Debunking Common Cycling Myths

damaged bike helmet

Lighter is faster. Cycling is dangerous. Helmets last forever. Let's debunk some of the most prevalent cycling-related myths and give you the low-down on what's really true.

Myth: Lighter is faster.
Fact: If you're racing up the Alps or the Rockies, weight may be a factor. But if you're riding rolling hills or flats, weight is really only a factor when accelerating. If you're looking to get an advantage, upgrade your wheels to save on rotating weight. Otherwise, you're better off saving your money for comfort upgrades, like new cycling shorts or shoes.

Myth: Disc brakes are better.
Fact: You caught us—this is not a myth! Disc brakes offer superior stopping in all conditions, as well as providing nuanced braking modulation that's just not possible with rim brakes.

Myth: It's normal to be numb during and/or after a ride.
Fact: It's never OK to lose sensation in any part of your body while cycling. Get a bike fit, and talk with your professionally trained bike fitter about what's going on and how to resolve discomfort on the bike.

Myth: Narrower tires are faster.
Fact: Generally, wider tires are faster. This is because of aerodynamic benefits offered by wider tires in conjunction with wider wheel rims.

Myth: Cycling is dangerous.
Fact: Many sports have inherent risks, but you can take precautions—wearing a helmet and selecting a cycling route closed to motor traffic—and have a great, safe, fun experience while riding anytime you're on the road.

Myth: Bikes cost a lot of money.
Fact: Yes, some bikes can cost upwards of $20,000. But you can also find an affordable new bike for just a few hundred dollars.

Myth: Bike saddles are uncomfortable.
Fact: Saddles can be comfortable for hours upon hours of riding. You might have to try a few saddles before you find one that works for you. Also, getting a bike fit, a quality chamois and some anti-chafe lubricant will go a long way in ensuring comfort during long hours in the saddle.

Myth: WD-40 is a great lubricant.
Fact: It is but not the stuff in the blue-labeled spray can, which is a solvent. Use the bike-specific chain lube, and you'll be set.

Myth: Cycling can damage your reproductive function.
Fact: Nerve impingement can lead to temporary numbness and temporary loss of feeling in reproductive organs. Getting a professional bike fit is a great way to prevent undercarriage discomfort and ensure you're not at risk for any injury or lasting issues.

Myth: Carbon bikes lose their life after a few years.
Fact: If you take care of your bike—always keeping it clean and serviced—it will last for years. Take care to minimize exposure to the elements when not in use.

Myth: Helmets last forever.
Fact: Some helmet manufacturers recommend replacement after several—about four, depending on frequency of use—years of constant use. Ultraviolet light can break down helmet materials with prolonged exposure. Ask yourself: Is wearing a helmet that's a decade old worth the risk?

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