Looking from the outside, cycling may seem really easy, but once you get on a bike, it turns out that things get a bit more difficult than you initially thought. Read more info here if you would like to know how to get ready to become a cyclist as we talk about all the things that are necessary for this situation.
Get the right bike
Clearly, the most important thing in this equation is to start by having a good bike – a great bike, actually. All bikes have their pros and cons, but we are talking specifically about road bikes here. This is the type that is the most used by beginners, and it’s a great way of navigating the streets of your city.
Just like you need shoes that were made for running when you go jogging, you will need to find a bike that is appropriate for your size. You can find out if it’s a good choice by standing over the top tube and aim to have around one inch of space between you and the frame. This is the best way of making sure that you’ve got the right size.
Of course, you should also pay attention to other factors, such as the budget you are willing to work with and find out what your riding style is. Do you want to use the bike to exercise, or do you plan to go out with it every weekend? The frames of road bikes are created to work best on certain occasions.
Get the gear ready
Finding the bike that fits you best is only half the work – the other half is making sure you will own all the protective gear that one should have while on the road. Starting with the most obvious choice, the helmet, which you should always have on when you are riding, it’s best to pick a new one, as even helmets come with a shelf life.
You could (and should) also invest in some cycling kits, the ones that come with a jersey, padded shorts, and socks, which will make you be more aerodynamic, letting you catch a faster speed, while also keeping you comfortable. These products are specially made so that you don’t sweat as much, have no chafing issues, and so on.
The jerseys can be found in two types, one that is tight-fit, and another which is baggy, more relaxed. Both of them have their pros and cons, as you can imagine, so picking one is all up to you and your riding style. Both of them are available in a variety of colors and patterns, so it’s easy to pick the one that fits your personality the best.
While it is a good idea to start cycling by wearing athletic shoes and having standard flat pedals on your bike, as you gain more experience, you’ll probably want to upgrade the experience by wearing road bike shoes and having clipless pedals. This combo makes sure that your feet are in one place, so you’ll be able to pedal better and faster.
There are other items that you can buy for a complete cycling experience, such as tire levers, a mini pump, a multi-tool, and, of course, bottles of water, or even a cycling computer so that you can keep track of your mileage and have a better idea of how to get around, but, you can do even without them, for now, as you begin your journey.
Before going for a ride
There are some things that all cyclists should do before going out for a ride, so, as a beginner, you must always keep them in mind until they become a reflex, which will ensure you’ll have the most comfortable journey. Making sure that the tires have the right pressure and adjusting the saddle height are just two of the things you should keep in mind.
The most important of them all is making sure that the tires of your road bike are pumped all the way to the right amount of pressure. You can easily find what that number is as it will be mentioned on the sides of the tire. You will find a written range there that you can use; there is not an exact and even number that you have to reach.
This is done so that you will be able to adjust the tire pressure by taking into consideration the weather conditions. For example, if your trip is going to include a damp and slippery area, it’s better if you don’t pump the tires up too much. On the other hand, if the area is dry, you can pump the tires up as much as recommended.
Making sure that the saddle is at the right height and that you are riding the bike in the right position represents another thing that you need to look out for. If the saddle is too low, you will have a harder time when using the pedals, and you will consume a lot more leg power than it would be necessary.
If the saddle is too high, you can strain your muscles, and there is no point in that. It is recommended that the height of the saddle should allow for a slight kink at the knee while you have the feet at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Establish what your position on the road bike will be, as well.
One very simple way to make sure that everything is alright is to position yourself on your riding posture, the one that you will generally have, and make sure that the handlebar obscures the view of the front wheel hub. This is very easy to be done, and you will be grateful for this small advice, no doubt about it.
Even if cycling requires you to put in a lot of effort, that doesn’t mean that it has to be painful. After all, you are doing this to relax your brain and get some physical activity. If you feel that, as a result of riding the bike, you start to have a backache, go to the local bike shop and ask them to help you with adjusting the position of the saddle.
Create new habits
You’ll surely notice fast that your first couple of rides will be a bit tough on you and your body, as you are adjusting yourself to this new activity. Don’t worry about it, as progress will come in time, as it is natural in all aspects of life. What you need to do is create new habits and have expectations that are realistic.
You are very excited about the brand new bike that just arrived, but that doesn’t automatically mean you will become a morning person or that you’ll be able to ride 100 miles in one go on your first try. The important thing is to take it slow and set goals for yourself that you can achieve so that you’ll be motivated to do more.
One little trick you could do to help you is to make a little bit of preparation beforehand. Pump the tires, fill the water bottles, have your kit ready. Oftentimes, the preparation for the ride is what makes people want to give up on the whole idea, which means that if you prepare yourself in advance, you’ll have a higher chance of following through on your plans.
You can also set for yourself some long-term goals so that you will always keep yourself engaged in this activity, while it’s also a great way of keeping track of your overall progress. Plan to ride some days of the week until a certain point and do it again and again until you feel like you can do so much more – then, change the routine.
Find out how you ride
As you’ll spend time on the saddle, you’ll figure out your riding style. It’s the only way to make sure that you like riding in a group in a non-competitive setting or that you just like to take this time for a journey on your own, in which you can be alone with your thoughts, away from the world.
Maybe you will find the need to race other people, or maybe you’ll just stick to riding the bike to work. There are so many ways in which you can use a road bike that you only need a bit of time to figure everything out, but once you’ve done that, the world is your oyster.