If you’re just getting into cycling and looking for a few pointers, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of tips that we often find helpful for cycling beginners. Even if you now consider yourself a regular, there might be something you can learn from this list.
Eating lots of food is ok
When you’re out on the bike, you don’t need to starve yourself. Cycling burns on average 500 calories per hour, and you can burn up to 1,200 depending on how hard you’re pushing. All of this energy will need replacing some how, but it doesn’t always need to come from the mid ride lunch or cafe stop. Don’t let yourself bonk before you finally get round to eating. Carrying something to eat on the go can really transform your ride. Whether it’s energy gels, energy bars or even just some jelly babies or biscuits. Your body will thank you for it, and you won’t lose any more or less weight by starving yourself.
This is an important one. Even if it’s just in the form of a credit/debit card, carrying cash can get you out of some really sticky situations. It could be that you’ve bonked and you need to buy some food. It’s hot and you run out of water. Or it might be that you need a taxi and train home. A lot of it won’t be possible unless you’ve got some pennies to help out. That or you’ll be left relying on the good faith of the British public to come to the rescue!
Plan your route
Planning your route can make riding a whole lot easier. Route planning can be done on strava or Garmin, and loaded onto a cycle computer or your phone. Or (heaven forbid), you could even print of a map and navigate the old fashion way. But by having some idea of where you’re going, it’s often much easier to know how long you’ll be and what to expect. The route you drove once in the car might be a little lumpier when you don’t have four wheels and an engine. And you can’t ride on the motorway to get you from A to B. Though there’s a real thrill in exploring new places and riding with spontaneity, an idea goes a long way.
Cleaning the bike will save you money
Love your bike and it will love you back. A small amount of cleaning and bike maintenance will go a long way. It’ll mean that you don’t have endless bills from the mechanic, and constantly change parts. Chains, cassettes break pads all wear very quickly. By giving your bike a bit of love and care they’ll wear much slower and save your money in the long run. Plus it’s much nicer to ride a clean, healthy sounding bike!
Shifting is your friend
Don’t be afraid to change gear, it’s your friend. You wouldn’t see the top cyclists in the tour de France trying to climb a mountain in the big ring. You’re only going to tire your legs excessively. Learn to use the gears and use them as your friends. Ideally change in anticipation of the hill, bend or traffic lights. So it’s much easier to get going when you get there, and you don’t have to clunk through the gears putting a lot of pressure on your chain.
A bike fit is a fantastic use of money
Though it may seem like a large amount of money when you’ve also just bought a new bike. A bike fit early doors can completely change the way you ride. It’ll make you comfortable, efficient and stop you causing any long term damage. Getting set up right from the start will mean you really can get the most out of your bike. In the same way a lot of runners get their feet checked before buying running shoes, the bike is the same. The last thing you want is an injury a few months down the line.
Good kit is worth the investment
Though it’s often best to start out cheap to get you off the ground, high quality kit is worth the investment. It’ll keep you comfier, warmer, drier. It’ll greatly improve your riding experience and you’ll really thank yourself for it. Don’t let the kit let you down when you’re out on the road. Small items such as arm or leg warmers can make all the difference. You can slip them off at a moments notice, and put them back on if the weather quickly turns. It’s all worth considering, cause if you get caught out, you’ll pay the price.
You need to look after your crotch
One of the most important things in cycling is looking after your crotch. A comfy saddle, high quality shorts and some chamois cream. You’ll start off applying it delicately, but it won’t take long before you take a liberal handful and shove it down there. Protecting your crotch can keep you riding for a lot longer. Also cyclists don’t wear underwear under their cycling kit, really! The shorts are designed with anti-bacterial properties you keep it all nice and clean, as well as comfortable. Underwear can cause unnecessary chaffing, and it’ll get quite uncomfortable.
If you have any questions or want more tips about the best items to buy before you get out and start riding your bike, the Cyclestore sales team will be more than happy to help. We really hope you enjoy your venture into cycling, stay safe!