10 Tips to Novice Bikers from a Biking Enthusiast Who's Seen It All

So your friends are all talking about biking and you're ready to give this a shot. Sweet!

But where to begin?

How to downplay the fear factor? And is the wearing of super-tight bike shorts legally enforced?

Here's a few tips from our team -  though most of us have been biking awhile, we all still remember the qualms of setting foot to pedal for the first time.

1- Start on the weekends (commuting comes later)

"LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL"
 

Why make life difficult? Knowing you’ve got to work at the other end is stressful enough. Do your first few cycle rides on the weekend when you’ve got all the time in the world and no need to worry about a shower. 

2- Go with a friend

Tandem bicycle

 

Ideally that friend is thrilled to introduce you to the joys of biking, and knows a good route for newbies. Let them do the navigating, while you concentrate on remembering how to pedal. They'll be psyched for the company, and you get a human GPS.

3- Try out different bikes 

When getting into biking, one of the most important questions to answer is - what do you plan to do on your bike? Commute in cities? Ride on dirt trails? Career down mountains? Join a hard-core team of road-racers? Whatever activity you're going to do the most, there's a bike that's most optimized for it.

At this point, you probably don't know - so try all the activities! See what floats your boat.

Once you’ve secured your bicycle’s main purpose, it's time to look for the "right bike." Borrow your friends’ bicycles. If your city has a bike-share scheme, use it. Check out local rental places and borrow a different one each time. Take advantage of test rides at bike shops.

Above all, be open-minded; try road and mountain bikes, Dutch-styles and hybrids. Hell, hop on a recumbent and a unicycle. Decide which works best for you and your lifestyle.

4- Stick to cycle paths and parks

Riding A Good Outline

 

Hopping onto a road with traffic and no bike lanes can be intimidating, to say the least. Don't hop on too early and get turned off from the lifestyle entirely.

Since you’re only riding on weekends to start, you won’t be in a rush anyway!

5- Don't be afraid to rest 

E asleep in the Wee Ride

 

"It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster." - Cycling legend Greg LeMond

Cycling is hard work, whether you're a beginner or Mr. Triathalon. Taking breaks makes it more bearable, and less likely to put you off for life. It should be enjoyable, not traumatic.

6- Learn (at least some of) the road laws

 

The Highway Code

 

Can you ride on the pavement? How much space should cars give you when overtaking? What exactly does that sign mean? Especially if you’re not a driver, it’s important to know the basic rules of the road, for the safety of yourself and others. You can buy books of local road laws, but a lot of helpful info is also available online.

7- Take layers of clothing

This one cuts both ways.

Once you're biking, you get hot quickly. So don't hop on the bike wearing too much. But at night, it gets cold quickly.

Bring layers, my friend.

If you don’t have a bike rack or proper bag, give your additional clothing to your cycling partner. If they don't carry it, find a new cycle partner who truly loves you.

8- Push yourself

Uphill Battle

 

If you’re just moseying about on a Sunday, it’s easy to forget that cycling is exercise. Once you’re comfortable in the saddle, hike up those gears! Get that blood pumping! Feel the adrenalin!

Successful workouts give you a real high that will only make you fall deeper in love with the sport.

9- . . . but not too hard

STB_3064

 

Perhaps the best part of cycling is that it doesn’t feel like exercise, even though it is. If you’re put off by sweat, take it slowly. Cycling should be something you’ll want to do again and again, so don’t burn yourself out too early.

Build muscles in the right places, and pick up the pace when you're good and ready.

10- Reward with food and/or booze

You’ve done something new. You’ve pushed yourself. You’ve explored a new part of your city. 

Time to congratulate yourself, my friend! 

Lock your bike outside the nearest bar or burger joint and enjoy some guilt-free munching. You earned this one, hombre.