We fake many things in life, and many times we get by with a hobby or sport watching others and then imitating what they are doing. We don’t have to understand why – we just do it. The last thing you want to look like on the road is a cycling rookie. Below are the tops tips to help you avoid the “rookie” look – all while being knowledgeable about your cycling situation.

Don’t Buy Pro Kits

The cardinal violation in trying to be a cool cyclist is when you buy a full professional team kit (jersey, shorts, socks, etc.) of a team you do not ride for. Nothing screams ROOKIE  louder than a full Discovery Channel uniform on a non-payroll cyclist. Steer clear of these overpriced kits.  The only time these types of jerseys are acceptable is when they are vintage. General rule of thumb is 10 years after a team’s disbanding. For instance, if you hit the road in a vintage Motorola or Coors Light jersey, you get big style points. Just make sure you know a few of the cyclists who rode for those teams so that when approached by other cyclists, you can sound knowledgeable.

Buy the Cool – But Reliable – Helmet

When it comes to helmets, don’t skimp. You are going to be wearing this piece of equipment all the time (hopefully), and you want to be motivated to put it on. If you have some cheapo brain bucket or a nicer one that is two sizes too small, you’ll never want to wear it.

Buy Clothes That Fit!

This should be common sense, but sometimes it just isn’t. If you are new to cycling, and you’re a bit uncomfortable about the whole Lycra thing, then you’d better suck it up. Don’t go out and buy clothing two sizes larger than what you wear on the street. Cycling is about aerodynamics. You need tight fitting clothes. If you wear a large t-shirt, get a medium jersey. Sometimes the fit is a bit different between brands, so try them on first

Avoid “Rookie Marks”

You wanna spot a rookie cycler? Look at their legs. Nothing gives away newbie status more than someone with “rookie marks” – greasy chain marks on your inner calf muscles. This often happens when someone doesn’t keep their chain clean and has an inefficient cycling posture, spin, or tries to clip out of the pedal towards the inside. To avoid rookie marks, keep your chain clean. Wipe it down often and use clear chain wax products like White Lightning which don’t turn your chain into a black grimy mess. Also make sure that you are cleaning the cogset and chain rings also to avoid getting cogset grime on your nice clean chain.

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