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.
As a new or aspiring cyclist you’re on a steep learning curve — let us answer your questions and allay…
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.
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.
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.
Always assume you are invisible. Ride defensively.
But the best shorts you can afford.
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!
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.
“It doesn’t get any easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond
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.
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.
Remember to uncleat BEFORE you stop.
Cycling fitness is measured in years not months… enjoy the ride and don’t expect miracles.
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.
Only cyclists understand why dogs like to stick their heads out of car windows! Life is short, enjoy the ride.
Don’t wear underwear under your cycling shorts!
It’s just as fun as when you were a kid, but now you get beer when the ride’s over.
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.
Do not trust anything another cyclist tells you, they are all liars