Beginners Guide to Cycling
Tips to get Cycling Safley
You may think that a Beginner’s Guide to Cycling is a bit useless. Just get a bike and start peddling. To some extent you would be correct. However I this article I will attempt to add a little more depth to the subject of cycling for beginners. To be specific I am only going to cover road cycling as Mountain biking is a whole different ball game.
My two top tips for the beginners guide to cycling are fairly generic and fairly simple
- Start slow: Even if you are fit and healthy you mind find yourself using a different set of muscles group to which you body is used to. Give your body time to adjust. Short slow trips of 2 to 3 miles are a good way to start
- Be safe: Road cycling by its nature can be inherently unsafe. Remember is the mad drivers out there that are the biggest risk. Therefore be as careful as you can. Ride in the day, follow your local highway rule, have reflectors and bright clothing. It’s always a good idea to plan a safe route if you can. If you must cycle in the dark make sure you have bright and flashing lights or lamps
Beginners Guide to Cycling: The Bike
If you are new to cycling or haven’t ridden for a long time then just get old of any old bike as long as it’s the right size. You could even try to borrow a bike but should certainly be able pick one up from a garage sale or similar. Don’t spend a fortune until you are.
Once you have your bike make sure it’s the set up right for you. This will ensure you get a comfortable ride and minimise the risk of picking up injuries, aches and strains. It’s important to ensure you set the saddle level to support you weight. The height of the seat is important. Make sure your leg is fully extended when the peddle is at its lowest point.
This may seem obvious but make sure your tires are fully inflated before you set out. It’s probably best to inflate them the night before you plan to go out to ensure you have not punctures. If you do have punctures it used to be the case that you would fix them, however you can no pick up inner tubes so cheaply its probably better (and just as quick) to buy new. This also gives you a little more piece of mind.
It might also be good idea to buy a spare tube and tool kit to take with you on longer journeys.
Beginners Guide to Cycling: Biking Equipment
A helmet is an absolute must for every cyclist of every age. This is non debatable. Nowadays helmets are inexpensive and can be very light weight. Make sure the one you choose is a good fit and seek advice form you local store if you are not sure.
A water bottle (and holder) is a good idea. In any activity staying hydrated is important to maintain stamina and get the full benefits of the exercise. For longer trips think about getting a water backpack. You will be able to drink form this without having to stop.
As previously mentioned don’t forget a repair kit. These are usually pretty inexpensive and small. They usually include a patch kit but again I would always have a spare inner tube. The Kits can be carried in a back pack or bag that attaches to your bike frame.
Beginners Guide to Cycling: Biking Clothing
You don’t need a whole lot of specialist gear to get going. Just use what you have but be bright. Find a comfortable pair of short – I would say knee length are better and some comfortable sports footwear is enough.
On top if you can go for layers which can be removed as you warm up or the as the weather changes. Breathable clothing is better. As you progress and decide to take cycling up more permanently you can then go out and buy specialist cycling clothing. Again most of this gear is lightweight and breathable and most sports stores and large supermarkets will have a multitude of kit to suit most price ranges,
Beginners Guide to Cycling: Hills
Cycling on the flat is pretty easy however when it comes to slopes you need to consider a few key points
Nobody really likes cycling up hill. Make it easier on yourself by remembering to shift to a low gear. Try to build up speed going in to a hill to get some momentum. As the peddling gets more difficult gradually shift down the gears. Try to pace yourself up the slope.
Travelling down hill is a much easier but can also be more dangerous and even a little scary. To stay safe and comfortable keep your fingers loosely the brakes and use them intermittently to keep your speed down. Again try to make sure you are in the right gear and travelling at a speed you are comfortable at. Don’t forget to build up that speed for the next hill of flat.
Following this beginners guide to cycling can help you enjoy your first few rides, stay safe and get fit. Good luck