Cycling is becoming more popular for people from all walks of life, as they start to see the many advantages of jumping on a bike.
In this post, we will give you the best cycling tips for beginners, so you can progress quickly and have as much fun as possible sooner.
The information in this article we are going to go through 9 key cycling tips for beginners which will reduce the trial and error that comes with picking up the new activity.
Once you have been on a couple of rides, your life will never be the same again, for all the right reasons!
Let’s get into these cycling tips for beginners!
1. Choose The Right Bike
Starting with the basics, you need to choose a bike that will suit you. If you have already bought a bike, you can skip to the rest of our cycling tips for beginners.
There are many different types of bikes available. All are made for specific purposes and riders’ needs. There is no point in buying a bike that is not fit for purpose.
It would be best if you first considered what you want to use your bike for in the first place.
For example, do you want to ride off-road at weekends, commute to work, ride a bike purely for fitness, or a mixture of all of these?
Deciding what you want to get from your bike will determine if you buy a mountain bike, road bike, hybrid, gravel bike etc. However, each of these types of bikes can be broken down further into sub-categories.
A great example of this is mountain bikes. Sub-categories of mountain bikes include hardtails, cross country, enduro, and downhill. All of which are suitable for different terrain and uses.
But as a beginner cyclist, it is best to keep it simple. So sticking with the mountain bike example, you should start off with a hardtail.
Hardtails are very simple to look after, as they have fewer moving parts. They are also ideal for learning the basic skills you need for the trails.
However, with any type of bike, which one you choose will largely depend on your budget. There will always be a compromise, as you need to balance the features a bike has with how much money you have to spend.
When you choose a bike, the most crucial element is how it fits you. If you ride a bike that is too small or too big, it will be uncomfortable and dangerous.
An ill-fitting bike will make you not want to ride it, so it will end up gathering dust in your garage.
The best thing to do is to get measured for your new bike in a bike shop. An expert will be able to guide you through the bikes they have in stock and pick out one that fits you and suits your needs.
The shop will also advise you on how to tweak the geometry to ensure the bike fits you perfectly. For example, they can accurately determine how high the handlebars should be and choose appropriate cranks to suit your leg length.
2. Protect Yourself With A Helmet
One of the most essential cycling tips for beginners is that you need to stay as safe as possible.
No matter what type of cycling you do, you should always wear a helmet. Indeed, helmets don’t prevent all injuries, but they are proven to save lives in cycling accidents.
You can buy helmets that are specifically designed for your chosen discipline of cycling. Each type provides adequate protection and coverage for the kind of accident you may experience.
You may be tempted to buy a cheap cycling helmet, but you get what you pay for, so these budget options are not as safe as more expensive ones.
Your cycling helmet should fit your head correctly. If it doesn’t, it will leave your head exposed or come off your head in a crash.
If you are a mountain biker, you may want to wear knee and elbow pads. These protect your joints in a crash, but they also give you the confidence to ride more technical trails.
3. Stay Visible
It can be difficult for road users to see cyclists, especially in low light conditions. Therefore, you should do what you can to bring your awareness to drivers for your own safety.
When riding your, bike avoid wearing dark colours. Bright colours and reflective clothing makes it much easier for road users to see you.
In addition to this, you should ride with lights on both the front and rear of your bike. Bright LED bike lights go a long way to keeping you safe.
4. Develop Your Road Sense
Riding on the roads can be dangerous, so it is best if you get some road sense. Road sense comes with practice, as you learn what people are likely to do in traffic.
If you are particularly nervous, you can book on to a cycling proficiency course, so you can learn how to stay safe on the roads as a cyclist.
5. Learn How To Fix A Puncture
It is very frustrating when something happens to your bike that stops you from being able to ride it. It is never fun to be stranded somewhere or not be able to leave your home in the first place.
Therefore, you need to learn some practical skills to get you back on the pedals.
You can’t ride anywhere with a flat tyre; therefore, you need to know how to change an inner tube.
On every ride, you should carry a spare inner tube, tyre levers, and a mini pump. These will get you going again if you ride over something sharp, letting all the air out of your tyre.
6. Learn Some Basic Maintenance Skills
If you have a major problem with your bike, there is nothing wrong with taking it to a bike shop. However, you can fix most mechanical issues at home on the roadside with a multitool.
Learn how to:
- Index your gears.
- Change brake pads.
- Inspect your bike for potential problems.
- Clean your bike properly (an excellent opportunity for finding issues).
- Lubricate your bike.
7. Learn How To Change Gears Properly
The components that make up your bike’s drivetrain are pretty expensive to replace. Components such as the rear cassette, front chainrings, or chain will wear out eventually and need replacing.
For an in-depth guide on how to change gears properly, check out this article: How To Use Bike Gears, Explained
8. Wear The Right Gear
What you wear for cycling all depends on the discipline of cycling you have chosen and the weather conditions.
Some novices just throw on an old cotton t-shirt and shorts. However, one of the most essential cycling tips for beginners is to wear cycling clothing made from technical fabrics.
Cotton holds moisture, so when you sweat, you become cold and uncomfortable. Wearing technical fabrics keeps you much more comfortable, as they draw sweat away from your skin and then dries quickly.
Proper cycling clothing also fits to help you perform at your best. For example, road cycling clothing is tight-fitting to reduce wind resistance.
9. Build Your Confidence And Progress Your Skills
Confidence comes from spending time on your bike. Sometimes you have just got to get out and ride; however, it is good to practice some skills.
On each ride, try to focus on a particular aspect of your cycling. After a while, it will all come together, making you a much better rider.
For example, concentrate on feathering your front brake alongside your rear brake. This method will make your braking more effective.
Another thing to focus on is your cornering techniques. Get all of your braking done before you turn so that you can carry speed out of the corner.
Also, remember to keep your inside pedal high and push into your outside pedal for increased grip in corners.
If you are a beginner mountain biker, you can book a course designed to teach cycling tips for beginners. Your instructor will talk you through how to stay safe on a mountain bike, and techniques such as:
- Pumping – How to use the flex in your bike’s frame to unweight it for obstacles and get free speed in compressions
- Emergency stops – Throwing your weight over your rear wheel as you brake to stop more quickly.
- Manuals – lifting your front wheel properly to maintain flow on technical sections of the trail
- Pushdowns – keeping your front wheel on the ground when dropping off small obstacles
- Cornering skills – On both flat corners and berms (banked turns)
Now You Have Some Excellent Cycling Tips For Beginners
The above information will put you in good stead for enjoying your bike sooner. Your path to becoming a great cyclist is now much shorter. And who knows, you might find yourself signing up to a triathlon sometime soon!
After a few rides, you will develop muscle memory and confidence. This won’t happen overnight, but the most essential part of riding a bike is to have fun.
Once your confidence increases and your fitness improves, you will want to build up some speed. Check out our blog on how to cycle faster for some great tips.
Or have you considered training wheels to help you on your way? Check this out: