Cycling is terrifying. Bikes are fast and your feet are attached. There’s actual mechanical things to learn. Bike snobs exist. It’s a bewildering place! For any other newbies who are thinking of taking up cycling, I have asked some of my favourite cycling and ironman babes for their top tips for newbie cyclists. Enjoy!
Abi Williams – double Ironwoman, who can be found on instagram and twitter @afloralcrown and her blog, also called A Floral Crown (she also takes lovely photos).
Good kit. I think it’s worth investing in some nice pieces – it doesn’t have to be expensive, but nice kit can make a huge difference to the comfort of your riding when you’re starting out. My first winter I wore the wrong kit and was fairly miserable. But when you have good kit, that you feel comfortable in, and does the job, it makes cycling a lot more pleasurable. Key pieces that will lash are worth the investment, but you don’t need to spend a huge amount on them. Layering is also a good tip. And if you’re doing a long ride – little and often eating. Works for me, but I guess everyone is different!
Sarah Marsden – Ironwoman in training who can be found on twitter at @intrepidsarah and who blogs at Goldilocks Running.
I’d say it’d be to make sure your bike is set up right for you- that the gearing is right for the terrain you’ll be cycling on, the saddle is comfy and you’re in a comfy position to reach the handlebars and brakes. I’m a firm believer being comfy on the bike makes you more confident and in turn enjoy it more! Usually a local bike shop can advise on gearing and do a bike fit for you, where they measure you up and get you in a comfy riding position, like the right saddle height. Makes a world of difference!
I also asked Sarah about looking after your lady areas…
Saddle choice helps, especially ones with a slot cut out to relieve pressure where you don’t want it. Shorts choice is very personal, but I like Chapeau, and DHB at Wiggle have a lot of choice of bib vs no bib, different lengths etc. It’s worth trying some chamois cream as well!
And Cathy Drew, who can be found on twitter @cathydrewbies and who blogs at Runs like a Dog.
I’d say to beginner cyclists to pick your battles. Cycling can be rough in bad weather, and it can be hard to stay motivated if you’re cold, wet and tackling hills. Choose nice days to go out, pick routes with plenty of variety and not too many bumps (a few though, obviously!). There’ll be plenty of time for rides in the rain once you can’t stay away from your bike at the weekend!
What are your top tips for new cyclists?