Cycling is booming during the pandemic, which makes sense: Taking a bike out for a spin has a slew of total-body benefits—from a cardiovascular boost to overall muscular endurance. And, due respect to jogging the same three-mile loop, it’s a way to get some badly-needed novelty—to see something new and have a little adventure on a crisp Saturday morning.
In fact, it’s booming to the point where it has gotten very difficult to buy a bike. If you don’t already have one, that’s one hurdle you’ve got to get over if you want in. But in a lot of ways, the bike is the least important part of the equation. Let’s put it this way: The leap from jorts to real padded shorts is greater than any upgraded gears or lighter wheels.
Cycling can feel hard to penetrate—the gear can be overwhelming and the culture can be intense. So GQ rang up seven of the most stylish and highest-mileage guys we know to get their advice for getting comfortable and going long on two wheels.
Can’t live without: The Black Bibs bib shorts. The straps on these are way more comfortable than traditional shorts. Typically, bibs can cost you up to $500, but these start at $40 and are just as good as others. I’ve done seven hour rides in them, no problem.”
The Black Bibs bib shorts
The Black Bibs
His best piece of advice for beginners: “Don’t worry about angry drivers. Folks don’t know the rules, they’re in a rush and taking it out on cyclists. When they honk at you, feel bad for them, but don’t let jerks discourage you. You have every right to be there.”
Can’t live without: “My Oakley Aro5 helmet. It’s got a great fit, is super comfortable and breathable, and the Mips system, which helps protect against twisting forces in a crash, makes it one of the best options on the market. And a bonus: It’s got a really well-designed place for your sunglasses.”
Oakley “Aro 5” hemlet
His best piece of advice for beginners: “Choose your saddle wisely. You are going to spend a lot of time on it, so it better be comfortable. Every body is different.”
Can’t live without: “My Specialized Power Expert saddle. “It fits my body perfectly, is lightweight, and can go the distance from 100 mile rides to hard races. Ride with an uncomfortable seat and you’ll probably be searching for a new sport.”
Specialized “Power Expert” saddle
His best piece of advice for beginners: “Use dedicated bike shoes and pedals. You’ll be blown away by how much more efficient pedaling becomes and how much easier it’ll be to keep up with your friends. The sport becomes so much more fun when you’re clipped in. You’ll inevitably fall over once or twice, so try riding on grass until you get the hang of it.”
Can’t live without: “Shower’s Pass gravel shorts. Cycling can be time consuming, so as I’ve increased mileage beyond basic commuting, I’ve needed gear that can work with rides in different parts of the day. These shorts give me that flexibility. They dry quickly if I go for a ride in the morning and need to wear them after in the office. You can wear a jersey on a trail or throw on a t-shirt with them off the bike. Also, micro adjusters and silicone grip on the waistband keep them from moving, and easy access pockets hold a phone while still being ultra breathable.”
Showers Pass “Gravel” shorts
His best piece of advice for beginners: “The cycling position can make your back, legs, and wrists tight. So focus on mobility off the bike, moving your body in the opposite way of being on the bike and give yourself time to add on mileage. I was literally immobile after riding for a month because my Achilles were so tight.”
Mike Nash, DJ
Can’t live without: “My Gub phone mount. I feel a lot safer having my phone in a secure position when I need to use GPS as a reference when I travel to unfamiliar places.”
Gub phone mount
His best piece of advice for beginners: “Plan the route for your ride ahead of time,” because it’s more fun and a better workout if you’re not constantly getting lost.
Can’t live without: “My Specialized S-Works shoes. They’re super comfortable, I love the way they hug my heels, helping with great power transfer. Yes, they’re a little pricey, but you really feel the difference when you spend on great shoes. Plus, the Boa dials are great for quick adjustments when you’re riding.”
Specialized “S-Works 7” shoes
His best piece of advice for beginners: “Eat while you ride. I don’t mean chewing while pedaling, that’s cool, but if you have to stop for a snack there is no shame in that. We burn a ton of calories when we are riding a bike. It might seem like you’re feeling fine, but coming home and feeling like you need to eat a pint of ice cream and a box of cereal isn’t the way.”
Can’t live without: “My Velocio luxe bibs. I ride an average of 250 miles a week, and a bad bib can make a lot of difference on the comfort, especially on the long days.”
Velocio “Luxe” bib shorts
His best piece of advice for beginners: “Just get out there and ride a lot without worrying yet to get stronger. Whether your focus is on short or long rides, either works, but consistency is the key to build strength and sharpen your handling skills.”
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