Solid advice for first-time riders, from the collective knowledge of Cycling Weekly readers

For someone just embarking on their lifelong journey on two wheels, there are many questions – and many things that you are often left to discover the hard way.

We recently asked Cycling Weekly readers what one piece of valuable advice that they would give to someone just starting out in cycling.

We had some great answers, from choosing the right bike to building up endurance for longer rides. From what to wear, to what to eat.

Here we present some of the best answers from readers. If you agree or disagree, or want to share you own piece of advice, let us know in the comments box below.

Get out rain or shine and buy kit that keeps you comfortable on the bike. More miles mean more smiles. You will surprise yourself. Mix your events and effort levels, go different places, different speeds and do it for different reasons. Cycling is not a sport, it’s a lifestyle. Don’t stare at your pedals, look about and enjoy both your company and the landscape.
Edward Woods

Enjoy it. Set whatever targets you want to set, not what you think others expect. If you want to ride hills, great; if you want flat, stay on the flat. If you want to target 10 miles or 200 miles, 30 minutes or a full day, set yourself achievable objectives that you can keep improving on and developing, to keep giving yourself that carrot to keep improving and enjoying it.
Adam Coatham

Read all the professionals’ tips and watch all the cycling you can. Listen to their advice on training and eating properly, buy yourself a decent bike to start off with and build up your miles gradually, rest when tired and eat every 50 minutes on the bike.
Alex Doherty

Always assume you are invisible. Ride defensively.
Tim Brady

But the best shorts you can afford.
Tom Wall

Buy the most expensive bike that you can afford or you will buy your second bike within 12 months, it’s cheaper in the long run!
Kevin Hunt

Invest in some padded bike shorts. Even if you don’t feel comfortable wearing Lycra, wear them under something you do feel comfortable in. If your tushy isn’t comfy, you won’t enjoy cycling.
Christina Livingston

“It doesn’t get any easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond
Chino Galvez

Don’t do it unless you’re really committed. Cycling is addictive and difficult; once it’s in your blood you’ll never get it out. That being said, some of my best memories are from my racing days and still look forward to racing again once the kids are a little older.
Michael Watson

Make sure you take spare tubes, tyre levers, repair kit, multi-tool and mini pump on rides… Even if you don’t know how to change or repair a tube someone passing by will help you out. We are a friendly bunch.
Carlos Jauncao

Cleat adjustment

Remember to uncleat BEFORE you stop.
Dan Mahalo

Cycling fitness is measured in years not months… enjoy the ride and don’t expect miracles.
Neil Cobley

Ride at your own pace. Learn what your pace is and ride it. Being comfortable on the bike, knowing both your strengths and your limits is critical for the beginner (e.g. strong climber, fast or great endurance). Go with your strengths and you will grow rapidly from there.
Sam Herold

Only cyclists understand why dogs like to stick their heads out of car windows! Life is short, enjoy the ride.
Keith Sherratt

Don’t wear underwear under your cycling shorts!
Danielle Riley

It’s just as fun as when you were a kid, but now you get beer when the ride’s over.
Gerry Korzi

Less is more. Rest is more important than training. Rest well with a balanced amount of training and you’ll improve. Rest badly and you’ll never improve.
Mark Griffin

Do not trust anything another cyclist tells you, they are all liars
Alex Doherty

  • Morksmith

    Not sure I agree with the expensive first bike idea – difficult to know what you want when you know nothing about cycling – I went into Evans and they suggested a Jamis hybrid – fast forward 3 years and it took time to realise I was into English steel and got a Mercian built – glad I didn’t just splash the cash. I know people will say that I shouldn’t have gone to Evans but as a newbie I knew no better…

  • Kris Pratt

    Breath in when you see anybody with a camera within 1/2 mile of you..!!!

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    When riding in towns or near junctions, never ‘overtake’ long vehicles (including buses) on the inside.

  • captainPerfect

    Spending doesn’t end with your bike, a pair of shoes and some kit.
    Be prepared for maybe 2 years of spend before you’ve built up everything you need. Don’t forget that one bike isn’t usually enough once you get into it. Hey, don’t be antisocial, please buy some mudguards.

  • Kevin MacMillan Craig

    When taking the waterbottle from the cage, DO NOT EXTEND YOUR ARM OUT TO INDICATE THAT YOU’RE DRINKING! This is not a cool move and epically unsafe to the riders around you.

  • Barkus 1863

    If you’re riding to lose weight/gain fitness; ~ Remember when you’re struggling to hit an average speed of 25km/h that your fitness WILL improve, it’ll be a struggle for a while but don’t be discouraged, push yourself into the ‘discomfort’ zone as often as possible & you’ll get quicker & enjoy cycling more and more

  • ueirie

    Don’t do it. It will take over your life and make you miserable.

  • Dave Short

    Comfort and good gearing are far more important than other considerations – cheap or old bikes can be great if they are set up well and have a sufficiently low gear for getting up steep hills. Upgrading can be a pleasure when it is spread out over a period of time.