0

Sorry if this question was asked already but by far I couldn't find it by myself a comprehensive answer to it.

I recently started out cycling with my gravel bike and I am happy with it. The first aim was to improve my cardio and endurance for other sports, but then I like cycling more and more with the time so I want to give a try to practice serious road-cycling (not because I saw many road bike guys passing by me ;)). But my problem is that, I have no one around me who is expert or at least have some knowledge in the bike riding, so there is no advisor to help me get started.

To elaborate the question a little: Is there any comprehensive and standard beginner-guide to the road-cycling? I don't mind about the source; it can be a reddit post, a magazine, or a book, whatever works.

FYI: Now I ride mostly 25km/h on average for two hours including some unpaved roads and stops. Don't know in which level am I belong to. Maybe I should improve more before buying a road bike? Here is my latest Komoot ride: https://www.komoot.com/tour/463897675?ref=avs&share_token=a6fgzGeA7p7g63D5IEjCI4Ie2PSbO8hTxqcnsU1IuhZzTCeoZW

6
  • 1
    Are you intending to go full road bike route or continue using your gravel bike ? If your gravel bike is more of a hybrid style setup you may want to borrow a road bike first to make sure your comfortable with drop bars.
    – Dan K
    Aug 23, 2021 at 7:25
  • 2
    Are you asking about training? Or equipment? The main difference between gravel bikes and road bikes is the tyres. Change to road bike tyres and you pretty much have a road bike. Of course the frame geometry is also slightly different, there is clearance for wider tyres and some gravel bikes come with 1x transmission or shock absorbing handlebars. But it shouldn’t make much of a difference, especially for a beginner.
    – Michael
    Aug 23, 2021 at 7:57
  • 1
    Road cycling is not a rocket science and can be performed at speeds much slower than yours. Just get a bike and start rolling. If you already have a drop-bar bike, you shouldn't encounter any big difference. It is just harder, when you hit a pothole or a speed bumper. Aug 23, 2021 at 9:55
  • 1
    Best by throwing one leg over the top-tube, putting the feet on the pedals and pedalling. There's no big difference whether it's on a gravel path or on a road.
    – Carel
    Aug 23, 2021 at 13:25
  • 1
    I may expand this into an answer, but do you know for sure that nobody close to you can help you get started in road cycling? Are there no clubs, or do bike stores not organize rides? It's easiest to learn in-person with others in general. At the time of writing, your personal COVID vaccination status and vaccination and infection rates in your community should also be considered, but that won't be permanent.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Aug 23, 2021 at 14:30

2 Answers 2

4

Road cycling is a broad and deep topic, and there's probably no single source of information that could do more than scratch the surface of all its various disciplines (racing, touring, commuting, randonneuring, etc), sub-disciplines, and aspects (fitness, maintenance & tech, bike-handling skills, etc).

Riding with other people is probably the best way to get acculturated and to pick up on-the-bike skills. A lot of bike shops have group rides that leave from their front door, often on Saturday mornings. If there's a shop in your area, ask them. Different group rides have different vibes. If the first one you try doesn't suit you, look for a different one. Maynard Hershon is an essayist who has a couple of collections that might be fun reading and that will give some insights into bike culture. Velominati is a website about bike culture (specifically, road racers) to take with a grain of salt. Or two. Bikeforums.net has numerous sub-forums dealing with different aspects of cycling. It's much chattier than this site.

There are a lot of books about bike maintenance, but Lennard Zinn's is solid. He also has a weekly tech Q&A column. This website is a good technical reference, and the late Sheldon Brown's website should be in your bookmarks—the information there is a little dated, but still excellent. I also find Bike Gremlin useful. There are Youtube videos demonstrating maintenance procedures, everything from changing an innertube to bleeding a hydraulic brake line. Park Tools has a lot of helpful videos.

Fitness is a huge topic with a lot of sub-topics, many of which may simply not be relevant to you if you just want to have fun riding your bike.

1
2

Ride your bike athletically for long distances on the roads and you are a road cyclist.

There's nothing more than that. As long as you are happy with the bike there's no secret sauce.

I'd say 99% of those who ride bike athletically for long distances on the roads find that bike with no suspension suits them best, that drop handlebars suit them best (and that it's a good idea to ride on a handlebar covered by tape instead of a bare handlebar), that relatively narrow (32mm or less) tires with high TPI, no tread pattern (slick) and very thin sidewalls suit them best, and that some kind of clipless pedals suit them best. Also 99% of those who ride on the road choose to ride on usually synthetic fiber clothing and perhaps wool as an alternative and avoid cotton clothing. 99% of the road cyclists either have a double crankset with two relatively large chainrings or alternatively don't use their smallest ring on the triple crankset at all and have decided if they need to purchase a new bike it'll have a double crankset.

Most road cyclists choose to ride on bikes that don't provide any electric assist at all, but for those that are very heavy (over 100 kg) and have avoided sports for a long time and wish to restart sports by doing road cycling, it's not a crime to use an electric road bike, should you find one (finding one could be a bit tricky though).

Don't be afraid to call yourself "road cyclist" even if you use for example SPD pedals that are officially considered "MTB" technology. With SPD pedals, you can ride 50 km on the road, stop at a cafe without walking like a duck, ride another 50 km on the road and not having to place an order for new plastic cleats that were damaged because you walked like a duck on them instead of riding on the bike non-stop.

A gravel bike, or a drop bar touring bike, or a cyclocross bike doesn't make you less of a road cyclist than a carbon fiber 6799.999999 gram 6800.000001 gram carbon fiber road bike would make you.

If you are short on storage space and/or money, your road bike can be the same as your commute bike. This means you can have pannier rack, kickstand, mudguards, mounted U lock, bell, lights, reflectors, hub dynamo and other essentials on your road bike.

There are even road cyclists who dare to ride without a water bottle! (Of course having the dreaded SPD pedals will make it slightly easier to ride without a water bottle as you need the ability to stop at a grocery store to buy something to drink without walking like a duck if you choose to ride without a water bottle.)

Also if your leg strength is excellent but your hand strength is your weak point, you can perfectly well use a bike where the handlebar is only a couple of centimeters below the saddle or so, you don't have to ride a bike with excessive saddle-to-handlebar drop to be a road cyclist.

Is there any comprehensive and standard beginner-guide to the road-cycling?

You don't become a road cyclist by reading a guide.

You become a road cyclist by riding your bike athletically on the road for long distances.

However, it may be useful to at least be aware of drop handlebars, high performance slick tires, clipless pedals and non-cotton sports clothing. Those are the things that for 99% of road cyclists make their road cycling far more enjoyable. I don't think there are very many road cyclists that try some of the items on the list and decide they don't need that item.

Also you probably discover on your own the various riding positions on a road bike but in case you don't, here's the list:

  • When riding seated, you can hold your hands on the tops, on the corners, on the hoods and on the drops. Positions on the left are less aerodynamic but cause less fatigue of your arms. Positions on the right are more aerodynamic but cause more fatigue of your arms.
  • When riding up hills, if you choose to go faster than you can comfortably go seated it's easiest to ride standing, hands on the hoods (climbing position)
  • When needing very large amounts of power for short bursts, if you choose to do so, it's easiest to ride standing with hands on the drops (sprinting position)
1

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.