BikeChain-Road
BikeChain-Road


All You Need For Road Cycling

Everyone rides for a reason. For some it may be the thrill of launching an attack on the road. For others it may be about finding roads less travelled with the open air flowing. And for some, it’s all about keeping healthy. Whatever the reason, we all share the same passion and love for bikes. It’s not just a bike, it’s our way of life. With carefully selected brands from around the world, we’re here to keep you peddling and achieve your goals.



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ROAD ESSENTIALS



Frequently Asked Questions

What does a beginner road cyclist need?

A taste of adventure! Cyclists are adventurers by nature. Weather doesn’t bother them and they are curious as to what lies beyond the next bend and over the next mountain climb. A beginner cyclist should bring optimism and curiosity.




Should I get a MTB or road bike?

Mountain bikes (MTB) are built for adventure off road riding. Road bikes are not as versatile as a MTB but will get you from A to B in half the time as they are built for speed.

A road bike is typically lightweight and built for riding on sealed roads. Most road bikes have drop bars (racing handle bars) and a wide range of gearing (however fewer than a MTB bike would have). Road bikes also have skinny tyres, which equals greater speed.

The MTB is built for riding on gravel or dirt, with front suspension to absorb the shocks of riding over rough terrain. MTB tires are much larger in diameter to give you grip on dirt roads. They also have a wider gearing range which allows you to conquer the steepest dirt climbs without having to hop off and walk.




What should I know before buying a road bike?

There is a much wider range of road bikes today than ever before. What’s most important is that you get fitted correctly and you find a bike that fits your purpose. This might be commuting to work, or maybe you’re looking for a racing bike. As the options today are vast, we recommend you visit your local retailer to talk through your requirements and options.




What should you wear on a road bike?

Comfort and functionality are a must.

Most importantly, if you’re riding for longer than one hour you need to invest in some comfortable riding shorts, or what are called knicks. These have internal padding called a chamois that will make your ridding experience so much more comfortable.

Secondly, you will need a sweat wicking undershirt and cycling jersey. If you’re riding a road bike chances are you’re keen to ride faster than you normally do, which equals perspiration. Wearing an appropriate top and undershirt will ensure you arrive at your destination dry and your clothing not saturated with sweat.

For tips on dressing for winter or in rainy conditions you can watch the below videos.

HOW TO DRESS FOR RAINY CONDITIONS

HOW TO DRESS FOR WINTER




What accessories do you need for a road bike?

If you’re riding a road bike then chances are you’re riding on skinny tyres, which equals a greater chance of having a puncture. So rule number one is bring a spare inner tube, pump and tyre levers so that in the event you have a puncture you can quickly change the inner tube and carry on riding.

And all riders will also need a water bottle cage and water bottle. For words of advice on nutrition from former Tour Down Under winner, Pat Jonker, you may wish to read the following blog The Best Cycling Nutrition During Riding: What to consume and when




Why are road bike seats so hard?

Scientists have worked out that your body weight while cycling is supported on the two bumps on your bottom or your “sit bones”. So having a super soft bike seat means that your weight would be supported by soft tissue, which after an hour of riding would cause a lot of discomfort and irritation. If you are using an ergonomically designed bicycle seat (so a harder surface) then your weight is supported by your sit bones to ensure you have a far more comfortable riding experience.

For a review of the SAN Marco Short Fit Saddle, you can read the following blog Best Bike Seats - SAN Marco Short Fit Saddle




Road Cycling

As the name suggests, road cycling refers to the popular activity of riding a bike on a sealed surface. Broadly speaking, this form of cycling encompasses everything from major endurance events to bunch riding with mates to just taking the long spin down to the shops for a loaf of bread!

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Different types of road cycling

Nowadays, this form of cycling is an overarching reference to a terrific number of subcategories (most of which we explore independently in other sections of this site), including:

  • Road leisure or racing
  • Endurance
  • Commuter
  • Cyclocross

    Features of a road bike

    Irrespective of the type of road cycling, bikes share common features and visual queues, including:

    Sleek frame

    A sleek design typically involving a two-triangle frame made from titanium, carbon fibre, alloy or steel. The sharper the angles and shorter the head tubes, the more aggressive the riding style. If you don’t plan to sprint or you’re just looking for a comfortable cruise, then opt for a frame with a more relaxed geometry.

    Handlebars

    Dropped and curved handlebars are most common across, although hybrids will usually feature flat bars. This design enables two distinct styles of riding:
  • Aggressive and powerful riding occurs when hands are in the hoods.
  • When hands are on the bars, the rider is either more relaxed or climbing.

    Wheels

    A road bike’s wheels are thin-looking and made from either alloy or the more expensive option of carbon fibre. If you’re looking to upgrade your ride without buying a whole new bike, wheels are usually your first starting point. More serious or performance-based cyclists would favour deep profile carbon wheels. In contrast, alloy wheels are the go-to option for winter riding, just putting in the training kilometres or commuting to the shops.

    Tyres

    Expect to see thin-looking, high-pressure, smooth finished tyres on a road bike. Only the very pointy end of the performance sport still uses tubular tyres (completely closed and glued directly to the wheel). The alternative and far more common option is clincher (as the name suggests, when the tube ‘clinches’ to the wheel). 

    Gearing

    Contemporary road riding sees two chainrings and a rear cassette. In addition, the rear wheel cog is typically small compared to, for example, a mountain bike.

    Pedals

    You’ve essentially three choices of road bike pedal:
    1. Clipless - whereby a cleat at the shoe’s sole slots seamlessly into the pedal. This type of pedal gives an efficient power transfer that is far superior to the following two types;
    2. Cage - as the name suggests, a ‘cage’ sits over the top of the pedal, the idea being for the foot to slide in and to minimise slip/movement. This can be a dangerous way to cycle if you suddenly need to release your foot from the pedal to stay upright;
    3. Pedal only - a large, flat surface pedal providing ample space for the foot to rest. This is most common for beginner or young cyclists.

    Road cycling apparel

    Apparel varies depending on the season. A typical kit might include:

    Summer road cycling

  • Lightweight mesh base layer to allow skin to breathe and to minimise dampness
  • Short-sleeved jersey. Ideally this should come with back pockets so you can easily carry items such as a hand pump, a snack, etc
  • Cycling bib or knicks
  • Gilet - also known as a cycling vest. This is unlikely to be used on particularly hot days, but can be rolled up into a neat little package and tucked into a pocket. It is then available to take the edge off a cool breeze or some light rain
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • Short finger gloves - covers all of the hand and the base of the fingers. Serves to protect skin from burns, rubbing/pressure from handlebars ( during endurance events particularly) or road rash in the event of an accident

    Winter road cycling

    The trick here is to layer up. You might start a road ride in minus zero degrees but you will be surprised how quickly you can heat up after some exertion. Ideally you will have ample pocket space to enable you to roll up and carry layers when no longer needed.
  • Thermal base layer, preferably long-sleeved
  • Cycling jersey
  • Windproof and waterproof jacket
  • Windproof and waterproof gilet (for extra warmth and wind protection)
  • Long-leg cycling pants
  • Socks (possibly two pairs if you really feel the bite)
  • Shoes
  • Booties (sit over shoes to maximise heat retention and minimise wind chill)
  • Long finger gloves (possibly two pairs again if your extremities really suffer in the cold)
  • Neck and/or head warmer (some people don’t like the feeling - it’s a personal choice)

    Road cycling accessories

    Irrespective of the weather, the cycling accessories tend to be the same. Whether you’re going for a ten kilometre bike ride or you’re out for whole day, your accessories will likely include:
  • Road bike helmet - more aerodynamic and lightweight looking compared to its mountain bike counterpart, this accessory is compulsory by law in Australia, irrespective of your age or the type of road riding you do
  • Computer - sits on your handlebars providing valuable data such as speed, distance, cadence, altitude etc. Also records information for apps such as Strava and provides maps, etc.
  • Hand pump
  • Spare tubes
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Bidon (water bottle). This can sit on your frame in a cage, at the back of the seatpost or in one of your jersey pockets
  • Sunglasses - recommended not just to keep the glare out but also to help protect eyes in the event of an accident We recommend road riding with a fully-charged mobile phone in a waterproof slip and tucked into your jersey pocket as well as a small bottle of sunscreen (for top-ups), a nutritious snack and either some spare change or a credit card for unexpected purchases.

    Contact us

    Don’t hesitate to contact us with any road cycling questions. We not only sell everything you might need to get out on the bike fast and feeling fantastic, but our team are seasoned cyclists and happy to help with any general questions. Have a great ride!.


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