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Athlete Foundation

Cycling – 2020

It’s as easy as riding a bike.

Not long ago, you had only two choices of bicycles: road bikes (uncomfortable) or mountain bikes (heavy).

Thankfully, much has changed in the last 7 or 8 years. Advancements in bike manufacturing technology make today’s bikes lighter, smoother, and more efficient. And as technology has advanced, so has people’s desire to do different things with their bikes. Today, cycling has many options to satisfy your individual preferences:

Mountain biking: Riding on a single-track mountain bike trail is like an immersive video game in which you are the player and the bike is the joystick. Rocks, roots, mud, sand, twists, and turns present ever-changing challenges in this sport which help develop balance, muscle control, confidence, and quick decision.

Trail systems found throughout Oakland County such as the Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area, Bald Mountain, and Addison Oaks offer different terrains, different surfaces, and new challenges. There are also trail networks and events throughout Michigan (and the USA) that beg you to load up the car and go on a mountain biking road trip!

Road cycling: This category can be broken into three basic types: racing, touring, and recreational riding. In and around congested Oakland County, there are still plenty of places to ride safely. If you like a little speed and a lot of long distances, road cycling may be calling you.

Road cycling has also become a powerful fund-raising machine for a variety of charities. Make-a-Wish, JDRF, and other charitable organizations offer a wide range of ride opportunities for you and your friends to explore. Form a team! Help a charity!

Dirt Road: Bike manufacturers discovered that a simple shift in frame geometry and tire design could create a middle ground between Mountain and Road: Dirt roads. They’ve developed a bike frame that absorbs the bumps while the tires provide more grip. And since dirt roads aren’t as engineered as their paved counterparts, the hills are more challenging, the foliage creates a canopy, and traffic is usually much lighter. It’s the best of both worlds in the northern half of Oakland County where the paved roads end and dirt roads continue all the way up to the Thumb. In October when the Fall colors are popping, hop on the bike and ride the dirt roads of Ortonville, Lakeville, Davisburg, Oxford, and Holly. You will be amazed!

Fat Bikes: You’ve probably seen them around town: mountain bikes with ridiculously fat tires often accompanied by a huge grin on the owner’s face. These bikes may look a little strange at first, but they are similar to riding on a cloud. The tires provide optimum cushion and can roll over any surface. And – believe it or not – they are a total blast in the snow.

Yes, winter cycling is a thing. Seriously.

Cruisers: Sometimes just riding around the neighborhood on a cruiser bike is all you need to burn some calories. But please be careful; you will soon be tempted to add a basket. And then you may add some flashing lights. And then a bluetooth speaker. And then you’re hanging a pair of fuzzy dice from the handlebars. Before you know it, you’ve started a Slow Roll in your neighborhood. Imagine that!

Single Speed bikes: Some people like to keep it simple. For these people, the bike industry has introduced uncomplicated bikes with no shifting mechanism whatsoever. Just one single solitary gear. There are single-speed Fat Bikes, SS Mountain Bikes, SS Cruisers, and even SS Road bikes.

We’ll admit; there is something alluring to the simplicity of a bike with just one gear. These bikes are great for riding in an area where the terrain is gentle. They are ideal for any of the rail trails that zig zag across Oakland County or just riding around town.

Note: Albert Einstein rode a single speed.

CycloCross: This is the competitive zone that lies between road racing and mountain bike racing. CX competitors race on road-like bikes with knobby tires on a course that is roughly 1.5 miles long and contains terrain and surface changes and various obstacles such as mud and off-camber turns. This sport, imported from Europe in the 1980s, was originally designed as a way for road racers to stay in shape during the winter months, but it has exploded in popularity in the last ten years to become a sport of its own. It has a unique, fun, and friendly welcoming culture all its own with cowbells, costumes, and beer. Races last less than an hour, but the stories and friendships go on forever.

WHAT WE TEACH: We start with the assumption that you know how to ride a bike. (Though we do offer training for youngsters.) From there, we’ll make sure that your bike fits you properly which is important for efficiency and injury prevention. Then we’ll teach you some simple techniques to help you pedal more efficiently. We’ll also teach you techniques for ‘on-bike awareness’ to help you ride safely. We’ll show you an easy way to track miles, calories, speeds, and routes. We’ll also challenge you to improve with each new ride. With the help of American Cycle and Fitness stores, we’ll teach you how to shop for bike gear and accessories.

In general, we’ll help you see the bike as a piece of exercise equipment that can help you explore new worlds. COURSES Beginner I For the very young athletes who are ready to ditch the training wheels, we can give them the confidence to become a full-fledged two-wheeler. 

This course includes: 

  • Bike inspection
  • Bike fitting
  • Helmet sizing
  • Basic skills

Adult I

Making the transition from casual bike rider to fitness cyclist requires a few extra skills, a solid performing bicycle, and some cycling-specific clothing recommendations.

This course includes:

  • Bike inspection
  • Bike positioning and fitting
  • Helmet sizing
  • New skills
  • Clothing fitting
  • Mileage tracking.

Adult II

Riding further distances requires a new level of understanding of how the bike works, how to conduct rudimentary repairs, and a new level of skills.

This course includes:

  • Drafting
  • Tire repair
  • Steering/braking/shifting lessons
  • On-bike nutrition and hydration

Adult III

Now that you’re an advanced cyclist, it’s time to form a team and learn to ride with a group.

This course includes:

  • Paceline skills
  • Group ride efficiency
  • Group ride ettiquette
  • Route planning
  • Road awareness