I love cycling. And like most, when I find something I love I want to share it. After all, I assume if I love it others probably will too, which is why I was excited when Josh Williams – the Genesee Sun Publisher – asked me to begin writing a regular column about cycling.
However, cycling is a paradox, which creates a challenge for new riders. Getting started can require a hefty initial financial commitment and a desire to learn the nuances of the sport – which takes years – making it appear to be rather exclusive activity.
These nuances can be overwhelming. First, there is the pricing: bikes range from $200 to $10,000. With the price of course comes style. Most bike brands make a wide range from hybrid bikes to mountain bikes to road bikes (not to mention the more eccentric tandems and recumbents that are out there). But once you have chosen a bike the decisions are far from over.
Then there things like shoes that clip into your pedals, helmets, and gloves. And of course we have the more uncomfortable questions: do I have to wear spandex? Should I shave my legs?
This whole process can be rather exhausting, especially if your idea of riding a bike closely aligns with what you used to do on your Huffy as a kid. Yet, despite what is a complicated world, cycling offers a niche for every person of every physical ability and interest, making it far more accessible than most other sports.
First, there is a bike for everyone – those of us who border on the obsessive believe there are two, thee or four bikes for everyone. There are bikes with fat tires, or skinny tires, and bikes for people with spare tires. There are bikes for people with six packs, and bikes for people who drink six packs.
And because there is a bike for everyone, there is a type of riding for everyone too, especially in our area. You can ride on paved roads through our beautiful local country sides or ride scenic dirt trails in Letchworth State Park and the Green Way. Some people ride 10 miles every few days, others ride a couple of hundred miles per week. Some race their bikes or ride long distances for the challenge while some ride with groups for camaraderie, and still others ride alone for solitude.
As someone who frequents Cyclepath (Geneseo’s newest bike shop) and the founder and president of the Livingston Cycling Club, I love helping people through those first overwhelming steps so that they can be a part of the vast and interesting world of cycling, a world that is not created for a certain type of person but rather a world that every type of person can make his or her own.
If you’re already a cyclist, think you might want to become a cyclist, or just wonder why people sit on those tiny seats in tight shorts, keep reading as I explore our local, quirky, quickly growing cycling community.