Start Cycling – A Guide and Checklist

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start cycling

Start Cycling

A Guide and Checklist

by Matthew Peacock

Are you tempted to get in the saddle and give cycling a go? Do you like the idea of exploring new places by bike? Do you want to get fit and lose weight? Are you confused with where to begin? Then here are a few tips to get you started…

If you are buying a new bike or using one out of the back of your garage, then you need to make sure of a couple of things before riding.

The Bike

The chain:
Ensure the chain is clean and lubed, and that your gears work. If your gears don’t work it will make the ride harder and noisier than it should. Check out Bike Parts if you’re after a new chain, or need a spare just in case.

Can you stop?:
Do the brake pads have some life left in them and are they adjusted correctly? Good brakes will stop you faster and more safely.

Saddle up (or down):
Make sure the saddle is set at the right height. A quick rule of thumb is that when you are sat on the saddle, with the pedal at its lowest point, your leg should almost be straight.

start cyclingThe Rider

Eat and drink
It may seem obvious, but you don’t drive a car without petrol, so don’t ride a bike without the fuel you need – food or water. If you are going out all day, then look in to carrying extra food and drink with you. Keeping your energy levels up means an enjoyable ride and the ability to go faster and further.

Safety first:
Staying safe is vitally important. Helmets may not be the most fashion-friendly items but, if you do fall off, they greatly reduce the risk of head injuries – and you only get one head!

Padded shorts:
Often the subject of much amusement! The more you pay, the better the fit and comfort. The pad puts cushioning exactly where it needs to be. Whether you go for the Lycra look or something baggy is down to your style and confidence! In addition, for those who ask, you don’t wear anything under them! The idea is to remove seams that will rub.

Bright clothing:
Bright clothing is the best at making sure that people see you. In addition, don’t forget the law (and common sense!) says you must have front and rear lights on at night.

The prep

Cover a breakdown:
This usually consists of an inner tube and puncture kit, a pump, tyre levers and a small multi-tool with all the relevant tools to fit your bike. You can ride without this and just carry your mobile phone. But you don’t win many brownie points by ringing your other half to pick you up from the middle of the Dales.

Three cycling facts:

  1. Cycling burns about 600 calories an hour and a leisurely bike ride burns the same amount of calories as a brisk walk.
  2. If you cycle regularly, you can expect to be, on average, as fit as a person 10 years younger than yourself.
  3. As a non-weight bearing activity, regular cycling leads to improved muscle strength, mobility and co-ordination.
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