Cycling

Cycling For Beginners

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Listed below are a few cycling tips I personally followed as a beginner or wished someone had told me sooner than later. This post is aimed solely for beginners and enthusiasts who have started cycling recently. I’ve tried to cover some of the most common pitfalls of getting into riding, but haven’t forgotten that the best thing about cycling is that it’s fun and easier on your joints.

In the words of the great Eddy Merckx — the legendary Belgian ex-pro cyclist who won 11 Grand Tours, including five Tour de France: “Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”

1. Choosing the Right Bike

The first and most important thing to determine before buying a bike is the purpose of getting one and the terrain it’s going to be ridden on. Bikes are most broadly divided into 3 groups and we’ve provided a short summary below. However, you can also refer to our previous article for an in-depth analysis of ‘How To Choose The Perfect Bike For Yourself’.

Summary

TypesRoad BikesHybrid BikesMountain Bikes
Type of RoadMeant for paved roadsSome off-road MTB abilities mixed with a compromised road bike design for paved roadsMTBs are designed to be used on rough terrain ranging from unpaved roads, gravel paths and technical trails
Type of FrameLightweight aluminium frame and thin wheelsAluminium and steel frames with thin wheels, but thicker than a road bikeAluminium and steel frames with thick wheels and greater ground clearance
Handlebars and PostureDrop down handlebars and aggressive streamlined postureFlat handlebars for comfort and ergonomic posture
Straight handlebars with a front as well as rear suspension with a straight or aggressive posture depending on type of ride
Average SpeedAverage speeds on 25 – 35 km/hAverage speeds on 18 – 25 km/hAverage speeds on 10 -12 km/h on trails and upto 20km/h on paved roads
RecommendationsIdeal for people who want to discover speed or athletes who want intense cardiovascular exerciseIdeal for beginner cyclists or users who are looking at cycles to go on excursions exploring the city or countrysideIdeal for beginner cyclists thanks to its hardiness and all-terrain credentials or for individuals who want to cycle on trails
*Note : City cycles are not a part of this table since they’re mainly meant for commute and not for regular or leisure riding.
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2. Cycling Core Gear (For Short Rides upto 1 hour)

As far as apparel choices are concerned, there is a huge range of cycling clothing out there ranging from easily affordable to insanely expensive choices. But we’re going to list down a few must-haves for you to ensure a comfortable and joyful ride.

1. Padded Shorts

The main purposes of padded shorts is to protect and cushion the bottom and genitals from the pressure of the body on the saddle, and to cushion the sit bones. Massively padded saddles won’t help you on longer rides (ouch!). The only way to be comfortable in the saddle is to wear padded shorts, fit a decent saddle and ride until you get used to it.

For those who haven’t heard or used these before and are wondering if you should be wearing any undergarments below these shorts, then the answer is NO. You do not wear underwear under padded bike shorts. The pad is designed to sit next to the skin.

2. Cycling Helmet

Things to keep in mind before you select a Bicycle Helmet:

  1. First thing first, please do not compromise on the quality. Wear a cheap helmet is equivalent of wearing a plastic cap. It will not help in any way during a mishap.
  2. The helmets are unisex and can be used by both men as well as women. Although one can always choose a preferred color.
  3. Buy the correct size of the helmet for your head. One can check the helmet size as per the image below.
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3. Rear and Front LED Safety Lights

Bike lights are a non-negotiable for any ride. Front lights may not be necessary if you don’t plan to bicycle in the dark however, rear lights cannot be compromised with, be it day or night. At the same time, wearing reflective clothes or a reflective jacket is also a great idea.

You can choose amidst a range of really nice looking fancy lights, which can be attached to the back of the seat or to the wheel itself.

4. Cycling Sunglasses

They don’t need to cost the earth or make you look stupid, but they will keep your eyes protected from bugs, stones, sun and rain. Some versions feature interchangeable lenses, so, if you can, get one lens for bright conditions and one for dull, wet days.

5. Medical Contact Card/Identity Card

You can never be too precautious when on the road. As careful as we are and hope it never comes to this, but always carry your identity card or medical card in case needed during any kind of duress or emergency. It may be very crucial to obtain your vital information in case of mishaps.

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6. A Bike Lock

It is important to note that a good bike lock is usually available for sale separately and never included while buying the bike itself. It becomes important to carry a lock especially if you plan to take breaks between your ride to enjoy the scenery around or just park it in your garage or workplace if you use it for commute.

7. A Mobile Phone (With/Without A Phone Mount)

You might have come across some professional or big time cycling enthusiasts who prefer using a cycle computer or have a speedometer attached to track live data. Well, if you don’t want to spend that extra money on those pricey accessories, you can simply invest in a good and sturdy phone mount. There are various apps that help you track live speed.

If you’re not someone who wants excessive data, you can also just use an armband or a safe pocket to store your phone in. Needless to say, it’ll not only help you with maps and commute but also ensure communication and empower you to call for help during emergencies, accidents or flat tyres.

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21 comments

  1. Thank you for this very complete post with great tips. Your willingness to share with others what you have learned while cycling, could prove very to be very important for others, just starting out. You are generous to take the time to cover everything in your post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done! That was definitely informative. I feel like an expert now just after reading it.

    I’ve thought about getting a bicycle. I loved riding my bike when I was a kid. But then I started driving, and I have hardly ridden a bike outdoors since. I like my stationary bike, though. I’ve put thousands of miles on it over the last several years.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have chronic urticaria and angioedema and have problems with swelling. I used to LOVE cycling! This thing started in 2006 and hasn’t gone away, makes it extra difficult to cycle as my bum and knees would definitely swell and hurt 😦 I really miss being able to cycle without problems like this

    Liked by 1 person

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