Road-Biking Guide for Newbies

Not the most experienced cyclist on the road? No worries! Road cycling trails on the Adirondack Coast vary in length and elevation, making them perfect for all ages and levels. Here’s what you need to know if you’re rolling out for the first time:

Preparing for a Cycling Trip

Cycling can be physically demanding. And even when it’s a leisurely bike ride, its important to be prepared before heading out on the road.


This one’s a no-brainer – at least, it should be.  GET A HELMET!  New York State law mandates riders 14 years old and younfer must wear helmets, so set a good example for the kiddos and keep that noggin covered - especially if you’re riding on the shoulder of a  busy road.


Make sure there’s enough air in your tires – especially if you plan on going the distance. Road bikes should usually be between 80 and 130 psi (you should be able to find the specific range on the side of your tire). The longer your tires go with low pressure, the more likely they are to pop. If you’re heading out for the whole day, it’s a good idea to pack a hand pump, just in case.


Depending on where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone, you’re going to want to bring a few things.

  • Hand pump
  • U-lock
  • Bike lights and/or reflective wear

Don’t want extra baggage weighing you down? Consider this: you’re a tad tipsy cycling back from a winery after dark and you bust a tire on some gravel because you didn’t check your tire pressure before you left (see Tip #2). Get a fanny pack. And maybe slow your roll through those wineries.


Bring plenty of water, especially if it’s hot out or you’re going long distances. Getting heat exhaustion on a rural road is not the best idea when you’re trying to have a fun cycling trip.


And by “stuff” we mean traffic laws.

We’re all sharing the road here. Just how you'd prefer cars not to hit you, they'd prefer you not to be on the wrong side of the road. The same goes for joggers and pedestrians, too. Don’t cycle on sidewalks and if you pass someone on a trail, make your presence known by asserting “On your left!” or by ringing a bike bell.

Remember: don’t take yourself too seriously on the road. This isn’t a triathlon. The only person you have to keep up with is yourself. Well... and your kids, spouse, or whoever came with you to the Adirondack Coast. What matters is that you get to experience this beautiful area from a new perspective. So, what are you waiting for? Ready, set… explore!

BYOB (Bring your own bike, duh)

Sure, that’s obvious, but the real question is whetherto rent or buy. If you’re here for the season and you plan on exploring more than a few Adirondack Coast road-biking trails, you should consider investing in your own model. Just here for the weekend? A day rental is probably more up your alley. Check out the Plattsburgh City Marina for a rental option near downtown Plattsburgh.  Also remember to have a lock for your bike if you plan to go into a restaurant, store or museum on your route.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

If your bike is too big or too small it can affect how sore you’ll be tomorrow. Often bikes need to be professionally fitted in order to meet your body’s dimensions. Parts like the handlebars, stems, saddles, and seat posts sometimes need to be replaced in order to make your ride more comfortable. Meet up with a staffer at a nearby bike shop if you suspect parts of your model need to be adjusted.

Dress Appropriately

Don’t peddle in stilettos! Get yourself a sturdy pair of shoes that complement the grips on your peddles. Also, be aware of changing temperatures if you're riding from morning to afternoon where it will be hotter; or afternoon to evening where it'll begin getting cooler.

What’s Your Speed?

Pick a trail that matches your abilities. Start slow and steady with a shorter, more leisurely ride and then work your way up to the big leagues. This is where your gears come into play. The bigger numbers make it harder to peddle; the lower numbers make it easier. It all depends on what kind of incline you’re on. Whatever speed you decide on, remember: you’re here to have fun!

Stay Alert!

Cruising up and down scenic road trails visualizing your soon-to-be athletic physique while listening to a vegan “mindfulness” podcast will definitely make you feel like a healthy-living star... in the moment. And a moment is all it takes for you to lodge your front wheel into a pothole and go flying over the handlebars.

Be cruelty-free to yourself and unplug. Enjoy the workout and your time outdoors! You should also be certain to brush up on the traffic laws before heading out.

Follow these tips and you’ll pick up the ways of the road in no time. The sooner you get outdoors, the sooner you’ll be on your way to cycling super stardom!

Bike shops & rentals

Adirondack ElliptiGO

By combining the best of running, cycling and the elliptical trainer, ElliptiGO bikes provide a strong cardiovascular workout that eliminates impact on joints and allows people to get out of the gym and enjoy the outdoors. Elliptical cycling is an effective way to build fitness without aggravating injuries. That’s why more than 30,000 customers around the world –from the health-conscious to the elite athlete – enjoy riding their ElliptiGO bikes.

Visit Adirondack ElliptiGO to learn more, purchase and enjoy a bike. Find them on Facebook today!

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Maui North Ski, Bike & Board Co.

A local source for all things ski, bike and board. Their diverse staff is passionate, friendly and full of personality! They love sharing their knowledge and experience to help others have fun.

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Play It Again Sports

Play It Again Sports is a family owned store that specialized in buying and selling quality used and new sports gear. They carry equipment for hockey, baseball, golf, fitness, soccer, racquet sports, inline skates, skateboards, boxing, skis (downhill and cross-country), snowboards and much more!  

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Viking Ski 'N Cycle

The friendly, experienced staff at the family orientated Viking Ski N' Cycle have been providing customers with the knowledge they need when choosing the right model of bike (plus skis and snowboards!) for over 50 years.

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PO Box 310 |  7061 Route 9 | Plattsburgh, NY 12901 USA