Swim, bike, run: these three words are the lynchpins that hold together a triathlon. It’s the ‘bike’ portion that is most gear-dependent, though. Here’s a quick look at what to use, wear, and bring for your first triathlon.
One of the biggest questions that a beginner could face is whether to buy a road bike or a tri bike. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but for someone who is just starting most experts recommend a road bike. A road bike is more stable and user-friendly, for one, and it provides excellent handling and comfort. You’ll also get more everyday mileage out of a road bike as it can be used for everything from going to the local grocery to joining the Le Mans-inspired Bike 24 and M&S’s Arc to Arch charity challenge.
That’s not to say that you should write off a tri bike entirely. Once you’ve got a few triathlons under your belt, it might be time to have another look at the road bike’s sleeker and speedier relative. Tri bikes are designed specifically to put riders in the most aerodynamic position, which lets you reach comparatively higher speeds than you would on a road bike using the same amount of pedal power.
As for your clothes, there’s a whole slew of triathlon gear in all colors and sizes out on the market. There are one-piece tri suits, tri tops, tri shorts, and bike shorts, just to name a few. Just because something looks good on a model doesn’t automatically mean that it’ll be a comfy fit for you, though. Comfort is one of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing what to wear for a triathlon. One good way to find out whether or not a piece of gear is comfortable for you is to use it during training. Oh, and note that going “commando” under your triathlon gear is the norm. Don’t be afraid to ask more seasoned triathletes for gear recommendations as well.