It can be difficult when you are new to cycling to avoid feeling overwhelmed or nervous – road biking is, after all, a specialized skill that takes time and effort to cultivate. But don't worry, we've been in your (running) shoes and we know exactly the right tips beginner cyclists need to overcome this momentary period of hesitation. If you're new to cycling, here are five ways to start cycling with confidence and courage.
5 Tips for Beginner Cyclists
Visit your local velodrome to practice: A velodrome is a great way to get in gear for new cyclists. These kinds of steeply banked oval tracks are great for learning to cycle because they teach you great control of your bike, without the ability to brake, and help you learn how to ride with high RPMs. These are both essential skills for cycling, and many velodrome arenas will offer coached as well as open sessions.
Be prepared with the right equipment: Having the right equipment can seriously make all the difference in both your physical and emotional comfort on the road. Make sure you get properly fitted to your bike, choose the right saddle (a longer seat with a cutout is usually the best kind) and invest in a comfortable helmet and full gear.
Create a biking partnership or group with more advanced cyclists: Making sure you aren't entering the new world of cycling on your own is a surefire way to increase your confidence as a beginner. Instead of aligning yourself with other beginners, opt to partner or group up with cyclists who are more advanced than you are, and who are willing to show you the ropes. Check out cycling groups in your area; you will surely be surprised at how welcoming this community can be.
Take a few lessons: If you're really nervous about your first few rides, it can be extremely helpful to sign up for a few lessons with a professional rider or a cycling club. During these lessons, you will learn the basics of riding as well as road safety, like changing a flat tire and watching for traffic, which will usually get you to a better place of confidence and courage.
Make a plan: Having a specific occasion or date to work toward will certainly motivate you to overcome your initial fears of getting on the road to practise. Set a goal for yourself by signing up for a charity ride or planning a special bike tour, a longer scenic journey or a fun destination ride with your group .
Before you know it, you'll be calling yourself a cyclist without batting an eye ... because that's exactly what you'll be. If you are living in the Vancouver area, read up on the 2017 biking events to sign up for now.