With the warm weather here, there are millions of people who are heading out to ride their bikes. If you’re looking into joining the cycling fun yourself, I’ve compiled a list of cycling tips for beginners you should check out before venturing out into the world of cyclists to help you ride better and safer.
1. Get the Right Bike
One of the first cycling tips for beginners I would recommend would be that you decide or have a good understanding of the type of bike you want. There are many types of bikes available on the market today, so it’s important to choose one that fits your needs.
You could opt for a typical road bike, which is great for beginners and if you plan on cycling in the streets of your city. An adventure bike or gravel bike may be the one for you if you plan on going off-road or on bike trails. If you plan on riding in more rocky and incline areas on mountains, I would suggest getting a proper mountain bike for that.
Some good bikes I recommend are:
- Schwinn Phocus Drop Bar Road Bicycle
- Schwinn Vantage Hybrid Road Bike
- Schwinn High Timber Youth and Adult Mountain Bike
- Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike
2. Get a Bike Fit
Once you have your bike, it’s also important to get a proper bike fit to ensure that the bike is set up for your body size, and you don’t feel any discomfort when riding. You can get this done at your local bike shop and have a professional or experienced cyclist assist you.
3. Invest in a Good Helmet
This is one of the most important cycling tips for beginners as most cycling deaths are caused by head injuries, which can be avoided if one was to wear a helmet while biking. If you’re a new cyclist on the road, this is one tip I would not skip.
There are many helmets available today that are comfortable, and light and most of them conform to the correct safety standards. Here are some of the ones I recommend:
4. Invest in Cycling Gear
There is some equipment you should invest in if you’re going to be taking up cycling. These items aren’t necessary but would make your cycling adventures easier and more comfortable.
- Padded Cycling Shorts – These will provide you with some cushion and won’t make your back ache as much on longer rides. For winter, I suggest getting some Padded Tights to keep you warm.
- Gloves – To keep your hands warm in the winter or from the constant wind when you ride.
- Knee Pads – These are great to have if you’re a beginner so you are protected from injuries.
- Bike Lights – A great option if you plan on riding after hours.
- Cycling Sunglasses – These are great to keep the sun out of your eyes and to prevent any flying debris (such as rocks or bugs) from going into your eyes.
5. Know the Rules
Another essential cycling tips for beginners is to make sure that before you head out on the roads, you understand the road rules and traffic-riding rules for your country. Obey all road signs and ensure that you are aware of your surroundings, and watch cars around you closely. It is wise to also ride about 1 meter from the edge of the road, so you have enough space to move around obstacles such as potholes if need be.
6. Use Your Gears
It’s important to learn how to use your gears to make for easier riding, especially if you’re using up too much energy and force to pedal. For uphill climbing, shift gears to a smaller chainring and larger rear cog for easier pedalling. For flat roads, use a larger chainring and smaller rear cog to be able to go faster.
I would suggest spending some time practising and playing around with the gears till you get a better feel for them and are able to tell the difference.
7. Learn How to Fix a Puncture
Another great tip on the list of cycling tips for beginners is to learn how to fix a tire puncture. In the case where you find yourself stranded with a flat tire, it’s always good to know how to fix it to avoid further inconveniences. There are a lot of resources out there that teach you how to do so. You can check YouTube for tutorials, the internet, or ask someone at a bike shop to help you out.
8. Carry a Tube or Patch Kit
When you’re out and about and cycling, and are unfortunately stuck with a flat tire, it’s good to have a patch kit handy so you can repair the puncture and then head on your way.
9. Practise Some Basic Riding Techniques
Here are some riding techniques you should abide by:
- Always keep a lookout in front of you so you can be aware of any upcoming obstacles in the road.
- Know how to use your breaks. The front brakes are more effective at stopping the bike, so practice gently stopping your bike by pumping the brakes.
- Slow down ahead of time when turning corners so you are not braking abruptly.
- Try to maintain a constant pedalling cadence of around 70-90 pedals per minute.
- When approaching a climb, shift into low gear right before you need it
10. Join a Cycling Club
Whether you’re starting out, or are an experienced cyclist, you should consider joining a cycling club. While they may seem a bit intimidating at first, they are usually very welcoming and can be a great resource to learn some new tips and techniques. Also, when you ride with a group, you are more likely to be more motivated and committed.
11. Energize Yourself
If you’re planning on riding for more than 90 minutes, bring along a snack (or two) to energize you. Try to consume something every 30 or so minutes to keep your energy levels up and avoid getting burned out. Some snack ideas include:
Always bring water with you as well to keep hydrated and it is also a good idea to bring along an electrolyte drink (such as Gatorade or a sports drink) to help you replenish the electrolytes you lose through sweating.
12. Don’t Wear Headphones
This is one of the essential cycling tips for beginners. If you’re new to cycling, it can be very dangerous to wear headphones/earphones while riding as you may not hear emergency vehicles, or if someone is honking at you. You need to be alert and have your full attention on the road and your surroundings.
13. Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon
While you may be really excited to get started, just remember to take it easy. Cycling is relatively easy and doesn’t put too much strain on your joints and it’s a great exercise. But if you do too much too quickly, you risk getting injured and fatigued, or maybe even giving up on it all together.
If there are certain cycling goals you are trying to meet, make a training plan for yourself that you can work towards to help you achieve them and work towards them in increments.
14. Just Have Fun
Last but not the least, just have fun! Cycling is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, so do just that.