Your Handy Guide to Riding a Bike Like a Kid Again

Nik Mirus

You were practically attached to your motorcycle as a kid. Get back in the saddleand back to some funwith these tips.

Keep It Casual

Pros wear body-hugging dancing wear for the slight aerodynamic advantage at race speeds. For you , no measurable benefit. Most of the casual apparel in your wardrobe will do–just dress for the climate. Its how most of the world does it, and if you have to costume up to take a spin, youll look dorky and ride less often.

Find Your Sole

The most satisfying pedaling technology is a rubber-soled shoe on a flat, semigrippy pedal. Children start out like that, but racer venerate kicks in with age and steers them astray. Resist. Wear shoes you like and can walk in. Sandals and sneakers run great.

Dont Break Your Heart

The bike industry and media extol long, fast rides that, over 20 years or so, can lead to atrial fibrillation and increased risk of heart attacks. The training zone, where your heart rate is high but sustainable for a few hours, is also the death zone. Its much healthier to keep a pace you could continue the working day. Rely on burpees and weights for workouts instead.

Get a Bike-of-All-Trades

Your cycling enthusiast friends probably have a 16 -pound road racer, a dual-suspension mountain brute, and maybe even an electric passenger. Bike culture gravitates to the extremes. But most situations are best handled by a boring bike with practical-width tires, fenders, racks for gear, and upright( not drop !) handlebars. You dont stroll leaning forward 45 degrees, so why pedal that way?

Ride Like Youre 11

Kids use bikes to get places and have fun. Adult bikes are marketed as fitness equipment because thats how you market bikes to adults. Dont let that be the boss of you. Ride for pleasure and transportlike you used to.

Use Your Head

Wear a helmet, but dont count on it to save you. First, 9 ounces of Styrofoam and plastic may pass low-bar impact exams, but theyre no match for hard, fast smacks. And second, protective gear promotes you to take risks you might not take without it. Not a winning combination. Ride sensiblyyour wits are your best guardian.

WIRED Recommended Gear

1. Odyssey Twisted PC

A broad double-sided pedal like this is all you need for pushing. | $1418

2. Brooks Cambium C17

Your cheap foam seat is fine, but one of these comfy, versatile saddles made from rubber and cotton is better. | $160

3. Chrome Box Canvas Mirko Sneaker

The forged rubber soles on these durable sneaks wont go click-clack on the office floor. | $85

4. Origin8 CitiClassic

Roadster bars keep your hands well above the saddle height. | $51

Grant Petersen is the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works and the author of Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike .

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