Travails of a Novice Biker
Besides the aching legs and back for a beginner biker such as myself, I have a number of complaints about biking.
- I don’t have the proper attire. I know it’s no big deal. You can just wear an old shirt or house clothes and go but no, you have to wear clothes appropriate for biking. Read: Dri-fit. If the weather is too sunny, consider long sleeves or arm sleeves. And I can never go without gloves. I guess getting calluses is part of the bike experience. Also never go without a helmet. NEVER. You don’t know what danger lurks in the trails ahead.
- One water bottle is sometimes not enough. If biking long distances, I suggest having two water bottles, hence, you’d need a couple of bottle holders — especially in areas where there’s no convenience stores around. Better keep yourself hydrated.
- There’s no place to put my stuff. Yes, I’m a packrat. I can’t go without a phone, some money, a towel, and some gum. If I’m lugging my kid with me, I better double my supply. I thank whoever invented the small bags they attach to the bikes.
- Smoke gets in my eyes. Or dirt. Worse, an insect. I kid you not. So eye protection is a must. It is no fun going blind while pedaling in the worst conditions.
- Butt-aches. Laugh if you want but seriously I don’t know if I’m sitting wrong or its just one of ‘em aches that will just pass as I get into a regular biking routine. A gel seat helps or maybe I’d just need to get one of those wider seats. If you’re a novice like me, invest on a comfy seat, it can make for a much smoother ride.
- A flat happens. No matter how much you prepare for a ride, you’d inevitably experience a flat. If you’re biking through a city, it’s easy to find some guy to pump air back into your bike but if you’re going out into the suburbs where houses are few and far between, better bring along a handy pump.
- I do need bells and whistles. I know it’s rare to see pro bikers with bells but for a novice biker such as myself who sometimes have a kid at the back, I really need one. Plus a side mirror would be ideal.
- Sh*t happens. At the very least I have a small first aid kit in my bike and some tools which I actually don’t know how to use. YET.
- Maintenance is a must. Not because you only have a two-wheeled non fuel powered vehicle, doesn’t mean you don’t give it some TLC. You should. Love your bike. Wash it up and bring it regularly for maintenance.
- Why did I only discover the joy of biking now? Seriously, this is my biggest complaint. There is joy on the wheels — discovering new paths, meeting new friends, and just getting fit. Saigon is such an ideal place for biking! If you’re just starting out and don’t know the places where you can bike, why not try joining Vietnam Bike Tours’ Sunday Bike Ride?