Getting into cycling can happen fast. It’s a whole lot of fun and becomes addicting. New cyclists need to learn on the fly and absorb a lot of new information. There are a few lessons that new cyclists will learn pretty fast while there are others that will take some time to sink in. Riding seems pretty simple, and for the most part it is, but there are a few tips and tricks you will pick up along the way. Think back to when you got into cycling. There was a lot you didn’t know. Here are 8 lessons that new cyclists should take to heart as quickly as possible to enjoy their new hobby to it’s fullest.
Your bike fit is important
Think you can just hop on your bike and instantly start knocking out multi-hour rides? As a new cyclist, you will quickly learn that to be comfortable on the bike is pretty important. It helps you pedal efficiently and enjoy your riding. Find an experienced rider to helo you out or visit your local bike shop to get your bike fit right avoiding discomfort on your rides.
You need to wear the shorts
Think you can get away with wearing regular workout clothes on your rides. You’ll quickly discover this is simply not the case. Lycra bib shorts are close to essential for enjoying long bike rides. Baggy athletic shorts will lead to uncomfortable chafing. If there is one purchase you make after starting to ride, make it a pair of shorts that fit well. You will substantially enjoy your rides more.
Eat before you feel hungry
Avoiding bonking is pretty important to make your rides fun. Before you deplete your glycogen stores and hit the wall, make sure you eat on the bike. While cycling, bonking can really sneak up onto you and every cyclist has a good bonk story. Foods like energy bars, gels, bananas and dried fruit can all be easily consumed during a ride to keep your body fueled.
Gearing isn’t obvious
Road, gravel and mountain bikes commonly have anywhere from 10 to 24 different gears depending on how many cogs are on the cassette and whether the bike is outfitted with a 1x or 2x front chainring. Learning when to shift and being able to anticipate terrain changes so you can adjust your gearing is something that will eventually come naturally but takes some practice when you are starting out.
Bring bottles on your rides
It may seem obvious to experience riders but to the newly initiated, the importance of staying hydrated may not be as evident. Riding, you lose a lot of liquid through perspiration so becoming dehydrated is quite easy, even on rides as short as an hour long. The loose rule is you should drink one bottle an hour and more in hot conditions.
Clipless pedals take some getting used to. You’ll want to practice securing your foot in the mechanism and just as importantly practicing unclipping so you don’t have an embarrasing tople over at a stop sign or red light. Head to a grassy park and do some simply drills getting in and out of your pedals on both sides to get used to the action and remind yourself your foot won’t just slip loose.
Bring a spare tube
There are few things worse than suffering a mechanical on a bike ride. The most common trouble you will run into is a flat tire, something that is very easily fixed if you are prepared but impossible to ride on for any length of time if you are not. So when ever you head out for a bike ride, make sure you have a flat repair kit so you aren’t stuck on the side of the road.
Get a tune-up if you haven’t used your bike in a while
Having a well-working bike is pretty key to having good bike rides and being happy to head out on two wheels. You want your shifting to be sharp, the brakes powerful and precise, and no annoying creaks. Before diving full into riding, make certain your bike is up to task and bring it in for a tune up if it’s not. You also start learning to do simple tune-up of your bike yourself.