Top Tips from a new cyclist...
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
So, lockdown hit and that was that. Home fitness blew up. People got especially interested in bikes and home exercise bikes. If you've managed to get hold of one in the last three months, consider yourself very lucky!
I've not ridden a bike since I was about 10 years old! So getting back onto one was interesting - I was a little nervous about it, but practise makes perfect I guess.
We had to wait a few weeks before we could collect our bikes, we'd ordered them pre-lockdown, but then everything closed and we had to wait for a designated appointment to collect almost 5 weeks later. We walked down to our local Halfords and then decided to ride back home. If you know where I live, there's a hill called Rood Hill which is pretty taxing to walk or run up, never mind cycle for the first time in 20 years!
At first I wasn't sure if we'd made the right decision and perhaps I was going to hate cycling and it would be a waste, but with the roads being so quiet, we were able to build up my confidence and transform myself into a cyclist! I've been riding for about 6 weeks now, and along the way have learnt some valuable things that other new cyclists might want to know...
Wear sunglasses and keep your mouth closed!
I quickly discovered that bugs fly into your mouth and eyes quite frequently. Sunglasses can help with this, then it's remembering to breathe through your nose! It can be quite difficult if like me, you suffer with hayfever and you're doing lots of bike rides in the countryside, but it is definitely recommended if you don't like swallowing flies!
Thick twigs and branches are not your friend
I've almost taken a little tumble over my handlebars from accidentally cycling over a thick twig or stick - they really do send your wheels off in a different direction, so try to avoid twigs, branches, tree roots or big stones, they might just send you off course.
You might get obsessed with Strava
If you are already training and love a good set of stats, you're going to love using Strava. Very stat heavy, you'll get to find out your top speeds, how many calories you burn, your distance and route and even segments - parts of your ride that may be tough or challenging and how you measure up to those in your community.
Wear longer shorts
I made the mistake of wearing my teeny workout shorts on one of my first big rides - the inner thigh chafe was real! It was only my right thigh for some reason, but was pretty sore and painful and meant that I couldn't cycle again for a few days - sudocrem is your friend if this happens.
Your bum will hurt
Short rides - you'll be fine. But when you start to rack up those miles, those poor glutes really start to feel it!! Standing up whilst free-wheeling can help release a little tension if you're struggling, and you can buy seat pads or padded shorts, but the only real way to stop the ache is to condition your derriere to that seat, is with more cycling!
You'll have found a fantastic new way to exercise
Warning! You'll probably end up really enjoying cycling and it'll be another fantastic way to keep fit and (depending on where you live) some beautiful, undiscovered countryside too. Cycling is a great cardio and conditioning exercise that is suitable for all ages and abilities.
Just make sure you're always being safe - wear a helmet at all times and take caution when riding on roads.