Bicycling's illustrated maintenance manual by Jim Langley

By Jim Langley

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It’s one way we can ride away from the phone, the house, the bills, the TV, what’s going on at work, how the kids are driving you bonkers. Getting on the bike is the antidote. It’s a mini-vacation for your soul. It’s a time to revamp and breathe—even if it’s just for an hour at a time. Sneaking Up on Your Confidence Although getting on the bike is simple, we’re unlikely to have the grace or strength of a professional racer. There’s a lot to learn, and this book will help guide you. The cool thing is that with every new skill—from becoming a graceful descender to being able to easily grab your water bottle without bobbling—your confidence on the bike will grow.

In a circuit race, riders will have a chance to get to know the quirks of the course and their opponents over every lap. During a point-to-point race every moment is new, so it’s harder to predict how your competitors might handle changes in terrain and tactics. Also, it’s not uncommon for these courses to include steeper, longer climbs. CRITERIUMS (“CRITS”) are as thrilling for spectators as they are for competitors. It’s also a mass start race, but the course is a very short—usually 1 mile or less in length—loop.

Last but not least, bicycle touring is one of the most revered types of recreational riding by all types of riders. Road touring involves picking a point-to-point destination or a loop of roads, which you’ll cover over a series of days. The big difference between this and any event ride is that you’ll be carrying all your gear: food, clothes, water, repair kits, possibly a tent and sleeping bag—everything. This may seem overwhelming for some beginners, but for others it’s an open invitation to newfound adventures.

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