Local bicycle shops promote fitness through cycling

Inside look of A Different Bent bike shop. (Photo courtesy of A Different Bent)

Injuries and disabilities can limit an individual’s capability to continue exercising and living an active life, but the bicycle shops in Clovis have a solution – start cycling.

Bicycling is a low-impact sport that burns lots of calories, strengthens your heart, tightens and tones your legs, hips and glutes, builds endurance and transports you where you want to go quickly and efficiently.

“Cycling is a very fun family sport. You can either do a quick, one-mile ride or you can do a double centery if you want,” said Maddy Boos, the sales manager of Steven’s Bicycle Shop. “It is for all levels and is a good cardiovascular exercise as well as a full-body workout and is also easy on your joints.”

Boos first started to ride after she developed issues with her knees and could no longer run as she had become accustomed to.

“I went from being a year-round athlete to getting a knee injury where I couldn’t run or do anything anymore and I was sitting at home all day,” Boos said. “I just decided I needed to do something to get active again and I found cycling.”

In four years she went from riding a single speed bike just cruising around town with her friends to training for her first century cycling competition, which is a 100-mile bike ride, on her 11-speed road bike.

Most people start cycling because they are out of shape and they want to start getting active, said Dan Carton owner of Clovis Bicycle Company and A Different Bent.

“A lot of times they start by walking, and although that is a low impact way to exercise [that] you don’t see a whole lot, cycling is a little bit lower impact and you can go further distances and there will be more variety of things to see,” Carton said.

The most important thing for new riders, Carton said, is to get the correct size bike.

“At a big box store the bikes are not adjusted right and it is uncomfortable to them, so they stop,” Carton said. “The best way is to go into a local bike shop and talk to them and tell them what you plan on doing and look at what you perceive yourself doing in the future.”

Looking toward the future is important for Carton because, he said, although most people do not buy their first bike with the intention of competing, once they begin to love the sport pushing yourself is inevitable.

“Once people get into cycling and they start enjoying it they can set some challenges like doing a century ride, that will help keep them cycling,” Carton said. “Just like runners, they start by running for fun and as they start enjoying they sign up for marathons that give them a goal.”

Another reason cycling can be intriguing to people is if they want to be more environmentally conscious, continued Carton. When people ride to commute instead of driving they start seeing the dollars and cents it saves them and it starts making sense.

Although cycling is easy to pick up, there are still those who are not capable of cycling due to a limit to their abilities. Worry not, says Carton. At A Different Bent, they specialize in Recumbent bikes, which are bicycles where the rider is reclined.

“It is all about comfort,” Carton said. “I tell people, with a recumbent bike you take out all the painful parts of cycling.”

Carton found recumbent bicycles after he developed severe tendonitis in his elbows. As a life-long bike rider, he did not want to let go of his favorite pastime. Instead he began doing research and found a bike that matched his abilities.

“What I love is that I get older ladies who get on them and I just hear them giggle because they think it’s so easy and they didn’t [think] that it could be so easy for them,” Carton said. “They go out and start riding and they come back and they have this big smile on their face.”

Both Boos and Carton said they have customers ranging from school aged children to adults in their 80’s who ride for all different reasons but have one thing in common; they all enjoy cycling.

“Biking is going to make you happier just because getting out and working out is good for you,” Boos said. “It will just keep you moving and healthy.”