Boulder offers perfect environment for the popular sport
Like it or not, Old Man Winter is just about dead.
Boulder offers a lot of spring and summertime activities, and perhaps none scream “Boulder” more than road biking, or cycling.
Nate Buyon, a sophomore integrative physiology major, has been cycling since high school. He is a member of the CU cycling team and admits that road biking was a heavy influence on his decision to come to Boulder for school.
“Boulder’s a great place to live; it’s got 300 days of sun a year; and (cycling)’s a great way to enjoy that,” Buyon said.
Unlike sports like basketball, where all you need is a ball and hoop, cycling requires a certain level of discipline and perhaps most importantly a decent amount of money.
New road bikes usually start around $650, and do not include accessories like a helmet, $35 and up, and bike shorts, $25 and up.
While prices might seem a bit steep, cycling has an advantage over other sports, like skiing, in that cycling usually only consists of a one-time payment.
Chris Hopwood, sales manager at Full Cycle on the Pearl Street Mall, enjoys the freedom that cycling brings.
“I can just get my bike and go out – I don’t have to pay anybody to go do it,” Hopwood said. “I just get on it and can go.”
With Web sites like eBay and craigslist.org, a potential cyclist has a variety of methods to purchase his or her first bike. And while buying a used road bike on the cheap may sound like a good idea, Hopwood cautions the buyer to be wary of a deal that sounds too good to be true.
“When you buy a road bike, the technology, compared to a mountain bike, is a lot more hidden,” Hopwood said. “What happens on a road bike is things can wear out over time without you necessarily knowing.”
Another issue when buying a road bike is its size.
“Sizing of a road bike is very important,” Hopwood said.
Tendonitis in the knees, back and neck are potential problems, Hopwood said. The reason is the rider’s fixed position over a long period of time while riding.
Most of these ailments are preventable. If you plan on buying a road bike in time for spring, there are things you can do now that will make your transition from couch potato into decent pedal pusher go much more smoothly.
“One thing that most people overlook is your core strength,” Hopwood said. “You can have the strongest legs in the world, but if your core strength is not up to par you’re going to have very sore back, neck and arms for extended periods of time.”
Hopwood said that enrolling in basic spin classes, at places like the CU Recreation Center, is a great way to begin training.
“Cycling’s not about having a huge amount of power,” he said. “It’s about endurance.”
Spin classes at CU stress endurance and get would-be cyclists ready for the challenging yet rewarding sport of road biking. To register, walk up to the cashier’s desk at the Recreation Center and sign up.
Let’s say after a few spin classes and lots of research that you do end up buying that dream bike of yours. You’ve got everything you need: the bike, a helmet and some bike shorts. You even bought some clipless pedals for an extra $100.
So now what?
Sure, you could just leave your house and start pedaling. There is a certain joy in cycling without any particular destination in mind. But if you decide that you want to combine arduous, rewarding climbs with sweeping panoramas of the Foothills, check out Full Cycle’s Boulder-area routes page, which have routes that go up places like Flagstaff as well as Lee Hill.
Along with a map from Google, the Web page shows the viewer elevation and distance specifics, which gives the cyclist a glimpse of what he or she accomplished.
And if you can’t get your friends to follow in your bike-path, you’ll want to meet other people to go out cycling with you.
Buyon, who rides at least 16 hours a week, said that attending a CU cycling meeting is a great way to meet other like-minded cyclists. About 75 people are in the group, including plenty of novices. The club meets every Monday at 7 p.m. on campus in Hellems 201.
Nicer weather is right around the corner, so prepare yourself now in order to fully enjoy the sunny Boulder weather coming up.
“There’s not many places in the world you can go and ride and have (Boulder)’s type of scenery,” Hopwood said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Evan Acker at firstname.lastname@example.org.