Are you new to road bikes?
Read what you need to know before you join the Tour De France
If you thinking about cycling on a road bike, whether it is to and from work, recreational or for getting fit, once you get started you will find that bike riding is fun!
But getting started isn’t as simply as getting on the bicycle then pumping those legs to get a work out. There are many things to consider, to we’ve pulled together a short guide in getting started in cycling.
If you want to get started with cycling, then please read on!
Safety and Rules
It’s important to first understand safety and the rules that you will need to abide by in the country and locality that you live in. Each country has their own cycling laws to abide by. Some are more strict then others, and some have severe penalties. Make sure you abide by the rules of the locality that you will be riding in.
Just as important is to ride with safety. Do not ride recklessly or carelessly. Be mature and ride with common sense. Wear a helmet, even if the laws do not require you to do so, riding with a helmet is prudent and wise. All cyclists ride with a helmet, it’s the smart thing to do.
Be able to ride
Secondly, and it’s of course obvious, you need to be able to ride a bicycle confidently and with awareness. Often riding a bicycle is more than just looking straight ahead and focusing your concentration on balancing on a bicycle. You should be able to ride without second though about balancing and be aware of your surroundings.
Bike Fits Well
Thirdly, you need a bicycle that fits well. Now, sometimes you can get away with some minor adjustments, and sometimes you will need to get a different bike. If the bike doesn’t fit well, you will notice it on the long rides. It’s a bit like sleeping on the wrong bed. Yes, you can for maybe one or two nights. But on the third and ongoing nights, you will be suffering. The pain will come through, and it becomes harder and harder to put up with.
Bike is Safe
Fourth, make sure the bike is safe to ride on. If you are reliving your childhood and pulling out a dusty old bicycle from the garage, then you need to make sure it is road worthy. You need to check the tyres, gears, steering and of course the brakes. If in doubt ask an experienced cycling friend or even better, take it to a bike mechanic shop. They will be able to advise what needs to be done.
Room to store the Bike
Fifth, make sure you have room to store the bike, if you intend in having one. Owning a bike is great, but if you haven’t got the room for it at home, then you need to think about where else you can store it. You may want to leave it at your friends, neighbors or perhaps at work. If you live in an apartment, maybe on the balcony (but check with the apartment rules). If you have space at home, maybe consider hanging wall brackets which will reduce the ground space that a bike will take up.
Understand the basic parts of the bike. There are of course some parts that are very obvious such as the saddle, pedals and handlebars, but there is a whole lot more to it than simply those parts.
It’s not necessary to know all of the bike parts, but spending time learning some of them will help you with socialising and chatting with other bike friends. It will also help you down the track with bike maintenance, bike fixing, and bike upgrading.
Riding a road bike also needs a lot of bike accessories. If you haven’t ridden a bike for many years, you may be unaware that there has been a lot of advancements with bike accessories. The greatest new accessory, of course, is the smartphone and this is now a mandatory bike accessory for all cyclists. The smartphone provides several benefits. There are also clever and long lasting road bike lights, beautifully designed bells, bottle cages, saddle bags and much much more.
Road Bike Clothes
You will have seen the clothes that road bike riders wear, and yes, it’s not to everyone’s liking. But for the road cyclist that get’s into the passion of cycling there is a wide range of clothing to ride in.
Be accustomed with knowing what is a bib, lycra shorts, cycling cap, jersey, arm warmers, gloves, cycling socks and cycling glasses. There plenty of other bike clothing that I’m sure I’ve forgotten, however, I’ve listed the most common.
Great form of Exercise
There are a lot of health benefits from road cycling. Cycling is a great form of cardio work out. It strengthens your heart and makes it operate more efficiently. This can lead to lower blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels.
Road cycling strengthens your core muscles. Not just in your legs, but also in your upper body. You will find that regular cyclist have very strong core body and arm strength. Riding a road bike, requires arm support and strong core stomach muscles to ride efficiently and with stability.
Cycling is also an extremely low impact form of exercise. Unlike running, there is no pressure on the knees. When I switched from running to cycling I was amazed at how little joint pain I endured as a symptom of cycling.
There’s a lot to consider when getting into cycling, especially with road bikes. Cycling is a great form of exercise helping you staying fit and healthy. In getting started with cycling remember to start slow. Ensure you can at least ride a bike with confidence and with awareness, know the rules and laws of where you are riding, and begin to understand the parts of the bike and the clothing and accessories that you need.