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your effort. If it runs out of juice, you should be able to continue training or racing by paying attention to your internal measures and guidelines.

Do I need a triathlon or road bike?

No. At least that's the short answer. Most anyone can complete a sprint and even an olympic distance triathlon on just about any bicycle. Hybrids, mountain bikes, folding bikes, road bikes and tri bikes can all be seen on most shorter event courses. Mountain and hybrid bike riders will work harder than their skinny-tire counterparts. But it beats dropping a bundle on a sport you don't know whether you'll even like.

What's the difference between a tri bike and a road bike?

The main difference is in the seat tube angle. Most tri bikes have a steeper or more forward sloping seat tube. This allows riders to get into an aerodynamic position. It also utilizes different parts of the leg during the cycling portion of triathlon, setting up the body for a comfortable and energetic run. But there are some other differences.

Road bikes most often have more traditional, curved under, drop-style handlebars. Nowadays, shifters and brake levers are integrated and rest near the top of the curve of the handlebar. Some road bikes have three chain rings in the front while tri bikes generally have only two. Tri bikes also are outfitted with aerodynamic handlebars, or aerobars, on which shfters are placed at the tip out front. This allows riders to remain in an aerodynamic position while maintaining the ability to shift. But with that said, there are some options for transforming a road bike into a tri bike.

Can I put aerobars on my road bike?

Yes. We've even installed them on hybrid bikes. Ideally, you'll want to put on a shorter, "jammer" aerobar to allow for proper forward position on a bike with a shallower seat tube angle. Nevertheless, one of the most popular "clip-on" (i.e. removable) aerobars is the Profile Design Airstryke. Its flip-up arm pads allow for access to the top of the handlebar. It also can be adjusted forward and backward to customize positioning.

Do I need cycling shoes and clipless pedals?

No. Will they help? Yes. This is another common question for new triathletes.

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