A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ROAD CYCLING
Want to get into road cycling but feeling daunted at the prospect? We’ve got you covered with these great tips from road cyclist Ana Puga, star of our latest campaign.
The first time you see a line of road cyclists whoosh past can be a thrill. The speed and synchronisation of their riding, the seemingly perfect body positioning, the instinctive way they move as a pack… But if you’re new to the sport, such a vision can also be intimidating, and you might wonder if you’ll ever ride with so much confidence and control.
Yet all road cyclists experience some degree of doubt and wobble in those early days, whether it’s while clipping into cleats for the first time, underestimating food requirements or just going off too hard and running out of steam.
To help get you started, we asked Ana Puga, a road cyclist from Mexico City, to share what she wishes she’d known when she first got into the sport.
DON'T SWEAT THE PACE
Ignore the stereotypes and any mental images you may have of road cyclists zooming through picturesque Alpine passes. “It’s not about being fast,” says Ana, “So don't get frustrated if you feel you're not fast enough.” Instead, she urges aspiring road cyclists to focus on getting to know how their body works and learning to pace themselves in a way that will sustain them throughout their ride.
“Cycling is an excellent way to get to know your mind and body: your strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledge them and slowly start to work to push those limits,” she says, be that how you handle the physical toughness of hill climbing or how you cope with long flat sections which can be more of a mental test. “Always remember a strong mind can get you further than stronger legs. And speed and confidence will always follow with practice,” she says.
Most of all, Ana recommends that cyclists “Breathe consciously and enjoy the views”, tuning into the landscape around them, the birds, the sky, the rolling hills…
EAT WELL TO RIDE WELL
If you’re coming to cycling from other sports, you might think eating is something you do before or after exercise, but that simply won’t work when you’re out on a road ride as it’s likely to last for several hours.
“Eat for the win!” says Ana, “Eating properly and drinking enough liquid during your ride will stop you from having a hard time on your bike and help you avoid fatigue for the rest of the day.”
If you get your food and drink intake wrong and don’t take on enough fuel you can end up seriously exhausted, or as it’s known in cycling parlance ‘bonking’, which will ruin or even stop your ride in its tracks. To avoid running on empty, eat high carbs regularly, from 30 minutes into your ride and set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you if you think you might forget.
HERO PRODUCTS FOR ROAD CYCLING
For Ana, the most important piece of road cycling kit is a pair of bib shorts given how much time you’ll be spending sitting in the saddle.
“It’s important to invest in bib shorts that have quality padding, good compression and a comfortable fit,” she says.
She recommends the women’s Parley bib shorts, for their comfort and supportive fit. The shorts are held in place by leg grippers and lightweight mesh shoulder straps and made with a yarn that contains 50% Parley Ocean Plastic, which is reimagined plastic waste intercepted on remote islands and beaches. “Since I’ve been into cycling, I’ve become a lot more aware of my ecological footprint and made more conscious choices when it comes to clothing, which includes these bib shorts,” she says.
The Parley women’s jersey is part of that same environmental commitment, and Ana rates its lightweight feel and moisture-wicking HEAT.RDY technology. “It’s comfortable and keeps you cool when you’re working hard on the bike, or warm when the temperature suddenly drops,” she says, “The jersey has three rear pockets, which are useful for packing keys, cards and other personal essentials.”
Ana is a big fan of the new Parley road shoe, the first road cycling shoe made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic. It’s also the first adidas road shoe with BOA closure, an easily adjustable system designed for all-day comfort, reducing ache from pressure points and offering easy removal after long rides. The shoe has a lightweight, stiff construction and includes a fibreglass-reinforced midsole and carbon plate.
Ana is a big fan of the new Parley road shoe, the first road cycling shoe made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic. It’s also the first adidas road shoe featuring the BOA® Fit System, a micro-adjustable system designed for precision fit and dialled in performance, reducing ache from pressure points and offering fast and effortless removal after long rides. The shoe has a lightweight, stiff construction and includes a fibreglass-reinforced midsole and carbon plate.
WITH CYCLING, THE WHOLE WORLD IS YOUR PLAYGROUND
Ana is incredibly grateful for all that cycling has brought to her life. “It brings the same joy and sense of freedom I got when I was a kid and played outside with my friends. But now, as an adult, it’s about getting to new places, meeting new friends, having greater goals and horizons,” she says.
And she’s buzzing to see so many women taking it up. “Cycling has always been a male-dominated sport, no matter where you are in the world. But over the past few years, it’s been amazing to see the number of women participating, cyclists who become stronger and more impressive by the day.”
A trend she hopes is just the start.
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