When you’re deciding to get into cycling, everybody wants to help by giving you advices and ‘stories’ they heard of before. After that, you’ll start your ride with others, and they start telling you things and offer advice and share the wisdom of their years of cycling experiences, which normally is the opposite of what you’ve heard before. Sometimes, things you hear about cycling isn’t always entirely true, unless you decide to risk it and find out whether it’s the opposite or not. Well, what is true and what is not? Today, every ‘cycling myth’ you hear will finally show its true color.
1. Wearing a helmet makes your head hotter and your scalp uncomfortable than if you didn’t wear one.
Smart for someone to assume so, but still, it’s a myth that’s about to be uncovered. This may sound true during a blazing hot day and you’re under the sun, with your helmet cramming your brains out. But having your head exposed to the hot sun is hotter then wearing a helmet, and your head remain cooler when wearing a helmet. Why so? For some reason, modern helmets are comprised primarily of polystyrene foam (also found in coolers) that is super light and a great insulating material.
2. Cycling causes erectile dysfunction and/or impotence/infertility.
The greatest cycling myth of myths finally busted. Men, you don’t have to worry about anything now. Some beginners might feel a little discomfort on the saddle, like tingling and numbness, but they will go away after a few weeks. If your bike seat is uncomfortable, you would have to adjust the seat or get a more cushioned and comfortable one. This myth exists when a doctor in Boston came up with this theory after much research, as he implies that bicycle seats can compress the arteries and cause impotency.
While some cyclists may have really develop the condition, it is normally due to abusive cycling practices and riding long distances on a seat that is not adjusted properly. “We found no positive association between cycling and erectile dysfunction or cycling volume and infertility,” says study author Milo Hollingworth of University College London. He suggests that cycling does not cause direct impotency, even in avid riders.
3. Cycling on the road is not safe and you should ride facing traffic.
Cycling is actually safer than in a car or on a motorcycle than on a bike when it comes to the probability of a collision. Just be aware of your surroundings and you should be safe. Riding facing traffic is the leading cause of accidents and death in cyclists, especially in urban areas. When cycling on the road with other vehicles, you should go with traffic flow, not against it, and obey road laws, like other drivers. Similarly, you should indicate that you are making a turn or a stop by giving hand gestures or putting up lights that shows signals. This is a rule that pedestrians should walk against traffic, so that they can make eye contact with oncoming motorists or drivers and act faster when an accident is about to happen.
So spread the word that you should go with the traffic when cycling and against traffic when walking on the road, so that this cycling myth can be banished.
4. Shaving your body and leg can make you go faster.
I’m not sure why people shave their legs when they cycle, especially triathletes and time-trial riders, but there is only a small significant change in speed when you don’t shave. Many still believe that shaving your body and leg hairs can make one more aerodynamic and wind resistant. Professional cyclists shave for preventive measure in order to have a better access when treating road rashes and injuries. Shaving is not necessary, it won’t really affect your performance and speed, unless you feel uncomfortable when wearing you cycling kit, so feel free to shave, or not.
5. Get the lightest bike possible.
Although a lighter bike will give you more speed, it does not mean that it will also be productive and practical. Lighter bikes are composed of mainly very expensive material that will cost you a bunch. Maintaining your light bike will also be very cost-consuming, especially when you ride on bad and uneven roads and will definitely cause defects and serious damages (cracked and bent frame/wheel and snapped wires). Getting a super light bike will only cause a hole in your wallet. If you are planning to get a lighter bike, at least have some slightly heavier wheels and more wires as it will absorb impact from road bumps more effectively.
6. Flat tires cannot be avoided.
It can be avoided, unless you let them be. With a little maintenance, a flat tire will be the last thing in this world you’ll see! The basic step to prevent a flat tire is getting a good floor pump, and pumping your tires before every ride. If you are an avid rider, and always goes out on long rides on uneven terrain, your tires will definitely go flat more after a few rounds. You should carry a portable pump, tire levers in your tool kit.
Why do this kinds of myth exist? Bicycle tires have low volume and pressure, and just like any other tires (even car tires), it will naturally lose air over time. The tires will appear softer and if you ride like this, you will most probably get a flat. Therefore, you should have a constant check on your tires before a ride.
7. You can’t ride your mountain bike on the road, vice versa.
You may have heard people say mountain bikes = all-terrain bikes. Well, agreeable. Fact is, you can ride your MTB anywhere and everywhere you wish. But the heavy knobby tires, squishy suspension, upright position and super low gearing, it is tough to keep up with people on the road, unless you modify your bike a little. For fast long distance road riding, you should consider about getting some changes and upgrades on your MTB. 1. Go for slick, high pressure tires and lightweight tubes. 2. Add bar ends for better hand position and more leverage on climbs. 3. Install larger chain rings, if possible (since you travel faster on pavement). 4. Restrict the suspension-fork for more power and better handling.