Cycling can be a daunting sport for beginners but at the same time very rewarding; it is one of the best escapes from the monotony of everyday life. Whether interested in taking up road cycling, mountain biking, or anything any other type of riding, an insight on the do’s and don’ts will help eradicate fear and make the ride more enjoyable for you. So, if you plan to begin cycling, then gear up and the following tips will definitely help you on how to start Cycling.
If you plan on hitting the road, a good article to also read is 6 Skills to Survive Urban Cycling.
How to Start Cycling
Cycling is such a rewarding and joyous experience; the following tips will assist you on how to start cycling and also why you should make it a part of your life.
To begin cycling, you first need to pick up the right bicycle for yourself. The right cycle for you as a beginner need not be of any particular model or brand. It can be anything, as long as you are comfortable with it. If you buy a second-hand bike, you should consider having it serviced at a bike shop to make sure it is road worthy before taking it out. In case you wish to buy a new bicycle altogether; there are a variety of models to choose from.
A bicycle shop will advise you on which bike suits you best, based on the cycling you want to do, and your budget. However, it is a good idea to do some research online about the kinds of cycles that are available in the market. The first thing to do is to find bike shops within a 5km radius of your home. A Local Bike Shop or LBS that gives you good service is one of the most important things to sustaining your cycling activity. There are several bikes available for people with disabilities as well. Good bicycles are light in weight with strong frames, and various other features to make cycling fast and easy. As a beginner look for a bicycle that is easy to maintain.
Inspect Your Bike
Once you know how to start Cycling, the maintenance schedule for a bicycle can vary based on how often it’s ridden. By looking after it, you can prolong its life further. The best part is that you don’t have to be an expert mechanic to do this job.
The chain can wear out easily if not lubricated every week or so, hence, it is always recommended to give it a wipe, reapplying a suitable lubricant. Brakes also play a vital role throughout the ride. Ensure that they are working properly before you start every ride.
It is crucial to cover the head with a helmet for obvious safety reasons. A proper helmet that is worn by a cyclist will always protect their head and help them be safe. The most important thing is the fit and that the helmet is properly secured. Ride safely, follow all traffic rules and always give hand signals to indicate your intentions. Practice looking over your shoulder to check for traffic coming from behind you. If you ride with buddies or a group, make use of standard terminology to ensure safety of the group.
Always keep an eye on the road. Any tiny potholes, stones, broken glass, nails or any kind of metal scrap etc., that can cause flat tyres, can be avoided in time when the cyclist is looking out for them. It is a good practice to run a quick eye on your tyres after a ride to make sure no foreign particles are embedded in the tyres. When you begin cycling, it is always wise to ride slowly at the start and use brakes very carefully. For instance, when going down the hill, be aware of your centre of gravity and use both brakes at all times. It is necessary to learn the correct techniques beforehand so as to be careful of any mishaps through the journey.
Watch the following video for some more tips on safe cycling.
Make it Your Exercise Regime
Most of the people learn how to start cycling to stay fit. Fitness is a great objective to give you extra motivation. It gives quick accelerations in improving the immunity and increasing the calorie burn. A very useful way to build cardiovascular fitness is to climb hills on the bicycle. Bicycling not only injects strength and enhances speed to the body but also strengthens the bones. For a number of people, cycling is a very effective form of exercise in case they have any health apprehensions or a medical problem. Therefore, riding a cycle with a steady rhythm can give great results to an individual with less sustainability and metabolism.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you get a hang of riding on the roads, you can ride as much as you want, and can gradually increase the distance to enjoy cycling. You can commit to a minimum of two – three-weekday rides of 30 – 45 minutes. After some practice, you can begin pacing up on the hills and uneven terrains.
Cyclists on the road are expected to follow the same rules as any other vehicle. It is necessary for them to have sufficient knowledge and the right equipment to avoid being unprepared. It is always safe to follow traffic rules and preferably stay off footpaths. Instead of using headphones while riding, you should listen to the surroundings carefully. Following the rules will not only make sure that you never get penalized for breaking traffic rules but also give you the confidence to explore riding by yourself.
Whether a novice or an experienced rider, become a creature of habit! Consider joining a club where you get to meet like-minded people. You could also join online forums or clubs to interact with a larger group and enjoy a little healthy encouragement and competition. Cycling for charity is also a good way to stay motivated. Local clubs are great sources of information on such events throughout the year. For some, the desire to cycle exists because we love the sport. For others, it is for health reasons (to lose weight, increase immunity, etc.). Whatever your reason may be, formulating some goals or following a plan will help you stay on track.
Once you learn how to start cycling and make cycling a habit, you will see tremendous improvements in yourself. As said by Greg LeMond, “It never gets easier, you just get faster”.
For more tips on following your passion, visit LivingIt.