Cycling is growing in popularity each year and rightly so. The environmental and health benefits of cycling are just a few of the many reasons why riding a bicycle is advantageous. Some people cycle to work, some cycle for sport and some just enjoy the occasional bike ride with friends and family at the weekend. Whatever the reason, many first time cyclists are emerging to try their hand at riding a bike full time. Of course, there are certain things cyclists must know before taking to the roads. So if you’re a first time cyclist or just looking to begin cycling to work, here are a few things you need to know about riding a bike.
If you’re looking to get serious about cycling you should probably think about investing in the right gear to go with your new hobby. Of course, a helmet is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about safety. Make sure your helmet fits comfortably and firmly on your head, with no risk of it falling to the side on off your head completely. For any less confident cyclists, knee pads are a great (if less fashionable) way to ensure your safety in case you take any falls while cycling. Now if you intend to confront any challenging trails or cycling routes in your spare time, fingerless gloves are a favourite for many cyclists, especially if cycling for a long time on uneven terrain. Similarly, purchasing some secure shoes with a grip or even road bike shoes are a good idea as not only will you not wear down your everyday shoes but wearing comfortable footwear when cycling helps enormously to prevent any discomfort and potential injury.
Get the right bike
This is extremely important as your bike is after all the main feature of your new hobby. There are plenty of different types of bikes available, from mountain bikes to lightweight bikes. But for the purpose of cycling on the road, a road bike is the best way to go. First, you have to make sure your bike is fitted to your height, if not then this can cause future injury and pain- especially in your knees. You also want to be able to reach the handlebars easily without any strain on your arms. Bike shops are good for helping you pick out the right bike, they’ll take your measurements and let you try a few until you find the one you are comfortable with. If you are still unsure of what bike is right for you, then any local bike shop can work with you to find the right fit for your future plans. But remember, once you have your bike you then must maintain it to the highest standard, the better you treat your bicycle the better performance you will receive.
It can be quite daunting thinking about gears on a bike when you’re a novice cyclist, but once you get the hang of things you’ll be surprised to find how much easier cycling it is with them. Gears are used to help us handle difficult and various types of terrain, from rocky trails to smooth paths. They not only make the ride easier on the cyclist, but they can also be used to challenge the rider and test their strength as they move up and down in gears. In a way, the gears on a bike are similar to that of a car, lower gears are useful for accelerating the bike and going up hills while higher gears are good for maintaining speed. It’s also important you don’t stick to one gear throughout your ride, as you’re likely to wear out the mechanics of the bike. Of course, you don’t have to purchase a bike with gears, there are bikes that have no gears at all but if you are looking to take cycling seriously having a bike with gears is definitely the way to go.
Be aware of the road rules. If you’ve just decided to begin cycling to work then make sure you know your rules for cycling on the road, as deemed by the Highway Code, in order to keep yourself and others safe. This includes using the appropriate hand signals where necessary to warn any drivers of your intentions, such as left and right turns. In the case where motorists have not noticed you, utilise the bell on your bike to gain their attention and alert them to your presence. It is important that you are more aware of your surroundings when cycling on the road, both of yourself, other drivers and any external hazards. Just because you are on a bike rather than a car doesn’t mean how you act on the road is any different, you are still required to stop at any stop lights and wait for your right away. Essentially it is better to treat your bike as a car itself, so that you keep to the same rules and conduct yourself in a safe manner that prevents any potential accidents from happening.
There are many different accessories available with bikes, but the majority have to do with safety precautions. With this in mind, one of the first accessories you should invest in is a lock. A decent lock will help prevent any potential theft of your new bike. Especially if you have to leave your bike somewhere out in the open, it’s a good idea to make sure everything is secure. Also, get some quality bike lights that will last for the front and rear of your bicycle. These will come in handy for when it starts to get dark or when it’s raining. They will also help other vehicles on the road be aware of your position and help prevent any accidents from occuring. Another useful accessory to have on your bicycle is a mini pump which is used to fix any flat tire that can surprise you during your ride.
In all, as a first time cyclist you have to be well prepared in order to truly begin cycling full time. Whether it is for leisure, commuting or sport, there are certain tips beginners must know before taking to the trails and roads. But as long as you have the right bike, gear, accessories and knowledge of road conduct, this will, set any first time cyclist on the right path to beginning their new hobby.