FAQ for the new [road] cyclist

Q. What is the low down on cycling shorts?
A. Cycling shorts/liners are generally fitted with a chamois (sham-ee) or padding inside the short/liner. Some liners will have an overshort which looks more casual than your traditional black cycling short. Baggy shorts vs. fitted shorts are personal preference. The chamois provides cushion for the sit bones and can make riding much more comfortable! What to wear underneath your cycling shorts: NOTHING! Cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear; wearing underwear can cause chafing or unnecessary friction. So nothing between you but chamois butt’r. Speaking of that ….

Q. What is this chamois butter stuff?
A. Chamois butter is a skin lubricant that removes the friction between your shorts and your body. It can be applied either directly to skin or the chamois itself. There are women’s specific versions of chamois butter that are ph balanced.

Q. What are the benefits of ‘clipless pedals’?
A. First let’s clarify: ‘clipless pedals’ refer to pedals where you’re shoes are locked into the pedal with a cleat system. Although the name is confusing it originally referred to pedals without toe cages (or clips). So now-a-days the name clipless pedals remains even though it causes a lot of confusion among newer riders. The benefit of clipless pedals are numerous: 1. stiffer soled shoes remove the pressure on the ball of the foot caused by the pedal 2. clipless pedals can provide a more complete pedal stroke allowing you to pull up on the backstroke as opposed to simply pushing down 3. clipless pedals will prevent your feet from flying of the pedals 4. clipless pedals provide more efficiency on your pedal stroke. But won’t I fall over? There are various types of clipless pedals out there – go see your local bike shop and they can show you different options for different styles of riding. Many pedals have tension adjustment options so that you can make it easier to unclip when you start.

Q. What should my tire pressure be?
A. Tire pressure will vary depending on the type of bike/tire that you have. The best bet is to look at the sidewall (side) of your tire to find out what pressure your tire is rated for. It should have PSI range printed there along with the tire size. For many road bikes (700×23-25 tires) you will want to pump your tires to approx 100-110 psi. This will help prevent ‘pinch’ flats which are common with the inner tube is underinflated. As a general rule, you should check your tire pressure and inflate your tires before every ride.

Q. Do I have to wear a helmet?
A. Legally in CT – not if you are over the age of 16. But if you value your life – YES. On any of our group rides or test rides at the shop helmets are a requirement. You should also know the rules of where you are riding – in some parks/recreation areas you can be ticketed if you’re not wearing a helmet.

Q. How do I know what gear to ride in?
A. Hop over to the resources: Basics of Shifting for a quick overview

For more information email amanda@newingtonbike.com or hop over to our ‘Ask Our Ambassadors‘ page to submit your own questions!