Getting Into Cycling: A Guide For Beginners

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Cycling is not just a mode of transportation, but also an excellent form of exercise and a source of entertainment. Cycling is known for its numerous benefits, including improving physical fitness, and mental health, and reducing your carbon footprint. It can also be used as a meditative experience that helps in reducing stress and anxiety.

However, starting out with your first bike isn’t as easy as you may think. We all spent time as kids on our bikes, but that was a long time ago. If you want to start cycling again as an adult, you may find this guide useful.

Understand The Different Types Of Cycling

Before you jump into cycling, it’s essential to understand the different types – road cycling, mountain biking, commuter cycling, and more. Your choice will affect the kind of bicycle you need and the places you can cycle.

Beyond racing, road cycling is embraced as a leisure activity and an efficient mode of transportation. It offers a plethora of benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, strength building, and mental wellness. Mountain biking is a sport for people who love a challenging ride outdoors. It combines physical endurance with technical skills, as riders navigate trails that may include rocks, roots, and steep inclines. Lastly, commuter cycling involves using a bicycle as a primary mode of transport for regular journeys between one’s residence and workplace. It is an eco-friendly alternative to driving, as it reduces traffic congestion, air pollution, and reliance on fossil fuels. Only once you have decided on what type of cyclist you will be can you have a better understanding of what bike to buy.

Choosing A Bike

Your choice of bicycle should align with your goals. For instance, road bikes are great for speeding on tarmac, while mountain bikes are suitable for trails. Hybrid bikes are versatile, making them suitable for both city and off-road rides. Selecting a new bike entails considering various factors to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable riding experience. It’s essential to identify the purpose of the bike – commuting, mountain biking, racing, or leisure. Frame material and size significantly affect performance and comfort. However, there are other factors to consider outside of your needs.

For instance, the price range for bicycles is vast. Setting a budget will help narrow your choices. Remember, it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive bike; start with what you can afford and upgrade as needed. Also, ensure that the bike you choose is the right size. Visit local bike shops to try out different models. A proper fit is crucial for comfort and injury prevention. Finally, take a test ride to assess how the bike feels, as personal comfort is paramount.

Getting Everything Else You Need

Your choice of bike won’t be the only thing you have to pay for when you start cycling. Ensure that you note that when setting your budget for a bike. For example, your safety when cycling is paramount. Always wear a helmet that meets safety standards. Other safety gear includes gloves, knee pads, and reflective clothing.

You can think about insuring yourself and your bike with Velosurance in case your bike is damaged or stolen. It can also help to choose comfortable clothing suitable for the weather. Padded shorts are helpful for long rides. Cycling-specific shoes can enhance your riding experience. 

Learn The Basics

It may be tempting to head straight out onto the road once you have your new bike and safety equipment. Although, there are a few basics you must learn before you get too over-excited including your technique. Learn how to balance, steer, pedal efficiently, and use gears. Practice in a safe, traffic-free area before venturing onto busier roads. Most of this information would come flooding back quickly if you spent a lot of time riding a bike as a child. However, there are some extra things you need to take into consideration when using a bike on the roads.

It is important to know the rules of the road so that you can fit seamlessly alongside the faster vehicles. Understand and abide by the traffic laws and cycling regulations in your area. Be predictable and signal your intentions to other road users. You will also find that you will feel safer if your bike is properly maintained. Regular maintenance will keep your bike in good condition. Learn the basics such as cleaning the chain, checking tire pressure, and adjusting brakes.

Anticipate Challenges

While cycling during a nice, cool day is ideal, you won’t always be this fortunate. Weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared for your next journey by checking the forecast beforehand so that you dress appropriately. Understand that sometimes indoor training might be the best option- especially in winter.

It doesn’t matter how often you head out on your bike, small mistakes or a near miss can affect your confidence on the roads. You may encounter new fears such as traffic or suffer setbacks like punctures. Try and learn how to handle these calmly and seek help if needed. Fears and setbacks are natural, so try not to let them put you off cycling. Sometimes the best way to overcome these issues is simply by getting back on your bike as soon as you are able.

Stay Motivated

Like a lot of things in life, cycling is something that a lot of people take up for a few weeks and then abandon as they lose motivation. You do not want all your hard work and money to go to waste. That is why it is important to set new goals, participate in events or races, and keep track of your progress as you start to feel that motivation slip.

Also, you won’t give up on cycling if you have no other option. That is why it is important to integrate your cycling into your daily routine where you can. Consider using your bike for commuting, running errands, or socializing. This not only benefits your health but also helps in reducing carbon emissions.

Prioritize Health And Fitness

Of all the benefits that come with cycling, the health benefits are by far the most important. These are the ones you will start to notice in real time as you get fitter, so try to focus on this element of cycling to get yourself motivated. You can also use it as a launch pad for an entirely new fitness regime. Cycling is an excellent workout, but engaging in other forms of exercise is also important to build a balanced fitness regime. Consider incorporating strength training, flexibility exercises, and aerobic activities into your routine.

Although you must know about the importance of nutrition and hydration when you start working out like this. Fuel your body with balanced meals and stay hydrated, especially during longer rides. Consult a nutritionist for personalized advice if needed. Also, pay attention to how your body responds to cycling and learn to take a rest when you feel you need one.

Conclusion

Embarking on your new cycling journey is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. Remember that, like any skill, becoming proficient at cycling takes time and practice. Be patient, stay motivated, and enjoy the countless benefits of cycling. Also, make sure you stay safe by learning the rules of the road.

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