Is it okay to ride in sneakers?

Sure. They’re great for casual riding because they’re comfortable, stylish and ideal for walking when you’re off the bike. The more you get into cycling, the longer distances you’ll start to ride though, and you’ll probably discover why riders prefer shoes made for the purpose. What happens with regular tennis shoes and sneakers is that the flexible soles and cushioning materials allow the pressure points on the pedals to stress the feet as you ride. This causes two problems: a loss of pedaling efficiency and worse, on rides over a couple of hours, it can lead to a painful condition called hot foot.

For these reasons, if you’re riding regularly, we recommend getting cycling shoes to improve your comfort and enjoyment. This purchase is no different than selecting special footwear for running or shooting hoops. And biking shoes are available for similar prices depending on what features you require. One great advantage of specialty cycling shoes, though, is that they usually last a lot longer than other sports footwear (because they’re on the pedals a lot), so you really get your money’s worth.

All cycling shoes are built to increase pedaling efficiency and prevent discomfort. Designers incorporate sole stiffeners that ensure that every ounce of pedaling effort makes it into the pedals. And these same stiffeners prevent the pedals from digging into your feet so you won’t suffer hot foot. You’ll find different closure systems on various shoe types from laces to Velcro to both.

One important detail is what pedal system you’ll be using with the shoes. If you’re riding with standard pedals without toe clips and straps, consider adding them because they’ll help you pedal better and faster by keeping your feet in place and by allowing you to apply power through more of the pedal stroke (they also make sure your feet can’t slip off the pedals). If you’re ready to upgrade or are already using clipless pedals, we need to know which pedals you have so we can make sure the shoes are compatible with your cleats (the pieces that attach to the bottoms of the shoes and engage the pedals).

We stock a wide selection of cycling footwear for both road- and off-road use. The best way to select a pair is to think about how you’ll use the shoes and then come in to try on several pairs to find some that fit. The fit is specific to the type of cycling you’re doing and we’ll help with this.

For example, if you do a weekly group ride with friends during which you stop for breakfast and some window shopping, a perfect shoe might be one of our walkable models. These resemble athletic shoes and are fit like them, but they feature a reasonably stiff sole for cycling comfortably. They’ve got grippy treads on the bottom and recessed spots for your pedal cleats if you’re riding clipless pedals. Of course, there are special models for cyclists who rarely walk in their shoes, too, which fit more tightly. Come by and we’ll set you up with cycling shoes that you’ll love.

Are special biking shorts really necessary? I don’t like to wear skin-tight clothes.

If you’re just coasting around the neighborhood, any old pair of cutoffs might work just fine. But, once you hit the trail or road for an hour-long spin or more, cycling shorts can make a significant difference in comfort.

It’s the construction of these pedaling pants that works the magic. Your everyday trousers and shorts – even ones designed for exercise, are held together by seams that usually come together in the crotch area forming a bump right where it can hurt you most when you’re sitting on a bicycle seat. Also, the fabrics used are for all-round fashion and comfort. They can’t provide the moisture transfer and relief from friction that’s so important when you’re spinning the pedals.

Inside cycling shorts you’ll find a generous pad that, combined with the seam-free crotch construction, helps cushion shock and prevent friction that can cause chafing and discomfort. It’s important to note that regular underwear is not worn beneath cycling shorts because the seams in the underwear cause the exact problem the shorts are designed to avoid. There is however, special seam-free cycling underwear available and it will add to the comfort of cycling shorts.

And don’t worry about having to wear skin-tight shorts. We have loose-fitting cycling shorts that resemble the most stylish outdoor clothing. In these, you’ll be super comfy while riding, and when you stop to shop or relax, you’ll look and feel great.

Come in and try on some cycling shorts today. You’ll really appreciate the difference.

Which helmets are safest?

All the helmets we carry, from the most affordable, to models with all the latest features, meet or exceed the highest and most-current safety standards as required by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Each helmet is tested by the manufacturer and CPSC to meet stringent safety specifications so that it’ll provide optimum protection in an accident.

An important part of the safety equation is getting a helmet that fits perfectly. We’re experts in this and we can help with selecting the correct size, model and also with adjusting the straps so the helmet sits on your head right when you’re riding.

It helps in selecting a helmet to consider how you’ll use it. For example, if you ride a bike with flat handlebars, you’ll probably appreciate a helmet that includes a visor, which is a nice thing to have come sundown when old Sol can be in just the right place to blind you with glare. You’ll find the visor is a perfect shield. Contrarily, if you’re a roadie who has the lightest bike and likes to jam, you’ll probably prefer the most aero, ventilated and sleek lid you can find…and a visor may not interest you (visors offer sun protection for your nose and face, on and off the road).

One fact many people don’t realize about helmets is that while they seemingly last forever, they won’t provide proper protection forever. Manufacturers who study these things, recommend replacing helmets at least every five years to ensure safety when you need it. This is because over time, the materials inside the helmet that absorb shock in a crash, break down slightly and stop doing their job as well. Also, consider that a helmet takes a beating in its life. Things such as leaving it in a warm car, accidentally dropping it and shipping it, gradually wear out a helmet’s ability to protect.

We want you to be as safe as possible so we’ll be delighted to show you the latest helmets. If you haven’t checked out helmets in a while, we think you’ll be amazed at how light, adjustable, good looking, affordable and comfortable our new models are.

What do you wear if you ride in the rain a lot?

What to wear to be warm and dry on rainy days varies depending on the nature of your rides. For example, professional racers, who sometimes have to compete all day in the rain, get by with the skimpiest of outfits, often a thin waterproof jacket over a long-sleeve top with no leg protection other than shorts. But, they can get by with this gear because they’re generating so much body heat from pushing themselves so hard.

Chances are, you’ll need a more practical approach. A big key to remaining comfortable when Mother Nature’s doing her best to make you miserable, is dressing in layers. Start with a wicking fabric close to the skin. This moves the sweat away so you don’t get wet from the inside, which is as bad as what the rain does to you. And, you can vary the thickness of this first layer according to the temperature or put on a couple of thin layers. Next put on a warm cycling jersey, one with long sleeves if it’s chilly. If it’s cold, put a thermal layer over the jersey. Then, on top, wear a rain jacket designed for cycling.

There are other types of jackets designed for the wet stuff, but ones made for cycling will provide coverage for your lower back (important because you bend over to reach the handlebars) and include ventilation to let heat escape and help prevent overheating and excess sweating. Also, cycling-specific jackets (and jerseys) almost always feature rear pockets, which are perfect for stashing layers removed if you get lucky and the sun comes out.

What you wear on your legs is a matter of personal preference. Some riders swear by water-resistant rain pants over their cycling shorts (or tights when it’s cold). But other cyclists dislike pedaling in these rain pants because they catch the wind and bunch a bit. So instead, they just put up with getting wet. It’s worth experimenting to find what’s right for you. Most important is keeping your knees warm to maintain blood circulation and prevent injury.

Besides leggings and tops, consider booties (shoe covers) to keep your toes warm and protect your cycling shoes. And, we recommend adding fenders to your bike. These are easily installed and removed and they work wonders in the wet by stopping the spray that otherwise shoots off the wheels drenching your feet, face and back. Similarly, fenders keep a lot of the water off your bicycle and components too, which means less maintenance and bike cleaning.

If you’re interested in actually enjoying your next rainy-day ride, come on in and check out our stock of water-resistant clothing and accessories.

I wear glasses. Can I get prescription cycling eyewear?

Lots of cyclists wear their everyday glasses for cycling and do just fine. But, it’s unlikely those glasses were designed for the rigors of biking and can handle important tasks such as eliminating ultra-violet rays and glare, not fogging up, and fully protecting the eyes from airborne debris. Also, prescription glasses can be expensive and they’re at considerable risk when you’re exercising. You might lose or drop them, or fall and damage them. These are all reasons we recommend considering cycling eyewear.

Today, several manufacturers offer cycling eyewear models that accommodate prescription glasses. Usually there’s an insert that holds your prescription lenses and snaps into the frames. Otherwise, the cycling eyewear is identical to and offers all the high-tech features of the same non-prescription model. So, you’ll have great vision and eye protection while keeping your everyday glasses safe at home.

We can show you the different prescription-compatible eyewear we carry. You’ll need to visit your eye doctor to have prescription lenses made to fit the glasses and then you’re set to go.