A Beginner’s Guide To Cycling

Here at Granite Fitness, we love cycling, and regularly try to discuss this topic. However, we are not the only ones who love this activity. Today, we have invited another health expert Samantha Olivier from Ripped.Me to share her thoughts and analysis on this guest post. Here goes:

Once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget it. However, if you’ve decided to be a cyclist, it’s not enough to hop on your old bike that’s been sitting in the garage for years and start pedaling. You need to build up confidence, fitness, and knowledge, in order to be fully operational for sliding the roads on your two-wheeler.

These are some basic instructions for getting ready to start cycling. Riding a bike is one of life’s great pleasures – sailing along with everything under control, speeding up and slowing down while the breeze runs through your hair. Cycling can help you stay in shape, be happier, and fight anxiety, but before you saddle up, let’s see what it takes to do it the right way.

1. Choose a bike

What’s the best bike for you? It depends on your riding plan and location, and you can choose among electric bikes, touring bikes, and fat bikes.

  • Road bicycles are designed for racing and riding long distances fast, with handlebars that curl downwards.
  • Mountain bikes are meant for trail centres and off-road riding, with suspension at both ends (full suspension) or at the front (hardtail mountain bikes).
  • Commuter bikes, also known as hybrid bikes, are something in between mountain and road bikes. Some are designed more like road bicycles, while some have front suspension. These are the best choice for people who live in the city and want to commute to work.

Where to buy a bike? Go to a local bike shop or find one online, as bike companies and online retailers offer direct sales. A Shimano Mountain Bike is a great beginner’s choice, as they offer bikes with various designs of double-sided clipless pedals, for cross-country riding and racing.

The size of the bike to go for depends on your height, but the best thing to do is to go for a test ride to see which size feels right. You wouldn’t want to buy a bike that’s too small or too big, because you’ll eventually find it uncomfortable and end up not riding at all.

2. Adjust the bike to fit

In order to get the most of your bike, increase efficiency and comfort, you should make certain adjustments. The two easiest things to adjust, and most common, are saddle height and handlebar height. If you’re planning to ride long distances, take your bike to an expert who’ll watch your specific riding style, take specific measurements, and adjust your bike to ensure a perfect fit.

3. Bike maintenance

There are various DIY articles and YouTube videos on bike maintenance. Learning to take care of your bike yourself will help you avoid costly repairs and keep your bike running smoothly. You can find everything from how to fit pedal cleats, go tubeless, look after carbon, and much more.

4. Cycling clothing and accessories

You should protect yourself while riding your bike, so make sure to find lids for mountain biking and a quality road helmet. Besides that, you may want to invest in cycling shoes, glasses, and a jersey, padded cycling shorts, and gloves. Having some basic repair equipment is also highly recommended, such as repair patches or a spare inner tube, a pump, and tire levers (this equipment is a must if you’re riding long distances).

5. Riding

Once you’re equipped, it’s time to ride!

If you’ve bought your bike to commute to work, be sure to stay careful while riding in traffic. You should watch out to anticipate problems before they occur, always watch your surroundings, and always claim the best road position (to be able to prevent or deter others from putting you at risk).

Road cycling requires you to master two important techniques: learning how to use clipless pedals and to get the hand of the best road bike position. Learning how to clip and unclip your shoes from the pedals is a system that makes road, long distance cycling quite efficient, but know that you’ll definitely make a few tumbles before mastering it. Before you hit the road, practice it on a grassy and soft area.

Once you feel that you’re ready to cycle, find cycling routes to start, as well as local trail centres if a mountain bike is your ‘weapon’ of choice. Look for a cycling club or visit a local bike shop to meet other cyclists, who’ll tell you about the best places around for a good ride.

Once again, thanks to Samantha for this guest post, which is not her first on this blog, by the way. So yes, don’t forget to check out her blog called Ripped.Me by clicking on the image below. Cheers!

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Also published on Medium.

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