Riding In A New Area

By Claire

Claire Standing beside her gravel bike Hero image

Over the last couple years, we know a lot of you may have found a new place to call home. With that, you may find yourself wondering where to ride. Our very own customer service rep Claire recently moved to Seattle, Washington and put together some tips on riding in a new location.

Tips for Riding in a new area:

Finding new bike routes and new people to ride with is exciting, and a little nerve-racking for a directionally challenged gal like me! With this being my third move this year, I know it’s a lot, I’ve compiled a list of some tips I’ve learned so far from trial and a lot of error:

  1. Check out your local bike shops! You never know what great connections you’ll make and resources you’ll find. Speaking as a cyclist who loves my bikes like they’re my babies, a trusted bike tech is not something to be taken for granted! Whether you know nothing about working on bikes or do all your own work and just need an extra set of eyes to evaluate, having a go-to bike tech is a valuable resource. Plus, you get to check out all the latest and greatest components that are definite wants and maybe needs.

    • Oklahoma, this was how we were introduced to one of the local riding groups, the Southwest Oklahoma Bicyclists. They affectionately refer to themselves as the SOB’s and were our connection to all the rides and events in the area!

    • And shoutout to the team here at Performance Bicycle - you can give us a call from 6 am-6 pm PST for help. Myself or one of our other bike technicians will be happy to help whether it’s talking component upgrade options, or pointing you in the right direction for assistance at your local bike shop.
  2. Two Cyclists stading next to their bikes
    Group o f cyclists

    Alex and I were invited to join the SOB’s Saturday morning group rides while we were in Oklahoma (right). They kept us in the loop for all the local rides, like the 80 mile Duncan Dehydrator (left).

  3. Always pack tools, spares, snacks, and a $1 bill. With new roads and unfamiliar territory comes a higher potential for “oh sh*t” moments. Exhibit A: my tire blew on my first group ride.

    • After I blew my tire and realized my spare tube wouldn’t do me any good without something to patch the one-inch gash in my tire, I started the sad walk back to the car in the rain - life is a movie sometimes! A group of cyclists stopped and offered me a $1 bill as a temporary patch between a new tube and my tire. Who knew!

    • I’m still a bit skeptical, so I got some Park Tool Tire Boots to carry just in case. And the snacks are self-explanatory. Either way, carrying a few small things can make or break a ride when the unexpected happens.
  4. Punctured tire
    Riding gear and snacks

    My first group ride and my tire was slashed 20 miles in - I was prepared for everything but this! (left). Here is a snapshot of what I bring on rides, plus a $1 bill from now on (right).

  5. Use Strava, Garmin Connect, Google Maps, etc! These are your friends and one of my personally ranked greatest life improvements in the past 5-10 years.

    • I am not directionally blessed and there could be a condition named after my inability to remember street names, so that’s a tough combination for finding bike routes in a new place. My Garmin 530 saves me in these rough moments when I realize I’m 30 miles out, not quite sure how to get back and the sun is setting. Strava helps me track all these adventures and is a way to share with friends. Plus, I can use the app to see where other people ride in the area and make new routes, to inevitably get lost. And why not go for a KOM while you’re at it?
  6. Strava Route Map

    I used Strava to find this popular trail and did an out and back ride to check it out. Lots of pinecones and wet leaves this time of year!

  7. Find a group, club, or local ride to join. How else will you find people if you don’t do some research and try a group out? Being the new kid is hard and frankly, it never gets easier for me, but I continue to force myself to do it because I know the awkwardness is worth it! Some things are better shared with others, and long bike rides and tough training sessions are on my list for this.

    • Speaking of tough workouts, it's the season for indoor trainer sessions. Zwift is a way to make this more fun, or at the very least endurable, and feel like you’re riding with others!

  8. Evaluate your gear and use this as the chance to invest in new or revamp what you have. I’ll say it again, NEW GEAR! I have never heard a cyclist not get excited about new additions to their kit or bike...

    • Moving is the perfect time to evaluate what you have, what is worn out, what you need for your new climate, and just check out all the cool products! Based on this, invest in what you need. I say invest because getting the right gear is truly one of the most valuable investments to make.

    • As my dad always says, “There is no bad weather, only the wrong gear.” He is SO right. Now that I live in Washington I’m investing in lots of warm, waterproof gear. The Pearl Izumi AmFIB Shoe Covers work miracles on cold, rainy rides along with a good set of fenders to save you from the spray. I just got the SKS P50 Chromoplastic Longboard Fender Set for my hybrid commuter with all the rain here.

    • Having the right gear is a step in the right direction to set myself up for success and the joys of a good ride!
  9. Clarie with my newly installed fenders!
    Me with my newly installed fenders!

    As I relive my most recent escapades to write these tips, I realize it’s quite simple. Do what you love. There’s no stress - or there is lots of stress, but there’s no reason to bring this to your time on the bike. Who cares if you miss one workout here or there? Why do we geek out over our bikes and group rides? Because we love to ride and that’s all that matters.

    Whether you’re a new cyclist or have 50 years on two wheels, cycling is an infinite gift of joy we get to share. Riding in a new place, be it on vacation or because of a move, is the gift of more biking to enjoy. Happy Holidays and Happy Riding!

    Wet weather bike trail
    View of the forest on the Chehalis-Western Trail