How to Start Cycling
Cycling has numerous health benefits, including the fact that it can help reduce your risk of chronic conditions like some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, and obesity. Cycling gets you outdoors, and you can even use it as a way to get to work or run errands.
Start Cycling Today
It’s important to be safe when you start cycling and to prepare yourself for what to expect. The following are things to know if you’re just getting started
Buy a Bike Locally
You may be tempted to go online to buy a bike, but there are advantages to shopping locally. Primarily, you can talk to an expert who can help you choose the right bike and fit for you.
A local bike shop will help you get set up and they can have tips for you as far as getting started in general, where to bike and what other gear you need. Most new cyclists go with a road bike focused on endurance.
You might also opt for something like a gravel bike if you think you’ll go off-road. Your bike fit is incredibly important to make sure you’re comfortable cycling and to improve the likelihood that you stick with it.
The employees at your local bike shop will go over elements of fit, such as the optimum saddle height.
Some of the other items you might need to purchase include a helmet, padded cycling shorts, shoes, and pedals. You’ll also need a pump and puncture repair kit.
Make Sure Your Saddle is Comfortable
Don’t assume that your bike seat or saddle should be uncomfortable. Another assumption to avoid is the saddle with the most cushion is going to be most comfortable.
Your weight sinks through soft saddles and then you’re going to be pressing into the hard bottom. What’s more comfortable tends to be a firm, narrow saddle.
Creating a Routine
Cycling can be tough on the legs and lungs, so you want to build your routine gradually. Start very easily. Aim to ride anywhere from 5 to 8 miles at a time when you’re a newbie. This may sound like a lot but if you’ve ever done spinning or indoor cycling classes, you’ve probably ridden further than this in 45 minutes.
Aim to ride several days a week because you’ll build your fitness level and get used to how the bike feels. Choose easy routes at first with lots of flat roads. Avoid hills as much as you can at first.
You also have to remember that rest is as important to building your fitness level as riding is. Give yourself at least a day between rides so your body can get the rest it needs to rebuild.
If you’re on a ride and you’re having an off-day, or it seems like too much of a struggle, just stop. There’s no reason to push yourself to the point of misery. You should also journal each of your rides so you can see how you’re progressing.
Try to make cycling a habit that you stick with. If you set long-term goals for yourself and then track how well you’re achieving them, it’ll help you make it into a lasting habit.
Other Tips for New Cyclists
Some other things to keep in mind if you’re new to cycling include:
- When you’re riding near other people or near vehicles, use hand signals to let them know what you’re going to do.
- If you’re about to slow down, shift into easier gear.
- When you’re on hills, remain seated and keep your speed high with your arms relaxed.
Finally, once you get comfortable with just riding, consider joining a group. When you have a group you ride with, it can help you stay motivated and meet your goals. It can also make it easier because there’s less resistance when you draft off each other.
Many cities have group rides designed specifically to teach you more about group etiquette and show you the best local routes. You can ask the staff at your bike shop if they know any groups that would be a good match for you as a beginner.
Want more? Check out this road cycling guide.
If your gym is still closed or maybe you don’t feel comfortable working out indoors with other people, you might be looking for new fitness options.
Maybe you were never a gym person, so why not consider cycling?
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