Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Road biking for neophytes Part 1 - The beginning

As I started looking for alternate ways to pump up my cardio, it seemed cycling was the best answer for a number of reasons. It was easy on my knees and joints unlike the 5k runs I do every 2 days. Plus no sooner did I start my research into road biking, than I realized that it was a very technical sport, at least as far as the equipment went. And by equipment I mean the bike, the helmet, the attire, the shoe and of course the lubricants (no not those you dirty!)

Now I am a person who loves the challenge of technology. I mean simple things will do too, e.g., I go to IKEA, buy furniture and love the challenge of having to assemble the parts with a basic sketch and maybe an exploded view. In my day job as a field engineer for software, I constantly have to work with new architectures and come up with technical solutions. Did I tell you, I learnt Football (I mean NFL) by playing thru' the Madden 09. So you get my drift. Like many of you I love to be able to figure out things and go to the bottom of technical aspects.

And so it happened one fine day. I had just moved from Comcast to ATT Uverse and surprise surprise, I now was able to see Vs HD which was doing a live telecast of the Tour de France 2009. I was hooked. However I could not understand why some stages had people riding bikes with disc wheels and strange pointed handlebars (the aero-bars as I later found out, but more later), and helmet shapes were different. Once the TV commentator spoke about the Cervelo test team with the Dura ACE gruppo on a Zipp 808 and all this was completely Greek to me.

And then, out of necessity, I undertook a painstaking 2 week research over weekends, exclusively using the web to learn the inner workings of how to buy a pro grade bike, how to build and evaluate different components, and basically all the technical details that a novice like me should know. In the next several posts, I will give you a tour of what the professional bike industry looks like and if you chose to build/customize a bike for race/training, what would be the best way to go about doing that.

What does a frame mean and the basics of what a good fit means when buying a frame. I will point you to building traditional road bikes, the aero frame road bikes, the TT (TimeTrial) bikes and all components. Wherever possible I would give links to references for you to do additional research. So stay tuned for my first experience with pro racing bikes.

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