What You Need to Know About Cycling as a Beginner
Spring is here. Warm weather, good vibes, picturesque landscapes and maybe the urge to drag your old bike out of the garage? Or maybe you’ve just ventured into the world of cycling? Here’s what you need to know about cycling as a beginner.
Get comfortable in the saddle
No matter how old your bike is or what type it is, it’s important to adjust your bike in the way that works for you. Many cyclists who’ve been riding for decades still tweak their bike fit as it’s a never-ending process of adjusting.
For optimum comfort, it’s all about the saddle height. This can be found by placing your heel on the pedal at the bottom. Your leg should be straight so when you bring the pedal up, there’s a slight bend at the knee. If you’re sitting too low, your knee will come to your chest and if you’re too high, you might struggle to reach the pedal. If you don’t do this, you’ll feel uncomfortable and evidently might put you off cycling.
Join a cycling group
Cycling groups can look very intimidating at first glance however if you find the right one, cycling with a group has a lot of benefits. You’re part of a group’s camaraderie, exploring new places adds some structure to your cycling routine and it’s a great place to make new friends!
FLAB social rides are established to help members of the FLAB community find people to ride with. They’re free to join and no matter what ability, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome! We have a no-drop policy meaning no one gets left behind and we ride at the pace of the slowest rider. These are social and all-inclusive rides and usually, involve a cafe or pub stop during or after the ride. Click here to read more information about the FLAB social rides
Investing in proper kit
You might think wearing some old gym gear will suffice and that might work as a short term solution but if you’re planning on cycling long term, you need to invest in some good quality proper kit. Believe us, it does make a difference.
Even though it might feel liberating to have your hair blowing in the wind whilst cycling along the country roads, it’s very unsafe. If you don’t have one already, then we heavily encourage you to buy a helmet. It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but believe us when we say there are a lot of cyclists that don’t wear helmets. Wearing a helmet can be the difference between getting a little bump or a fatal injury.
- Padded Short
Padded shorts are an absolute lifesaver. These wonders significantly reduce downstairs soreness – a common problem that all cyclists suffer from. Even pro cyclists that have competed in the Tour de France have pulled out because of saddle soreness. So, investing in some padded shorts will make a world of difference.
Shop padded shorts, here
- Bike Lights
In winter when it starts getting dark before 5pm, there’s a good chance you’ll be riding in the pitch-black. Bike lights are a legal requirement - you’ll need to attach a red light to the back of your bike and white lights at the front. Even if you aren’t an evening cyclist, we still heavily recommend having lights on your bike for maximum visibility on the roads. Our philosophy is ‘the more, the merrier so fill your boots with some Daytime Running Lights.
Check out this blog post for more information.
- Base Layers
Might seem like an unnecessary item, however, base layers are good to wear for temperature control. The technical fabric helps wick moisture away from the body to keep you warm or cools you down, keep you comfortable and stops you from getting clammy.
Shop winter and summer base layers, here
- Puncture Repair Kit
As much as you want to deny it, there will come a time when you need to fix a puncture and you have nothing to fix it with. If you’re cycling within a group then there’s a high possibility that someone will have one, but it’s best to have one on hand just in case. Especially if you’re out on your own!
Be confident on the road
Ride with confidence, don’t worry about what passing riders might think – you have every right to cycle just as much as they do. Ignore them and focus on yourself and your surroundings.
It’s good to brush up on your knowledge of the highway code to clearly understand the basics of cycling behaviour to ensure you and others are safe on the roads.
Then soon you’ll be cycling like a pro.
Don’t push yourself too hard
You might be very eager to bash out a 25-miler straight away but it’s better to start slow. Doing too much too quickly, will make you feel fatigued, injured or simply lose passion for the sport.
We recommend gradually building up your cycling stamina by trialling out different routes and exploring how you feel on the bike, and as time goes by you will understand what your strengths and limitations are.