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What's Your Bike Type?

Are you looking to cruise around town or to explore on dirt roads? Find out which bike type is for you and what biking equipment you need for your bike ride.
Trek 1.2 WSD bike The Road Rider

You're a more serious cyclist, training for a tri or looking for extra speed and a lightweight bike.

What You'll Need

Ideal Wheels: Forget your old purple 10-speed. Women-specific road bikes now come in all shades and have anywhere from 14 to 30 gears. "Try out as many bikes as you can before you buy, since different brands fit differently, even if they're the same frame size," says Gale Bernhardt, author of Cycling for Women. The Trek 1.2 WSD ($880, trekbikes.com) is perfect for long rides: It's lightweight and has a carbon fork that soaks up road vibrations. It also has 27 speeds (i.e., more help for your legs) so you can climb even the steepest hills, not lose control of the pedals on downhills, and coast easy on the flats.

A helmet: The ponytail-compatible Giro Skyla has a quick-adjust rear knob that lets you easily fine-tune a snug fit ($40, sportsauthority.com).

Shoes: For a good entry-level clipless cycling shoe, try the Pearl Izumi Quest Road with vented soles for extra breathability plus three Velcro straps that hug your foot ($80, pearlizumi.com).

Shorts and a jersey: The diaper-like chamois padding in bike shorts serves a purpose: It protects soft tissue (as it's called in the bike world) so you can ride pain-free. Try Sugoi's Evolution Shorty ($90, sugoi.com) for a flattering fit that doesn't bunch. Pair it with the Betty jersey ($85, sugoi.com); it has three elastic back pockets, so a snack, your phone, and sunscreen are easy to access on the fly.

Gloves: Pick a padded pair to help absorb the shock to hands and prevent numbness, like the Gore Power Lady, with foam on the palms ($36, gorebikewear.com).