It’s been reported that 1.3 million Brits purchased a bike during the covid19 lockdown, with the sunny weather adding to the need to get out and about with the family, or for your daily exercise.
Even though it’s a stalwart of the fitness scene, cycling can be overlooked. In actual fact, cycling is loads of fun, super energetic, burns tonnes of calories and builds strength in your legs, arms and core. It also improves joint mobility and improves your posture! On top of this, the NHS says that regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Pretty awesome!
Cycling is a great sport to do alone, or with others – and grabbing your bike gives you a great excuse to get out and about with your family or friends.
If you fancy getting back on the bike, so to speak, check out these beginners tips…
- Choose your bike wisely
If you’re not sure what kind of bike suits your individual needs, rock up to your local bike shop where you’re guaranteed to be met by some serious cycling geeks who can talk through your options.
You may be more suited to a road bike, an off road bike or a hybrid, depending on your local terrain and where you fancy cycling to. You’ll be able to try out loads of different bikes, and the experts will help choose the right one.
On top of this, they will be able to make the necessary tweaks with saddle height etc, ensuring you have a comfortable seat for optimum cycling. It can be tempting to order a bike online, of course, but the professional touch will really help if you’re starting out.
- Think – safety first!
Next, think about safety. Get the right gear, including a correctly fitted cycling helmet, which can make a huge difference to your personal safety should you have an accident.
Next, get some decent bike lights and a bell / horn, and a bike lock in case you need to leave your bike anywhere securely.
Lastly, learn a few maintenance basics, such as how to fix a puncture. You never know when it may come in handy!
- Brush up on your Bikeability
If you do plan to cycle on the road, brush up on your Highway Code and cycling proficiency skills and learn to ride while making hand signals.
There are tonnes of resources online if you need them, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you venture out. The British Cycling website has lots of Bikeability tips, on important things such road positioning…
- Build up your confidence and get used to your bike
To build up your fitness levels, build up your confidence and get used to your new bike, aim for a 30 minute ride out every day, somewhere safe.
There are loads of great routes to find all over the country, so do your research and find some nice easy cycle tracks so you can hone your skills. Slight warning – you may have to rest your legs after the first few days as chances are you’ll be using a few muscles you’ve not used for a while.
Building up your confidence and your riding ability slowly will also help you to get used to the gears and breaks on your bike, and also work out if your saddle is comfortable for longer distance rides.
- Get out there!
When you are confident and happy on your bike, just go for it! Check out local cycling routes and research some further-afield ones, if you fancy buying a bike rack and hopping in the car.
Download a tracker app on your phone or ensure your wearable fitness tracker is suitable for cycling, and see how many miles you can rack up. A small warning – cycling is very addictive!
What are your top tips for cycling? Please do share them in the comments!