Cycling for Beginners
By Cooper Galloway, March 2021
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As a new rider just starting your great adventure on two wheels, you may be looking for cycling tips that cover equipment, clothing, nutrition, technology and more. JRtB covers all of this across our comprehensive articles. Here guest writer Cooper Galloway outlines some of the issues you should consider when starting your cycling.
Since 2020 we have seen many people trying cycling for the first time since the COVID19 restrictions came into place, we thought a few hints and tips might prove useful. But always remember, the most important thing is to just ride the bike!
With the bike you have, you can start riding
For a newbie, what bike is the least of your worries. JUST GET RIDING! Don’t get flustered about all the different opinions. The only one that is important is to get out and just ride the bike.
Once you’re up and riding, you can see what kind of bike you like riding the most, whilst listening to the opinions of other cyclists, bike shop owners, bloggers and others. Most riders are willing to share (or sometimes over-share) what they know about cycling. This can help you choose the right bike as your first road bike, gravel bike or mountain bike depending on your desired use. But equally important is not to get information overload. Only you can know what you want a bike for.
As a new rider, it can be overwhelming, but really a bicycle is a fairly simple machine, designed to help you travel faster, using your own power. They are super efficient - even if they don’t feel like it sometimes, and they produce no carbon dioxide or other pollutants, they take up a tiny amount of parking space, they are light (well, comparatively light) they help you get or stay fit, and they are fun.
Here are some tips for beginners to help you ride better and safer.
Just go and ride. If you’re nervous take yourself off somewhere quiet and undisturbed and be ready to put your feet down. It’s like everything, the first step (pedal) is the hardest.
Cycling shops are often the focus of the cycling community, offering expert advice and engaging with clubs and a wide range of other services.
There are many other social media channels that deal with all things cycling when you plan to take part.
Whilst it’s worth thinking about the majority of cycling you’d like to do, most bikes can do most things and go to most places. Don’t get put off by all the ‘experts’; they have their experiences, and you have yours.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only not-quite-suitable cycling clothing. We ride all year round, almost everyday, so we might have some slightly more specialist kit, but you don’t need any. Got a cold head - wear a woolly hat? Cold hands - wear thick gloves.
Do I need a commuter bike to commute?
In no way. The bike you have that works is the perfect commute bike. You might want to consider a commuter bike at some point, as they are designed to help you navigate the city's paved bike paths and streets, and they can be lightweight and efficient on the move, whilst it should also be able carry any bags you might need. But you don’t need one to get you riding.
I’d like to get in with a group - what should I do first?
The vast majority of cyclists are willing and able to help you. The key is to find a group to feel comfortable with, and the best starting point is the local bike shop or cycling club. You can worry about the great prices for bicycle gear afterwards, but as a beginner it is worth maintaining relationships with good bicycle shops.
Do I need to start training?
One of the many brilliant things about cycling is that it’s suitable for almost everyone. You can train as hard as you like, or you can just ride your bike for fun when you fancy it. It’s entirely your choice, and you might find that you change your mind as you do more cycling, and you’d like to go that bit faster or further. But the most important thing is that you’re riding.
You can also start training and preparing for rides of more than two or three hours, receiving proven information on the best training methods and equipment. This basic training will help you build the stamina you need, whether your goal is losing weight, pursuing a future professional cycling career or preparing for a cycling event.
Cycling training does not have to be complicated to be effective. There are plenty of Youtubers willing to explain the purposes of FTP, max effort, tempo rides, recovery rides, nutrition and so on. It can be daunting to start with, and it is important to understand the basics, so take it easy, one step at a time.
If you can start riding with confidence, then you can use this as a solid basis to develop from - if you want to. There's plenty to explore, from equipment, bikes, routes, kit and training methods.
Cycling should be fun!
There has never been a better time to be a cyclist, ride a bike, feel good and have fun. Across our website we have many articles regarding cycling and the best routes and guides for whatever level you’re at. Remember though, don't ever worry, just ride the bike!
All credits: Unsplash, via JRtB, 2021
About our Guest Author - Cooper Galloway
Prior to becoming an online article writer for Technical Writers, Cooper took the opportunity to explore the digital world with a range of academic and fitness focused training courses. After taking a gap year, before acquiring a full time career in content creation, Cooper also worked as a personal trainer for his local gym where he developed his wealth of knowledge in the health and fitness industry.