AIDS Lifecycle - Ride to end AIDS


Choosing the Right Bike

There are as many different styles of bikes as there are riders. AIDS/LifeCycle participants ride road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, recumbents and even tandems!  Since you will be spending many, many hours in the saddle, it’s very important that you choose a bike that you will be comfortable on. Two of the most important things you need to do are having your bike checked by a qualified bike mechanic and getting it properly fit for you by a bike fit professional (hint: check out our Community Supports Partners in the Participant Discounts section of our website. Many of them do professional bike fits!).

When you take your bike to a mechanic, they should inspect the frame and all the parts to ensure they are in good working order. Be sure to tell them you are doing ALC and that you’ll be putting in hundreds of miles, both in training and on the Ride in June.

If you’re shopping for a new bike, we recommend trying as many different brands and models as possible so that you get a really good feel for the differences in frame size and geometry, the different types of gearing systems, and the different frame materials.  Be sure to ask a lot of questions when you visit the bike shops and tell them specifically that you’ll be riding AIDS/LifeCycle on it. Buy your bike from a shop where you like the people who work there and where you feel comfortable asking questions. This will make a difference down the road when you return to the store for tune-ups to buy other accessories or if you simply have more questions about bikes! Remember, this is a ride, not a race, and comfort should be the main priority when considering what style bicycle is right for you. 

Road bikes tend to be favored by people who prefer the lighter weight, narrow tires, and aerodynamic body posture.  The "drop" style handlebars on road bikes offer a variety of hand positions so you can move your hands around and avoid staying being in one position for hours on end.  A good road bike can run $600 and up, depending on the make, model, and components (shifters, brakes, gears and wheels).

Many people find the upright body position on the hybrid bikes more comfortable than road bikes.  Hybrid riders tend to be in a more natural “sitting” position, which can be more comfortable for people with back problems.  Hybrid bikes tend to be heavier than road bikes, but many people find that the added weight and upright body position help them feel more stable while riding.  A good hybrid bike can run $400 and up.


For those who prefer the trail to the open road, a mountain bike might be the best choice. You can make some modifications to help make a mountain bike more road-friendly, such as putting on “slick” tires and “locking” the shocks (if you have adjustable shocks). With the lower gearing on mountain bikes, you might even find some of those hills more do-able! A good mountain bike can run $500 and up. 
 These bikes are an increasingly popular option and they come in a variety of styles.  Comfort is their major selling point because you are sitting on a real seat, with no pressure on your wrists, neck, shoulder or butt and your back is fully supported.  Recumbent bikes look different than upright bicycles, but they are just as stable and easy to get used to; after a few minutes of practice, most riders are ready to go.   A good recumbent can cost about the same as a road bike. 
As the word implies, this is a bicycle built for two.  Like a recumbent, this will take a little bit of time to master as you and your partner will have to work together to learn the intricacies of turning, stopping and even moving around on the bike together.  One good note though, you’ll never leave each other behind!  A good tandem can run $900 and up. 

AIDS/LifeCycle is a 100% pedal-powered ride. No motor assist bikes of any kind are permitted on the event for safety reasons. If you have any questions about alternative pedaling options for the differently abled, please contact an AIDS/LifeCycle Cyclist Representative.

One increasing popular style with bike commuters and cycling enthusiasts is the “Fixie,” or single speed bike.  This bike comes in a wide range of styles and only has ONE gear.  The “Fixie” does not have a “free wheel” and the rider cannot coast.  Speed is controlled by the pedaling speed of the rider.  Most fixed gear bikes to not have a brake installed and rely only on the rider’s control of pedal speed to stop. The single speed variety will also have only one gear, but will have a “free wheel,” meaning the rider has the capability to stop pedaling and coast. Single speed bikes will almost always have at least one brake installed.  When considering a “Fixie” or single speed bike, keep in mind that there is ONLY ONE gear and the rider will have to be able to climb hills in just that one gear.  This option is certainly not for those who struggle to climb hills.  NOTE: For safety reasons, regardless of style, ALL bikes ridden on AIDS/LifeCycle are REQUIRED to have at least one brake installed.  If you plan to ride your Fixie or single speed bike on the event, please have a brake installed before you show up to check your bike in on Orientation Day.