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6 Cycling Rules That Were Meant to Be Broken

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    Find a Bike Shop, Any Bike Shop

    Finding a good bike shop is like finding the perfect pair of jeans—you shop around, try on different ones for size until you find the one that fits just right. "Look for a shop with a solid reputation," suggests D'Ercole. "Finding a knowledgeable, trustworthy place that wants to help you may take a little time and patience, but just like any good relationship, it is worth the work," she says.

    And your relationship with that shop doesn't end after you purchase a bike. It's important to build that relationship over time. This is the place that you can go to for advice, guidance, maintenance, group rides, and additional purchases. Investing time, energy, and a little money in a good shop that will help you grow as a cyclist will be worth it in the long run.

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    You Need the Best Gear

    Let's be real—dressing in head-to-toe spandex isn't exactly a pinnacle moment of fashion for anyone. So wear what works for you, especially in the beginning. "When you first get into the sport, it's all about feeling comfortable on the bike," says King. There is one piece of gear that greatly boosts comfort, though: a good-fitting pair of bike shorts with a chamois (pronounced "shammy," that padded part on the bum). We like Pearl Izumi Women's Quest Short to cushion your tush. (Note: D'Ercole stresses the importance of going commando in your bike shorts. Chamois shorts are designed to be the only layer between you and your seat. The extra fabric of underwear will cause all kinds of unnecessary chafing and discomfort.)

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    You Need to Clip In

    Clipping in is a big intimidation factor for many people. But here's the good news—it's totally not a requirement! D'Ercole recommends starting with flat pedals, then adding cages (straps that lock your toes in so you can push down and pull up on the pedal). Then upgrade from soft-bottomed sneakers to hard-soled cycling/commuter shoes. Once you get the hang of all of that, you might consider clipping in. Then, "pedal around soft surfaces, ahem grass, when you first get clipless pedals—and yes, it's counterintuitive that clipless pedals are the ones you clip in to," says King. You will likely tip over in the beginning, but we'll let you in on a little secret—nearly everyone does, even pro cyclists! "Once you've gained the confidence of clipping in and out, you'll never look back!" says D'Ercole.

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    You Need to Be a Mechanical Genius

    We know—it may seem complicated and overwhelming trying to understand the different parts of a bike and how to take care of them. But King literally laughed out loud at this one. "Absolutely not! In fact, most professional cyclists are mechanically inept," he laughs. He recommends learning the most basic skill, how to change a flat tire. Most bike shops offer a Cycling Maintenance 101 course. "From there, the next best skill is punching a phone number into your cell phone," he says. "I always ride with a phone, which is the speedy way to get out of a pinch. Garmin also has live tracking software that's simple to use and allows others to know where you are," he adds.

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    Real Cyclists Don't Take Spin Class

    Not only do "real" cyclists take spin classes, but they also teach them! Ted King recently recreated one of his typical indoor workouts and a race simulation as a guest-instructor at Peloton in New York City. "Look, I consider myself pretty tough, but there's a line I draw in the snow, and I, too, ride indoors," says King. "Spinning indoors is incredibly useful. You really make that time count."

    D'Ercole did all of her winter training for the 2009 Track Nationals on an indoor cycling bike and won a gold medal. "If you're looking for genuine outdoor riding/racing training in an indoor cycling class, Google instructors for their bios," says D'Ercole. "Instructors who are certified through Schwinn will give an authentic, outdoor-inspired ride."

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    Your Bum Is Going to Hurt—Deal with It

    Seriously, cycling shouldn't be a pain in the ass. Sure, there's an initial adjustment period when your sit bones get used to spending time in the saddle (that's where those padded bike shorts come in handy!), and you might feel sore. But after your body acclimates, you should experience a level of comfort on the bike. Be sure your saddle is properly positioned. "Go to a reputable bike shop and get a proper bike fit," suggests King. "They'll make sure you're ergonomically positioned for optimal performance and comfort, plus they'll make sure you're on the right saddle in the first place," he says. "In my experience, most shops will make small adjustments for you at no cost," adds D'Ercole. If you're comfortable on your bike, you'll want to ride it more, and riding more equals more fun.