MARQUETTE - Stationary exercise bikes are in almost every gym in the country, but for those looking to get their exercise on a real bike, there are a few things they should know.
Phil Ott, owner of Quick Stop Bike Shop in Marquette, said bicycle novices might find it easiest to start out by biking to work.
"The best thing for that is something like a hybrid or a path bike. It has the narrow tires on there. It's efficient, easy to ride and it's just really fast on the roads," he said.
The Brugman brothers of Marquette, Dan Brugman, left, Robert Brugman, and Scott Brugman ride their bikes together down the bike trail following Lakeshore Boulevard in Marquette in a recent year. Biking is fun, saves on gas and helps in weight loss, experts say. (Journal file photo)
Ott said beginning bikers may also want to start out on a bike path, such as the city of Marquette's multi-use paths or the Iron Ore Heritage Trail. Or if they have an interest in mountain biking, they can get an entry-level mountain bike and explore the area's extensive wilderness mountain bike trails.
Andy Thomaszewski of Lakeshore Bike in Marquette explained the differences between a mountain bike and hybrid bike.
"Your mountain bike is going to be a 26-or 29-inch wheel and a lot wider tire so it's going to handle dirt really well. And then your hybrid is going to be more like a blend between a mountain bike and a road bike. That will be really friendly on bike paths and pavement but also give you the option of dirt while maintaining a skinnier, more efficient tire," he said.
He said he's seen many customers start out on entry-level bikes, get hooked and come back in looking for more high-performance bikes.
Ott said, depending on maintenance, a bike can last a lifetime. He said maintenance includes lubing the bicycle chain regularly, checking tire pressure, and annual tune-ups, including periodic replacement of wear items like brake pads, drive train and bearings and other moving parts.
"With the way gas prices are going, not only can people lose weight but save money by riding a bike. It's fun and you get to see more of what's around you than in a car," he said.
Thomaszewski said people should always test ride a bike before buying it to make sure they like how it rides and how it looks.
Bicycling is a low impact form of exercise. It exercises all the major muscles of the legs, including the quadriceps and hamstrings, but is less stressful on the knees than other aerobic forms of exercise - making it particularly effective for people rehabilitating a knee or anterior cruciate ligament injury or those with a chronic degenerative condition, such as osteoarthritis.
Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His e-mail address is email@example.com