The sport of cycling is one that’s captured the hearts of many for decades, but it’s also one with some barriers to entry. If you’re just beginning your cycling, welcome! Chances are, you’re a bit overwhelmed with all of the information out there and learning the tricks of the trade. We’re here to help. Today, we’re breaking down some of our most basic tips for beginner cyclists in the hopes it helps ease some nerves and boost your confidence.
1. Nail down the bike
First things first, nail down the bike. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to run out and buy an expensive set of wheels. Start first by inventorying what you currently have access to. Perhaps you have an old bike in the garage or a neighbor who has offered to lend theirs. Exhaust these options first, as you don’t need the industry’s best to get out for a ride.
If you don’t have access to a bike, do some research and consider what fit could be best for you. An endurance-focused road bike or hybrid can both be great options for beginners. If you’re looking for something more suitable for off-roading, consider a cyclocross or gravel bike. Either way, consult with a local shop to really get you the best fit.
2. Don’t Stress About The Gear
Perhaps you’ve considered cycling, but thought “all of that gear would be way too expensive”! You’re not alone. There are a lot of pieces that can certainly enhance your cycling experience, but not all are necessary. We recommend starting with the basics. Those include: helmet, bike lights, padded cycling shorts, shoes and pedals, track pump, bike lock, and a puncture repair kit. That may sound like a lot, but all of those items will ensure you’re riding comfortably and safely. As you get familiar with the sport, you may find items you are more interested in than others to add to your inventory, but these are the bare bones to get you started.
3. Seat Height
Let’s talk comfort. A big deterrent to riders is the discomfort they feel during, or after a ride. Understanding seat height is absolutely key to form good habits as a beginner cyclist. To get the optimal seat height, place a heel on the pedal at its furthest point. Your leg should be straight when on your seat when doing this. Once clipped in, there will be a slight bend to your knee when the pedal is at its furthest point. If you aren’t sure if your height is right, check out your local bike shop and they will help you get situated!
Get comfortable using your gears. It may take some getting used to, but practice mastering this piece early on. Understanding gear basics will help you greatly on the higher climbs and long distance speeds. Here’s a great guide on how to master the gear game.
5. Take it Slow
Last, but certainly not least, take it slow. There is no shame in easing into your rides. Build yourself up slowly with length and speed to ensure you master the technical skills that come with cycling.