Six nifty tips for beginner cyclists
Just starting out on your two-wheeled adventure? From where to buy your bike to the power of padded shorts, these handy tips will pave the way to cycling confidence.
Even the most confident cyclists were beginners once. It’s not as simple as running - buying the right shoes, finding the right clothes, watch, water bottle and off you go. Cycling has more variables, more questions, more dangers. And all of it can be a bit intimidating if you’re not used to hitting the saddle. From buying your bike to conquering hills, these cycling tips should give you peddle-power in no time:
1. Buy from a local bike shop
Browse the minefield of bikes online and you’ll probably notice that they’re a lot cheaper than your local bike shop. But don’t let that sway you. You’re better off heading into a nearby specialist store: the staff will make sure the bike fits you and will be on-hand to help if you’ve got any problems or questions. That kind of generous expertise is priceless in the long-run.
2. Learn how to fix a puncture
If you don’t already know how to fix a puncture and the thought of being lost in the woods desperately staring at tubes, pumps and levers freaks you out, ask someone at the bike shop to teach you. Or a friend, sibling, or workmate. Or the internet.
3. Go clip-in as soon as you can
Clip-in pedals are, as the name suggests, those you clip into using cleats, rather than slip the toes into. They give you a solid connection to your bike, resulting in stronger pedalling power to help you get up those hills. Clip-ins should be invested in sooner rather than later so you can get used to them. You will need to learn how to brake without clipping out (which can be daunting), so start at slow speed or up against a wall.
4. Get protection
We’re not just talking about your helmet. A good pair of padded shorts will be your best friend and stop your backside from hurting. Even those thick, squidgy saddles won’t help as much on longer rides - the only way to be truly comfortable is with shorts.
5. Practice the basics
Simple techniques will go far as you gradually increase your cycling abilities. On corners, slow down to a decent speed before you hit the bend to avoid breaking during it. A great tip to avoid unbalance is to lift your inside knee and apply your weight to the outside. If you’re faced with a hill, start at a steady pace and shift through your gears until you hit a sustainable speed. Keep pedalling for momentum and lift yourself from the saddle at regular breaks to avoid the numb backside.
6. Learn basic traffic-riding skills
You have as much right to be on the road as anyone else - but it can still be daunting. By swotting up on the rules of the road you’ll feel much less intimidated riding. Claim your place and be confident, but be wary of parked cars that could suddenly surprise you with an open door. Make sure you have a solid set of working lights and always use them when needed.
Now that you are ready for your ride here is a special playlist to enjoy it - full speed.