Cycling is a great way to get active, stay fit, and establish a regular exercise routine. Beginning to cycle can seem as easy getting a bike, hopping on, and happily riding off into the sunset. However, you'll soon realize that you can't avoid these questions:
-Where do I get a bike?
-What kind of bike do I need?
-Do I really need cycling gear?
-Where do I even ride my bike at?
Don’t let the uncertainty overwhelm you. We'll answer all of your questions and provide beginner cycling tips to get you ready for your cycling journey.
The first step to beginner cycling is quite obvious — get a bike. However, you shouldn’t walk into the nearest store and purchase the first bike you see. It’s important to have a set of wheels that can accommodate your cycling needs. It shouldn't be the flashiest model, but the most comfortable size for you.
Most cycling beginners start out on short paved roads or city streets, and we recommend that you do as well. You never want to start your journey on rough terrain or long-distance courses. Doing so will make regular cycling seem a difficult, attainable goal. It could ultimately lead to discouragement, which might eventually lead to giving up. Start out slow and work your way up to more difficult paths over time.
If you plan on starting out on the pavement, we recommend purchasing a cruiser, road, or hybrid bike. These bikes are built for fun but are still very durable and won’t be too much a financial investment for a beginner cyclist.
If you’re most interested in a wilder biking experience on trails on unpaved paths, a hardtail mountain bike is where you’re going to want to start. These bikes are a bit more expensive, but worth the investment if you plan to make a routine of riding in the woods.
Picking the right bike size for yourself doesn’t have to be a hassle, either. You can simply just make sure that there is an inch of clearance between your body and the frame of the bike. This could be easier said than done, so we recommended that you stop by your local bike shop. Tell the crew you’re a beginner cyclist, and let them use their own knowledge to guide you in picking your first bike.
Now that you have the perfect bike to meet your cycling goals and it's the right size for you, now's the time to gear up and look like a real cyclist.
Helmets are essential for your safety and wearing one should never be considered an option. Your helmet should be up to date with helmet safety requirements.
There are many options, styles, and sizes for helmets so find one that fits your personality and still keeps your head safe. Remember to wear your helmet at all times when riding.
Next, wearing the proper cycling gear is essential for comfort and will make you feel like a pro. A cycling kit consists of:
- A jersey top
- Bike shorts
- Durable socks
If you don’t feel comfortable dressing like a full-scale cyclist then that’s just fine, too. Basic athletic clothes will give you a great cycling experience as well. Just make sure your clothes are tight-fitting to allow for easy movement and increased speed.
Just cycling around your favorite trail will make you break a sweat and can be a fantastic workout. You may feel sore and a bit tired, but it’s important to establish a routine that will turn into a cycling habit.
Repetition and consistency are key for building habits. Start by picking certain days of the week that you’ll go on a ride and try to stick to it. Plan out a playlist, pick your favorite trail, and then set off on your journey.
Before you know it, cycling will become a habit that fits nicely into your schedule and you’ll love it.
Once again, it’s especially important not to start out your cycling journey by going on long distances or extremely rough terrain. This is simply too difficult for a beginner cyclist and will make it harder to stick to your routine.
Start out light and increase distance and difficulty as you cycle more each day.
Bicycling is a fantastic activity to do solo, as its great for clearing the mind and relaxation. With any outdoor activity, we want you to stay safe. We recommend that you adhere to the following safety precautions:
- Always carry a cell phone with you on all of your rides so that in the event of an accident, you are able to call for help.
- Let a friend or family member know where you intend to bike.
- Carry a basic multi-tool with you in case of a small and easy-to-fix mechanical issue.
- Always follow traffic laws when riding in city areas. Many drivers do not look for cyclists when turning so it’s important to stop at each red light and use the correct hand turn signals.
There are many fun and exciting ways to enjoy the cycling life. Each cyclist has their own way to ride. This can be solo, with friends or family, in a biking group, or competitively. You might want to race and win trophies or just want to spend more time outdoors. No matter what your intention with cycling, it’s important to spend time finding your riding style so you can determine your cycling goals.
Cross-country biking is best for someone who likes a little more of a challenge and wants to tackle hills and rough terrain. Cross-country is also great for beginners who want to start out in mountain biking.
Road Cycling usually happens on paved streets, which can be a little easier to handle. However, it is also all about speed. It’s meant to get your destination as fast as possible and can be done with a group or solo.
If this kind of cycling sounds interesting to you, then you should start by timing yourself and then work to be faster every day. Besides, there’s no better competition than one against yourself.
If these two options seem a bit too serious and you’re looking more of a fun, laid-back cycling experience then we recommended that you find the right bike, pick a fantastic location, and just cruise around your neighborhood or a park trail.
Your cycling journey doesn’t have to be extremely difficult or competitive if that’s not your thing. Your riding style is your own so you should enjoy it.
Going out for a ride is awesome enough, but finding the perfect riding spot is the only thing that makes a great ride even better. It’s important to know that there is no perfect riding spot and cycling trails are not “one size fits all.” Your favorite place to cycle will be unique to you.
Where you live and what kind of riding area you have access to will definitely impact your riding style. If you live out in the country or more rural areas, then you’ll have lots of open roads with very little traffic interruptions. However, if you live in a busy city, it’ll be much more difficult to find an open area. You may have to deal with certain barriers like pedestrian traffic.
Talking with your local bike shop owners is a great way to find cycling spots in your area. Do a quick search online of popular trails and bicycle-friendly roads near you.
We also recommend that you just get out there and ride and find your favorite spot. It will be a case of trial and error but finding that perfect spot for you is well worth it.
As we mentioned earlier, there are so many ways to enjoy your cycling journey. If you’re a solo cyclist, then we applaud and support you in that way, but it’s no secret that fun loves company. Having a cycling group to get outdoors with is a great way to socialize and bond over an activity you all love.
We understand that it can not only be difficult to find a group of cycling friends, but also a bit intimidating for a beginner cyclist. It could help to go online and find a community of beginner cyclists who are at your skill level and are interested in learning more together.
Consider joining an “all experience levels welcome” group where there are professional cyclists who have been training for years mixed with beginners who have been training for maybe a few weeks all in one place.
Once again, we recommend going into your local bike shop and chatting with the staff. They’re a big part of your area’s biking community and would be delighted to introduce you to a group of cyclists you’ll love.
We hope these tips will help you start your cycling journey! It’s a great form of exercise, a fantastic way to get outdoors, and a super fun way to spend your time!
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