How to find the right bike and equipment for youSubmitted: 07/24/2016

Play Video
RHINELANDER - The 103rd Tour de France concluded Sunday in Paris. The race takes 23 days to complete, consisting of 21 stages and two break days. The bikers cover 2,200 miles.

Andre Greipel won Sunday's individual stage but the overall victory went to Britian's Chris Froome. Froome has won three of the last four tours and is a member of Team Sky. His finishing time was 4 minutes ahead of the rest of the pack. He finished in 89 hours, 6 minutes and 48 seconds.

Now to put that kind of race into Northwoods terms, that's like riding from Rhinelander to Los Angeles.

If you want to get involved in biking but  you aren't too sure where to start, here are some tips from Mitch Mode at Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander.

The bikes in the Tour de France are a little different than what you'll need for riding in Wisconsin.

"Most of those riders are using a bike similar to this: Drop bars, race style," Mode said, pointing out a bike in his store. "This, plus about $12,000 will buy you a tour bike. But the reality is that most of the riders around here are going for a little more comfortable, maybe a little more versatile. Something that we might look at over here. One with a slightly wider tire, which is great for the roads around here."

The roads aren't perfect here, so you'll want something that can handle the rougher conditions.

"A bike like this, more of a hybrid-type bike, is what most people around here are really comfortable with," Mode said. "It's well suited to these roads and well suited to the conditions we have up here. It's a great ride."

Since everyone's body is a little different, you'll need to find the right frame.

"Better bike design will offer four or five or six different frame sizes. We're talking frame size, basically the metal part here to accommodate different-size riders," Mode said. "We also have a large selection of women-specific bikes these days. It's not just a cosmetic change; it's a frame that's a little more compact, better suited to a smaller-frame rider."

Whether you're planning to ride down the block or all the way to Minocqua, you'll want to have a comfortable seat.

"A seat that feels really soft and comfortable over time...because you start to bottom out on that. And instead of being on a nice soft seat, you're slamming against the frame of the seat--much less comfortable," Mode said.

After you choose the right bike for you, you'll need the right clothes, including jerseys and bike shorts.

"It is more comfortable, more padded in the seat, so it's far more comfortable to sit on for long times," Mode said while discussing different types of bike shorts. "They're tight like this so they don't chafe your legs. A bike jersey is unique. It transfers moisture off your skin well. Key thing is, it has a few pockets on the back. Power gels, goo, tool kit fits in there and gives you a nice ride experience. Gloves are padded in the palm. A lot of people have sore hands when they ride because of the pressure. The extra padding here gives you some cushioning, makes a harsh ride much more forgiving."

And don't forget about the little accessories...

"One of the things people need to have in the hot weather is a water bottle. Most bikes come with a fitting and a little cage that you can put on that holds the bottle. But if you're riding in the heat--and this time of year you're riding in the heat--carry water with you. It's really important."

Make sure you grab a helmet too. Safety is key.

"Bike lights will give you visibility in low-light conditions. They have some bike lights now that are designed for use in daylight. Very bright, very aggressive," Mode said. Safety is always a concern. And finally, a bike computer that will give you pretty accurate descriptions of time and distance and average speeds."

Now you're ready to strap on your shoes and go for a ride.

Story By: Katie Leszcynski

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story

Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

PELICAN LAKE - For the second year in a row, drag boat racers gathered in Pelican Lake on Saturday at Gerrit's Lakeview Inn, right on the water to test their skills.

The course was only 1,000 feet and boats reached neared 100 mph. The race drew people from all over, including Dane Esser from down in Cassville, Wisconsin. He likes coming up to Pelican Lake for this event for a lot of reasons.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - When you watch Merrill football, you can spot one player towering over the others.

That player is Jonathan Gruetzmacher, and he recently made a verbal commitment to play football at South Dakota State after this season.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Fifteen-year-old Grace Petzold is the founder of the non-profit Graceful Wakes. She gives those with disabilities the opportunity to get out on the water. She came up with this idea after her mom, who uses a wheelchair, was given that same experience.

+ Read More

Play Video

FLORENCE - Anglers went looking for bass Saturday morning on the Twin Falls Flowage. John Landenberger won last year but with fishing conditions being unpredictable, his strategy doesn't always work.

"We have our morning spots and we have our afternoon spots and we try to hit those," Landenberger said. "You have to beat other people to them because there aren't really any secret spots on this body of water."

+ Read More

Play Video

MOLE LAKE - More than 130 Jeep drivers went off-roading in Mole Lake this weekend for a Jeep Jamboree event.

Each and every Jeep lined up and headed out on the trails Saturday morning. They were ready for a day full of obstacles. But first, they had to be properly trained.

"We teach them how to climb over logs, rocks, and get them through and how to off-road," said event coordinator John Lewins.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - In Three Lakes, pickleball is a 7-day a week sport. It's a way to stay in shape and have fun with friends while playing the game that's like tennis and ping pong combined.

This morning, they held a tournament that had 8 courts indoor and outdoor, and a total of 82 teams.

"First of all, pickleball is great exercise. Secondly, it's very social. Third, all ages can play together and men and women can play together and have a wonderful time," said tournament organizer Chuck Radtke.

Most people think the name of the game is a little funny and always wonder where that unique name came from.

"Pickleball gets its name, many say, from the inventor of the game in 1965 on an island off the state of Washington. The inventor had a dog by the name of pickles, so consequently, pickleball," said Radtke.

The club plays every day, free of charge and they are always open to having new players join them. They play on the tennis courts at Don Burnside Park.

+ Read More

Play Video

GLEASON - The end of a giant mud pit was the destination for drivers Saturday afternoon at the mud bog that's been going on for over 25 years. Even though hopes were set high to make it all the way, they mostly got stuck after about 30 feet. It's not very far, but drivers enjoy it because of the feeling they get behind the wheel.

"Adrenaline rush of seeing the mud going. And seeing who can get through the pit the fastest without going out of bounds or getting stuck," said driver Joe Mills.

Cars of all shapes and sizes can participate. Since it's not a far distance, one might think not a lot of work is required with the cars, but, think again. Drivers had to make sure their cars were cleaned out and ready to go for the race.

"I went through pretty much the whole top end, checked everything, checked all my fuel, filters, everything. A bunch of tuning and testing," said driver Jacob Gribble.

Teams travel from all around Wisconsin for the event. It mainly serves as a hobby for those who loves cars and adrenaline, but there are some cash prizes involved as well.

+ Read More

Play Video

ANTIGO - For the Antigo Swim Club, their annual Splash and Dash serves as a fundraiser and a way to get people out and active. This year, it held a much deeper meaning as the Club remembered its former director, Michelle Koss.

Koss was a diabetes educator in the Antigo area that had a passion for exercise and getting others to have the same mindset. 

This past spring, she passed away after a tragic biking accident. She loved being a part of the swim club because it was an outlet for her to make an impression on young members of the community.

"Michelle not only was a wonderful person in our community, she was advent in our swim club," said new meet coordinator Michelle Arlen.

Someone who truly lives out Michelle's goal is her son Colin and husband Tom. They were able to participate in the Splash and Dash and she was with them the whole way in spirit.

"Last hundred meters, I wanted to cry. I was thinking about her a lot," said Colin Koss.

"When I was out there running, I almost cried a couple times too," said Tom Koss.

Colin was happy to see the event be carried on in her memory and see so many people came out to support the swim club.

"It's been growing the past couple years which is great to see. A lot more people are having fun and enjoying the day with it," said Colin Koss.

Some of the athletes take it competitively and others do it for the atmosphere, good cause, and a fun way to exercise.

"Most people set their own internal goals and they cheer each other on. It's the idea of just getting them out in the water, getting them exposed to swimming. And running, especially in the Northwoods right here, it's just a beautiful spot," said Arlen.

One of the ways that they have kept Michelle's memory alive in the race is to not set too many boundaries for people who want to participate. If you're not strong with running AND swimming, you can still make it work by splitting the race with a partner.

"Make it a family thing �" tandem- if you can swim, if you can run. It was just a wonderful day. If you can see the atmosphere around here, everyone's happy, laughing, it's just great," said Arlen.

+ Read More

ARBOR VITAE - Even though it's not football season yet, the Wisconsin Badgers program is traveling all over the state to get fans pumped up. Head coach Paul Chryst met with Mendota Gridiron Club members here in the Northwoods on Thursday. 

He has vacationed here all his life, and the Northwoods means a lot to him.

"I've been able to come up north since I was a kid. So to me, it's always meant family," said Chryst.

+ Read More

MANITOWISH WATERS - People are in town for the holiday weekend and they decided to kick start it by burning some calories.

Visitors from Colorado, California, Iowa, and other states participated in the 20th Just Tri It! in Manitowish Waters. You don't have to be an Ironman pro to do this one.

+ Read More
+ More Local Sports