Getting into cycling(8 Posts)
Sorry, no advice to give, but hoping to receive some too. I have just started cycling to work.
Hi Scarftown and Littleboat, i have been cycling for about 3-4 years now and I love it.
My tips would be as follows;
Most of all you will need a good pair of padded trousers and/or shorts for when the weather gets warmer. This will be important when you start to increase your mileage to get used to longer rides. I would also recommend a base layer, a Jersey and a waterproof jacket if you intend going out in all weather. You don't need to spend a fortune - watch out for the cycling ranges coming it to Lidl and Aldi as these are great value. At the moment you will need warm gloves which are still flexible enough to allow you to brake and change gear easily as the wind chill factor on a bike makes you feel colder than it actually is depending on your effort level.
You can cycle in trainers but if you are training for a long ride I would recommend you look at cycling specific shoes. You don't have to use cleats if you don't want to but a hard soled cycling shoe will help you be more efficient with your pedalling.
If you can stick to quiet roads and cycle paths until you get used to cycling in traffic. Always try to put yourself where you can be seen even if this is in front of traffic momentarily (e.g. at traffic lights). Avoid stopping or undertaking on the left particularly of large vehicles as they may not see you. If you can move faster than the traffic overtake on the right if there is space, if not wait in line.
There are more safety tips here
If you can find a friend to cycle with, if not make sure you tell someone where your route is and what time you expect to get back. Always carry your phone with you and make sure it has maximum charge before you leave.
Always carry a spare inner tube and a pump even if you don't yet know how to use them. If you have a puncture cyclists are a friendly bunch and many will offer to stop to help you. Get yourself on a basic maintenance course or ask a friend to show you how (and practice) if you want to be able to change a tyre yourself.
one thing I find really useful when training is knowing my heart rate profile. You can google this in more detail but if you get a basic heart rate monitor you can work out your minimum and maximum heart rate (use google to find out how). You should then do the majority of your training at about 75-80% of your max with short bursts at a higher rate. This is very useful as your rides get longer as you can use it to make sure you don't start out too fast and tire too soon.
Don't try to do too much too soon unless you are already relatively fit. Build up your weekly mileage slowly.
Most importantly enjoy the challenge and don't forget to wave/acknowledge other random cyclists when you are out and about - it is the "done" thing amongst cyclists
Oh and I forgot to ask what bike are you getting - i love looking at new bikes.
Check and see if there's any courses done through your local council - bikeability.org.uk or check for breeze rides near you www.letsride.co.uk/breeze
I did a course recently, I felt a bit of a fraud at first as I've been cycling for years but I got lots of good stuff out of it and I've joined a cycle club off the back of it.
What kind of bike are you thinking of getting?
You absolutely need bike shorts - they can be worn under other leggings in colder weather, but you will be glad of good padded shorts. Check out the sale section on Wiggle. Keep an eye out for the Aldi specialbuy as their cycling stuff is really good.
Learn to change an inner tube asap
I think on British Cyclings website there is a couch to 20 miles (or similar) training plan. Look for a local Breeze group once you can ride 20 miles, and you'll want to enter a 50km event before your big on just to get the hang of the whole thing
Thanks Mumski. Almost all of my commute is along canal paths which is lovely, but muddy.
I'm lucky in that I can keep a pair of jeans and slippers in work and change there. I'm rarely customer facing thank goodness.
Great advice - thanks.
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