Fit Farmer, Ep 15: Finding the right bike for cycling success

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

It’s time for another episode of the FitFarmer podcast with co-hosts Shaun Haney and Gary Chambers!

The focus this time: cycling.

Through the pandemic, demand has been through the roof for items such as skis, snowboards, and golf clubs. Another one to add to the list: bicycles. Whether it be road bikes or mountain bikes, there has been an extreme amount of passion towards the sport over the last 14 months.

Chambers says this is likely in part because everyone has been forced away from their team sports, so now they are looking for the individualized sports they can do while being outside, and cycling falls into that category.

“I also think a big part of it is stress management. People want to be outdoors for a little longer part of the day, because the days have been long with COVID,” explains Chambers. “Cycling is a great low-impact activity that you can go for an hour long ride, or an hour and a half ride at your own pace. You’re not going to go for a walk or a jog for two hours, but it’s not hard to kill two hours on a bike. I think that’s a big part why people in general are out there.” (Story continues below interview)

Chambers originally got started cycling when he was taking his physical education degree in Edmonton, Alta., and he quickly realized that it was one of the more efficient ways to commute around the city.

Part of the process of being able to bike more than an hour at a time — and still being able to feel those sit bones by the end of it — is having a bike that fits you and your body type specifically.

“I think sometimes people just jump on the bike and pedal, and I see it all the time,” Chambers says. “I think a lot of people put pressure on their sit bones because their saddles are either too low, or they’ve got too much weight back on the bikes. So getting a bike fit at whatever shop you buy it at, is actually pretty important to your own comfort.”

One of the main questions that people have when considering getting into cycling is what kind of bike to buy. If you’ve stepped into a bike shop before, you know there are many different makes and models. Chambers says the key is to know what kind of biking you are going to be doing.

“I find there is really an overemphasis on ‘special’ bikes, or bikes that are unique for every type of terrain,” he says. “But the reality is where you are riding. For a lot of people, you are riding on bike trails — maybe a little bit of dirt, or hard packed — if that’s where the bulk of your riding is on, you want to focus on potentially a mountain bike, which can be versatile for all of it. Or, you might be on a bit of a hybrid bike that will give you a little bit of an upright body position, and allows you to be a little more comfortable.”

While you’re considering getting into biking, don’t forget to try to support your local bike shop — even if it means taking that Canadian Tire/Costco/Wal-Mart bike in for a tune-up once in awhile. That expert help can really make your biking experience change for the better.

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