Tri Tip Tuesday – Bicycles

Welcome, welcome! It’s Tuesday again! And that means we’re linking up with Lisa from The Skinny on Health and I’ve prepared another riveting addition of Tri Tip Tuesday!

Today we’re talking bikes. 

The second and longest leg of a triathlon is the biking portion. For some this is a good thing. For others this is terrifying. For those just getting into the sport, it’s confusing. 

For your first triathlon, or even for your first few, it’s okay to use whatever it is you have laying around in your garage. You will in fact survive and finish. Might be slow, might be slightly uncomfortable, but any short course is doable on whatever mountain bike, hybrid, commuter, 30 year old fixed gear beater you have. And honestly, at short course triathlons you will see the gamut from that old beater to a $10K setup on someone covered in Ironman gear. 

Case in point- do you see what the girl behind me is clearly riding? Totally doable.

Once you decide triathlon is for you (an you totally will) you can start mulling over that upgrade. I’ll be honest, I bought a brand new road bike right off the bat before my first tri. But I owned zero bikes, so I had no choice but to buy something. And it got me through four triathlons before I opted to upgrade. My road bike is still in fabulous shape and could have kept racing, but like I said, that upgrade desire kicks in. 

A road bike is a fantastic choice as a first purchase or upgrade. Spend some time shopping around a few different bike stores. Ride plenty of options and know what you’re looking for. Most entry level road bikes will have an aluminum or steel frame and basic Shimano components. As you start looking at upgraded wheels, components, TT specific, carbon fiber or titanium frames the price will obviously jump. 

Another huge factor is fit. Find a bike that fits you! A reputable bike shop will put your new bike on a trainer and adjust the seat position and handle bars, among other things, to make sure it fits you as it should. An ill fitting bike will be uncomfortable and can cause injuries. Get a fitting, it’s worth it and usually included in the purchase cost. 

Finley and I almost did not come together because the guy at the shop I bought her from didn’t think I was tall enough for her frame at first. This is why measuring and getting fitted is so important, or I’ be crammed onto a bike too small for me! It’s now been confirmed by multiple bike shops that she is in fact fitted to me like a perfect extra appendage. *swoon*

The major difference between a road bike and tri bike, or a time trial bike as they actually are, is the position and center of gravity. I road bike has your weight pushed back and you sit more upright. A TT has your weight shifted forward with the intention of being ridden in the aerodynamic position. Road bikes and TT’s use your major leg muscle groups differently too, which can be a deciding factor for some depending on if you have glut or leg issues. TT’s are designed to save your running muscles though by using them less based on the bikes geometry. Something to keep in mind as well. 

To score a good deal on a bike, shop during the winter and ask about last year model bikes. Bikes are like cars; the new models come out a few months before the new year and “last season” bikes get discounted pretty well. I got Finley for about 45% off retail because she was a 2012 still sitting unloved as the 2014’s started rolling in. 

Biking doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, there is nothing more freeing than the wind in your face as you pedal along on a sunny afternoon. So get out on your bike today and enjoy the little things in life =)

Do you own a bike?
How often do you ride? For exercise, racing, or pleasure?
Dream bike if money was no object?

3 Replies to “Tri Tip Tuesday – Bicycles”

  1. I’m so longing to upgrade my bike, but because I have to but because I love biking and a new bike is awesome! Thanks for the tips, maybe I’ll do more research on tri bikes to further encourage myself to spend the money 🙂

  2. I have had several custom bikes (steel frame) built by a local guy and went to carbon recently- road with clip ons. Had a $6000 Scott women’s specific and hated it! Dream bike is a Cervelo in the 6-7 thousand range, but that’s pretty much a pipe dream these days. Wheels are more important if your cheaper frame fits you!

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