The Big Book of Cycling for Beginners & Other Essential Cycling Gear

When I first started racing in triathlons, I knew nothing about cycling. As a collegiate runner and lifelong competitive swimmer, I had the other two triathlon sports covered. But my biking knowlegdge was limited to commuting around my college campus on a "Mary Poppins" bike. When I bought my first road bike, I got a few tips from some newbie triathlete friends, but I was left to figure out the sport of cycling, with all of it’s gear and etiquette, on my own.

Looking back, things would have been a lot easier if Bicycling Magazine’s Big Book of Cycling for Beginners had been in print in 2003 when I started training for my first tri. This book covers everything a beginner cyclist needs to know - from basic bike maintenance to the dynamics of group riding and defining cycling's unique vocabulary.

I would have had much more fun if I knew some of the insiders advice explained in this book, like getting familiar with “shammy cream” before your first long ride and that aerobars are generally frowned upon when riding with a group. As I read through this book, I thought anyone who buys their first road bike should also pick up a copy of this book. The book includes so many tidbits that will improve the experience of becoming a cyclist. I’m definitely going to send a copy to my aunt and uncle who are in the process of purchasing their first road bikes.

One of the more useful topics in the is book, and my personal favorite, is what to wear (and what not to wear, exerpt below!) when riding a bike. This is so important, because you want to feel good on the bike and not uncomfortable. The focus should be on the ride and the surroundings, not on a having cold toes or bike shorts that rub. Believe me, it will improve the overall quality of the ride.

The author of the book does a great job of clearly explaining the specifics of cycling clothing, like how cycling socks differ from regular socks and what leg warmers and toe covers are. This may all seem so basic now, but when I first started: I had NO IDEA. Now I totally get it, and here are four of my favorite cycling necessities (hemelt, sunglasses, cute cycling kit and cycling gloves). Click the images below for some stylish items from Rudy Project, Velocio,  and Santini.  For even more options on cute cycling clothes, follow @athletestyle 's Pinterest board here:  http://www.pinterest.com/laurelwassner/cool-cycling-clothes/ .  We will continue to add items we like so keep checking and let us know if we missed anything!  What else is on your must have cycling gear list? --Bec