Top 5 Beginner Cycling Tips
Welcome to the wonderful world of cycling! Cycling is awesome – and you are too – but it’s easy to get your head in a spin when looking for the best advice. That’s why we’ve pulled together the best, easy-to-remember cycling tips to take you from beginner to Bradley Wiggins in no time!
Set your bike up correctly
You won’t get anywhere if your bike is set up incorrectly. We suggest you go to an expert – best found at a specialist bike shop – to correctly adjust your saddle, stem and handlebar positions. This is important, as our bodies can dramatically vary in terms of torso, leg and arm length. A correctly set up bike can maximise efficiency and minimise injury.
Lighten the load
When training, you’ll often need to carry more than yourself on your bike, from laptops on your commute, to energy foods on a cycling tour. The best way to carry these is not in a backpack, but in some panniers, a handlebar bag or seat pack. These options lighten the load on your body and will make your journey much easier.
A few small but worthwhile investments in the correct kit can go a long way. Here are the minimum items to help you look, and feel, the part:
- Bike helmet: Non-negotiable. A proper cycling helmet can literally save your life.
- Cycling shorts: Crucial to avoid the dreaded chafe. Whether you hate the thigh rub or secretly want to feel like a Power Ranger, cycling shorts should be a staple of any cyclist’s wardrobe.
- Basic tools: A set of Allen keys, a puncture repair kit, tire levers, a spare inner tube and a pump or inflator will undoubtedly come in handy. You only need the basics, but the right tools allow you to change tires and fix punctures wherever you are.
- Cycling sunglasses: Useful for blocking out dirt, dust and flies. Paired with interchangeable lenses, these will also sharpen your vision in low light conditions and cut down on glare.
Clipless pedals allow you to lock in to your pedals, via a cleat attached to your shoes, meaning you can pull up as well as push down. (This will make you a cycling machine – think Terminator in lycra!) If you’ve never tried these before, we suggest starting with toe-clips. Easy to use, toe-clips are a great place to start before you transition to clipless pedals. (You’ll still be a lycra Terminator – promise!)
Bonk the 'bonk'!
‘Bonking’ is the term cyclists use to mean running low on energy. This is never good, so make sure your increased energy requirements are being met via small, frequent meals throughout the day. Snacks are also great, on and off the bike. While cycling, carbohydrate drinks will keep you well fuelled — as will energy bars or gels that are easy to eat in the saddle.
For more in-depth cycling tips, see our post on Training For A Cycling Event.