Summer weather prompts return to two wheels

CHARLOTTE – Warmer temperatures, sunlight and a need to exercise are three factors influencing cyclists to ditch four wheels for two when summer comes.

Cyclists make a turn during a ride in Huntersville. (Aaron Burns/Mountain Island Monitor photo)

Cycling continues to be a growing, popular option for Mountain Island-area residents seeking fun new ways to be fit as the weather heats up.

The City of Charlotte’s Department of Transportation website lists cycling as “an alternative to congested streets, a cleaner environment and contributes to improved physical health and mental well being.”

“The city has adopted long-range bicycle plans identifying steps to help Charlotte become a city where cyclists can feel comfortable riding to work, running errands or simply enjoying a neighborhood ride with the family. Charlotte is building the infrastructure to make cycling better. In the coming years, the city will increase its inventory of bike lanes, signed routes, paved shoulders and bicycle racks,” the website states.

Here are some tips for beginner cyclists to follow to help you get started on your cycling journey:

Start by getting a good bike that fits you

Bicycling.com produces a yearly buyer’s guide for people looking to buy a bicycle to get their new hobby going. The cost of bicycles varies depending on size, brand and age. There are also options for steel, aluminum and carbon-fiber bikes. Visit www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/bikes-and-gear-features/buyer-s-guide-entry-level-road-bikes for a list of affordable new options.

Get the best helmet you can find

According to an Outdoor Foundation study, cycling is the second-most popular outdoor activity in the country. But it’s popular for reasons extending beyond fitness. Cycling is also safe, provided you use proper equipment. Get a comfortable helmet you’ll like and always wear it.

Visit www.amazon.com or www.performancebike.com for online options, or check out Gaston Bicycle, 316 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia; The Spirited Cyclist, 9911 Rose Commons Drive, Huntersville; or Uptown Cycles, 1432 W. Morehead St., Charlotte.

Have the necessary equipment

In addition to a helmet, be sure to have a water bottle (with an attachable cage) to keep you hydrated. A pump to fix a flat tire is also a necessity, as is a repair kit, which ordinarily includes a patch kit, spare inner tube, tire levers and a multi-tool. Gel-padded seats, biking uniforms, gloves and lights are also suggested additions.

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