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Biking for Weight Loss: Tips and Advice

Part two: Get the best bike equipment for weight loss, comfort and safety

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Updated August 11, 2014

Biking for Weight Loss: Tips and Advice

Ride your bike to lose weight

Peter Cade/Getty Images

Now that you've figured out how to structure your cycling workout you'll want to make sure your equipment is ready to go before you hit the road. Biking for weight loss doesn't require expensive equipment, but a few pieces of cycling gear will keep you comfortable on your rides.
 

What Kind of Bike Should I Ride To Lose Weight?

The best bike for exercise is the one that you will ride on a regular basis. For some people this is a road bike with thin tires and a sleeker frame. Some people prefer the comfort and ease of a cruiser, and others like a heavier, thick-tire mountain bike. Choose the bike that fits the style of riding you prefer.

Buy your bike at a dedicated bike shop. The salespeople at these stores are trained to measure you for a proper fit. They will measure your body and make suggestions or adjustments not only to the seat height, but also to handlebar height and width, top tube length, and saddle size so that you ride in the most comfortable position.

Essential Bike Gear for Cycling Newbies

  • Helmet. Buy it and wear it - always. Visit your local bike shop to be properly fitted. A cycling expert will show you how to wear your helmet so that you are protected in the event of a crash.
  • Identification. This is another item that you hope you never need to use. But in the unfortunate event of an accident, having an ID such as a driver's license or a Road ID bracelet, will help responders to do their job.
  • Cellphone. As your fitness level increases, you'll find yourself traveling further from home. If your bike breaks down or the weather becomes dangerous, a cell phone will allow you to call for help.
  • Water bottle. An effective cycling workout will make you thirsty. Keep your water bottle full and remember to take sips along the way.
  • Glasses. A good pair of cycling glasses will protect your eyes from flying debris like rocks, glass or bugs. Get a pair with a rubber nose piece so they don't slide down your face when you sweat.

Optional accessories:

  • Saddle pack. This small pack attaches to your seat post and zips up to hold your cell phone, your ID and other essentials.
  • Heart rate monitor. Measure your intensity with this high tech tool. Compare Prices to find one that fits your budget.
  • Bike computer. A bike computer attaches to your handlebars and can measure speed, distance, pace, cadence and many more features. It is not essential, but they are fun to have.
  • Trainer for indoors. If you are serious about biking for weight loss, an indoor trainer is a handy tool. A trainer is usually a foldable contraption that allows you to ride on your outdoor bike when you are indoors. It's great for rainy or cold days.
  • Cycling shoes. Cycling specific shoes are not necessary for weight loss workouts, but they can make your ride more comfortable. Avid cyclists wear shoes that clip into the pedals. The clips are not necessary, but you may find that a stiff shoe (cycling or otherwise) works better on your workout. The stiffness helps to transfer the pressure from the pedal to your entire foot, making your pedal stroke more efficient and comfortable.

Biking Tips To Make Your Ride More Safe and Effective

  • Add hills. Build strength in your lower body, increase your aerobic capacity and boost your calorie burning potential by adding some hills to your route. You can even find one large incline and ride the hill several times as a single workout session.
  • Add speed intervals. Once you establish a regular riding routine, begin to challenge yourself with speed. On flat stretches of road, add 1-3 miles per hour to your speed for several minutes. Follow that interval by a shorter rest period and then repeat the cycle 3-5 times.
  • Cross train. Biking for weight loss is a great workout, but if you combine cycling with types of workouts you'll lose weight faster. On your non-cycling days, do a simple strength training workout at home, or walk to burn calories.
  • Leave your iPod at home. Never bike with headphones in your ears, unless you are indoors on your trainer. Even if you are on a protected bike path, it is important to be able to see and hear everything around you.
  • Don't ride and talk or text. Leave your cell phone packed away for emergencies. Biking and talking or texting can be just as dangerous as doing it while you are driving.
  • Be mindful of the weather. Biking is weather dependent. If your speed decreases significantly one day, it might only be due to high winds or heat. When you evaluate your workouts look for trends rather comparing single days to each other.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Weight Loss
  4. Weight Loss Tips by Age Group
  5. Lose Weight in Your 50s and 60s
  6. How to Lose Weight on Your Bike

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