Summer is a great time to start cycling. Here are some easy steps to getting back on a bike and re-discovering the pleasure of cycling.
Step 1. Dust off the old bike and give it a once-over
You’ll be amazed that often all the bike needs is its tyres pumped up and some oil on the chain and you can get going.
The key is to check that the bike is safe.
- The wheels, handlebars and saddle are secure and in the best position.
- The wheels go round without restriction.
- The frame has no cracks and the moving parts aren’t totally rusted up.
- The most important thing is to make sure the brakes are working.
If in any doubt there are numerous good bike shops around. Friends will often point you to the good ones. A service is a good investment. Costs start at £30 or so but then you can get an idea of what needs looking at.
Step 2. Haven’t got a bike?
You don’t have to buy top of the range to have a good bike but it’s worth choosing something that you’ll want to ride over and over again. There are different styles for different uses, including:
- Town commuting bikes – robust and no-nonsense, sitting up position, fewer gears, low maintenance.
- Road bikes – lightweight with gears, often drop handlebars, narrow wheels for speed but not best off-road.
- Mountain bikes – wider wheels and knobbly tyres for rougher terrain but more effort on-road. Usually have gears and often suspension, which adds weight to the bike.
- Hybrid bikes – a combination of road and MTB with tyres not too wide or narrow. Enables cycling on roads, on cycle paths and in less demanding off-road conditions.
Step 3. Start easy
It’s true you never forget how to ride a bike, but take it gently and get used to riding in quiet and traffic-free areas first. Start with shorter journeys so your muscles (and especially your posterior) can get used to the new activity.
Any age, style, and bike is great. A bike can make every cyclist look graceful.
If you’re new to cycling or nervous about venturing out, there’s help and training out there and even on-line videos. Or you can join one of our groups and courses to help beginners.
The best method I know is the scoot first method which works for kids and adults alike. By lifting your feet up while scooting a bike, you learn balance naturally and then pedalling is easy after that.
Step 4. Get out there
Discover all the great routes around where you live. There’s an extensive list compiled by Cycling UK called Cycle a-way. You can also get maps from your local council. Or, of course, just go out and explore. The beauty of a bike is that you can get just about anywhere on it. It’s always worth having a rain jacket, drink and snack, and a basic bike tool kit.
If you keep your bike somewhere easy to get to, you will get it out more often.
First posted at http://womentime.co.uk/getcycling/