires on it. A coworker has a bike setup that way that he’s going to let me borrow and see how it feels. (Hopefully right after this insane heat wave we’re having)

2) Where to ride?

Do trail maps exist out there for the DC area? I’m a little nervous about trying to ride along major roads right now, but if I have to do it a bit to get from trail to trail I’m sure I can handle it. Basically, I’m starting about 3 blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro station and ending a few blocks from the Ballston Metro station. Does anyone have a suggestion or maps of any routes?

3) Measuring my performance?

I know there are devices I can put on the bike to read speed and distance, etc. Any suggestion here? How about GPS enabled iPhone apps? Any iPhone apps that might have integrated maps or anything… like RunKeeper, but for biking?

4) Advice?

What am I missing? Should I have anything else to get started?

So, I think that covers most of it. Any help/advice any of you might have would be awesome… I haven’t been on a bike since I was about 17, so getting this going should be a pretty interesting adventure. I will surely be blogging more about my adventures, the things I learn along the way and of course, how it affects my weight-loss.

3 thoughts on “Considering Begining My Bike Adventure

  1. If you want to expand your exercise regimen to include biking on a weekend, I’d be delighted to join you. CAVEAT: I suck at biking. I enjoy it, but apparently it’s a whole different set of muscles and stuff from swimming and running.

    P.S. You’re gonna turn into an Iron Man or something, aren’t you? Wow!

    1. Oh I’ll def be doing some riding on the weekends, for sure. I just need to get on a bike that’s comfortable and judge what I can and get do. Same as when I started running/loosing weight to begin with… See my blog post from a few weeks ago: Day #1 – Know where you are… I’ve got to know what I’m working with before I start a plan… and as soon as I do, I’ll surely let you know!

  2. As an avid biker, I have lots of suggestions!

    1. I’ve got a Specialized Sirrus, a hybrid bike. I think it’s great but if I was starting out, I’d probably get a mountain bike – it’s slower but more comfortable than a hybrid. Look for front suspension which will make dealing with bumps easier. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars. A basic model from Specialized or Trek will be fine.
    2. If you’re in Friendship Heights, you’re not far from the Capital Crescent Trail. It will take you to Georgetown. Cross the Key Bridge and you can hop on the Custis Trail, which parallels 66 and will take you to Ballston. Google these trails and you can find more info. Also use Google Maps – click on the bike trails option to see the trails and routes in the region.
    3. I love Cyclemeter. You can use it for running and walking too. Amazing app which will tell you how far you went, average speed, etc…
    4. Wear a helmet. I had a friend who didn’t wear one, fell off his bike and had amnesia for a day. You don’t want that to happen to you.

    DC is a great city for biking. You’ll have fun!

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