Yesterday, we looked at some basics about cycling. Today, we look at some of the information that beginning cyclists might need to get started.
As a newbie to the world of cycling, you may be confused about getting started with the sport.
The first thing you need to do is buy a bike.
Don’t worry. In fact, most people are confused when they first buy a bike since it isn’t all that simple. There’s more to it than just a type or a name brand. There’s a lot to consider. Before you get overwhelmed and just go with a store suggestion, here are some concepts to consider.
As a beginner, a hybrid bike may be your best option. There are several reasons for this. The first is because it handles on all terrains. It’s ideal for either road or rough mountain terrain. If you aren’t sure how you’ll be using your bike, or how often, then this bike could work for you. It can be an all-purpose answer to let you try cycling and determine what type of cyclist you are. In other words, it’s the cost-effective option that gives you flexible options.
Beyond the purchase of the bike and how you’ll use it, there’s also the question of where and how you’ll store it. Do you have the space to store a bike? How much space do you have? This needs to be considered when you make your purchase. For example, if you have a small space, then a folding option may be ideal. If you have a garage, hanging the bike may be an option for storage. If it is, make sure you buy the proper hooks for it, so you don’t damage your bike or your garage.
The budget consideration doesn’t cover just the initial purchase of your cycle. How much you will be using your bike and how involved are going to be with your cycling? If you plan on doing events, long rides, trail rides, and more, then there is additional upkeep and costs. You need to determine what you can afford and what you want to spend on your cycling later down the road. Do some research so you will have an idea of how much these extra events may cost.
By keeping these options in mind, and narrowing down which options work for you, you can get the best bike for your needs. You can also avoid getting accessories or bikes that may not fit your budget or your riding plans.
Beginner Cycling Mistakes to Avoid
Now you have a bike.
When you first start cycling, you may think that it’s as easy as well, riding a bike. The truth is, advanced and even intermediate cycling can be vastly different than the typical beginner biking you may remember from your childhood. There are some mistakes you can make that can hurt you, hurt your bike, and even lead to costly repairs or injuries. To avoid these mistakes, you need to know what they are. Here are a few of them that you should avoid.
Ignoring Body Limits
One of the most common forerunners to injury in beginner cyclists is ignoring, or not knowing, your body’s limits. Before you join a biking event, take a long trail ride, or do something else that exerts your body and energy to test your limits. If you haven’t taken a cycle on an off-road trail before, then don’t push yourself on a first run. Take the easier trails at first. Get used to your bike, your body, and the trails and work your way up. You will eventually get there. There’s no rush.
Ignoring the Maintenance of Your Bike
No bike is cheap. You spent at least a few hundred dollars on your bike no matter which option you chose. If you don’t maintain your bike, there may be costly part replacements or even replacement of the entire bike itself. You need to continue a maintenance schedule to take care of the bike properly. Poor bike maintenance is one of the main ways that people end up with expensive issues on their new bikes.
Ignoring Proper Clothing
Another issue that many beginners have is wearing the wrong gear. You may feel that you are protecting yourself from the elements, but if you’re wearing clothing that isn’t breathable, you could be hurting yourself. Prepare for cycling by choosing the right clothing and maintaining it as well as you maintain your bike.
A typical cycling outfit consists of a bike jersey, some type of bike shorts, and a helmet. For colder weather, the jersey may be long-sleeved and lined, and cycling tights and leg warmers are available. Socks have to be able to wick away moisture. The shoe choice depends on whether you have clip-on pedals and what type of terrain you ride in. There will be more clothing tips in the next section.
By keeping these mistakes in mind, you can start your cycling career off right.
Clothing Tips and Advice for Cyclists
When you become an avid cyclist, basic athletic wear won’t do. You need specific clothing for your environment and clothing that has specific uses during cycling. This may sound strange, but the truth is, there are multiple options to consider. Here are a few of the basic cyclist clothing pieces you should have.
Okay, being warm but not too warm may sound confusing. This means you want clothing that is suited for the weather, but not the extreme end of the weather. For example, you want to protect your body against wind in extreme cold. However, you’ll still be radiating energy. That means sweat. Which means there will be a layer of dampness next to your body that will absorb the cold wind. Not good. Instead, you want a Gore-Tex layer or something similar that will keep you warm, break the wind, and still allow your skin to breathe. You want to be both warm and protected.
Layer, Layers, Layers
Layers. The typical layering formulation is a) a layer next to the skin that pulls away moisture, b) a middle layer of insulation, and c) a weatherproof and/or windproof layer.
You want to be able to take off or add anything that you need as you cycle. If it gets too cold, have a jacket that can be pulled on easily. If you’re too warm, have a small pack that you can put clothing into. This preparation will allow you to have more productive and comfortable rides.
Your clothing options and any additional gear should be compact. You should be able to add them to a pack without adding much weight to your bike at all. This means buying the most lightweight, comfortable, and weatherproof gear available. This can take some time. Most cycling outfits are made of lightweight material, but the material may hold water or not dry quickly. This adds weight if you run into rain. Keep the weight of the gear in mind, the length of your journey, if you will be staying overnight outdoors, your other gear, and any additional accessories that you need.
You can buy most of your biking clothing at local cycle stores. If you can’t, you can order from specialty stores online. Make sure you have your correct measurements when you order.
Remember, you should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness routine.
Also, here is a freebie that would be useful to all cyclists — beginners or experienced! It looks at 10 Fitness Tips for Cyclists. Click the link to sign up!
Have you ever cycled regularly for exercise or fitness? Tell us about it in the comments!
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