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RAGBRAI TRAINING: Tips For New Cyclists

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RAGBRAI starts Sunday and thousands of riders will participate in the trek across the state, including those who’ve never done it before.

Channel 13’s Arielle Nixon will be among those newbies and has some tips for the first-timers.

Cycling has become not only a physical activity for central Iowans, but also a social activity. So let's say you want to pick up this popular hobby and where do you start?

Common sense tells you the first thing you need is a bike and you have a few options. That's where the bike experts come in.

“Road bikes are really nice if you are going to be on the highway or on pavement, they roll really nice.  They`re great for things like RAGBRAI, but outside of being on a highway, you`re kind of stuck and rougher roads get really sketchy. If you hit a pot hole with a road bike in general it doesn`t turn out very well,” says Caleb Lundberg with Cycle Force Group.

Caleb recommends a hybrid bike for beginners as it offers the most versatility.

“This is an example of kind of a touring commuter hybrid. So it`s going to have a tire that`s not quite as thick as a mountain bike tire so it rolls really nice on pavement, but if you do need to get across some gravel or some dirt it`ll still give you plenty of traction,” says Caleb.

Once you've chosen which type of bike will work for you, you'll need so gear to keep things rolling.

Here's the short list:

Air pump

Replacement tubes

Lubrication for chains

Philip's head screwdriver

3 different size allen keys

Next up is safety. Besides the obvious – a helmet -- there are a few things you need to have with you before you hit the trails.

You always want to bring your cell phone when out on your bike.

“Whether it`s my bike breaks down, or I get caught in a storm that I wasn`t expecting or if I just end up getting exhausted.  You know I`ve had times where I didn`t expect the headwind that I ended up having and it just go to a point, you know, where I couldn`t go any farther. Always having a cell phone is nice,” says Caleb.

You will also need some form of identification

“I have a wristband, a road ID that has my information on it in case something like that does happen.  I`ve heard plenty of stories of people getting exhausted and denying medical care because they just weren`t in the right state of mind.  So it`s always nice to have some form of ID,” says Caleb.

And make sure someone knows where you are.

“That`s always a big one.  I always try to communicate with my wife or friends or somebody...just say `hey, I`m going out biking. I`m going to be gone about this long`.  So they have an idea of where I`m at,” says Caleb.

As far as the social aspect goes Caleb says, “It`s really nice when you have friends or if there`s an event going on, it`s nice to be able to go out with other people.  It keeps it from getting mundane and dull.”

When training for rides like RAGBRAI, Caleb suggests starting slow. So what feels comfortable and slowly build up to a longer ride.

For more information on trails around central Iowa you can go to bikeiowa.com you can also find groups to ride with.