Essential road cycling tips for beginners
So you're ready to get into road biking, but you're not quite sure where to start? That's totally understandable. It's a funny old sport and the level of equipment and arcane rules and customs can be a little off-putting to begin with. Fortunately, once you get into road cycling, it can be one of the most rewarding, fun and challenging activities in which you'll ever participate.
In this post you'll find some essential tips for getting into, and getting the most out of, road cycling - from what to wear, to how to stay safe.
Get geared up
One of the first things we'd advise any novice road biker to do is make the step from wearing your regular exercise gear to a proper set of cycling clothes. Most important if a pair of padded shorts - if you don't quite fancy the full bib short option (shorts with two straps that go over the shoulder like a pair of dungarees) then you can always get a basic pair of shorts with a padded seat. The difference in comfort on the bike will be noticeable immediately and we guarantee you won't want to switch back. A lyrca jersey will also pay huge dividends in the long-term, making you more aerodynamic, providing handy storage space in the back pockets and reducing painful chafing.
Part of cycling's addictiveness comes from how easy it is to see improvements early on. To begin with many of us question whether it's possible to ride 30 miles in a single ride and the notion of doing a century (a 100-mile ride) is absolutely out of the question. However, something happens in the mind of a cyclist when they achieve a particular goal. All of a sudden that goal becomes much easier to repeat the next time. All of a sudden, 30 miles is nothing to worry about and you've set your sights on a 50 or 60-mile sportive. Be ambitious in cycling and you'll find you quickly achieve things that you thought were impossible!
Some cyclists (like human beings in general really) aren't very nice people. It's a shame but it's true. The only thing you can do to combat this is to be nice to everyone you meet while riding a bike and make this world a better place. So much of what you'll learn about the bike will come from other riders, so it pays to keep them sweet!
Put your faith in the bike
Learning to trust the bike is a big step in building confidence as a new cyclist. Over time you'll learn that each different machine has a soul, including positive assets and maybe a few little foibles. Once you get to know and trust your bicycle, it'll reward you a thousand times. Oh, and make sure your brakes are always in good condition. That one is not negotiable!
Learn basic bike maintenance
YouTube is an incredible thing and it can teach you how to fix basically anything that goes wrong with your bike. We wouldn't recommend you try to learn everything right now, but knowing how to change a flat tyre when you get a puncture will save you a huge amount of time and cash in the short and long term. Other simple jobs include tightening your brake cables and cleaning the chain.
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