Adult novice should try hybrid bike for stability and ease of control

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

August 22, 2004|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I am 46 and never learned to ride a bike as a child. I tried in my early 20s and was able to ride a little bit, but somewhere along the way, I lost my nerve and put the bike away. Now I want to try it again.

Are there any particular ways I can get my body ready for this? Leg exercises? Balancing on one foot?

I donM-Ft own an exercise bike, but would that help? And is there a best kind of bike for an adult beginner?

We posed your question to Kris Auer, a manager at Mount Washington Bike Shop, who says, M-tJump in with both feet.M-v

While balance and strength exercises canM-Ft hurt, the best thing you can do is start riding. A stationary bike is fine for strengthening the legs, but it will do nothing for your main obstacle, which is balance.

To make balancing easier, Auer recommends a hybrid or city bike. The modern hybrid has an upright riding position, good stability and is easy to control.

The Trek Navigator, with its 26-inch wheels and wide tires (roughly 2 inches) would be a good choice for you, says Auer. Another feature to consider is saddle height, says Auer. Being able to touch the ground easily with your feet will do wonders for making you more confident on your new wheels.

IM-Fve been having chafing problems when running this summer. What can I do to protect my skin and prevent future problems?

We have two solutions for you: petroleum jelly and spandex. Distance runs and heavy sweating are a brutal combination that can do a number on your skin. Start wearing spandex shorts and apply petroleum jelly or baby powder on the spots where your clothes rub the skin.

To speed the healing process, apply hydrocortisone cream. Also, if you arenM-Ft training for a big race, take a few days off to let the skin recover.

Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410- 783-2519 or e-mail fitness@ baltsun.com.

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