Over the past few years, cycling has become an incredibly popular sport and social past time. Not only is it a great way to stay fit, but it’s an excellent hobby as well. If you want to get into cycling, where do you even begin?
There is a range of different cycling types, though they boil down the BMXs, mountain bikes, and road bikes. Each of these is used for different purposes and the first step is figuring out when kind of cyclist you want to be. Do you just want to ride on roads and take part in events like the Cape Argus? What about pulling off tricks and grinding rails? How about riding through scenic mountain paths and riding down steep hills?
Once that is sorted, it’s time to do a bit more research into the cycling scene. Here are a few tips to follow to start cycling as a hobby.
Visit your local cycling store
One of the best places to get started is to visit your local cycling shop – such as CWC Cycling – and speak to the sales assistants. They’re some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry and will be able to guide you through a range of questions. In fact, you can glean an incredible amount from them, such as advice on the type of bike you’re looking for, excellent riding courses, and information on local clubs.
Another option is to join Facebook and forum cycling groups. These places are filled with people who will be able to help you with pretty much any question you need answered, such as the best place to purchase your bike from, and who stocks the best parts.
Attend open days
Quite a few cycling clubs and outlets will hold open days for new and potential clients. These are attended by professionals and salespeople alike and their aim is to get more people into the scene. As an outsider, you’ll be able to try out some of the bikes on offer and meet other people who are just starting out.
Purchase your equipment
Of course, you’re going to need a bicycle of your own if you want to start riding. Once you’ve decided on which type is right for you, it’s time to get outside. Now, as a new rider there is no point on splashing out for the most expensive one that money can buy. These are often reserved for professionals who have been riding for years and understand the type of weights and balance that their bikes need.
For now, stick to something cheap that you can manage. You can always get something better at a later date. Cheap bikes are usually quite strong and heavy, which will allow you to put them through their paces while you figure out if you like shocks, which brakes you depend on, and your riding style.
You’re also going to need a few extras for your new hobby. It’s not enough to just have a shiny new bicycle. You’re going to need to wear protection when you ride and will need to have a helmet, gloves, knee and elbow guards, and some decent shoes (no flips flops, please). Also be sure to take along a water bottle, some snacks, and a puncture repair kit. With that, you’ll be set to head out on your first few rides.
Look at your nutrition
Many people start cycling in order to lose a bit of weight. It’s the same for almost any form of exercise. That doesn’t mean you can continue to eat cheeseburgers and drink soft drinks on a daily basis. Not only are they bad for you, but they won’t help with the energy you need when cycling long courses.
Search online or speak to a dietician about what you should and shouldn’t be eating when exercising. You’ll be able to create the ideal meal plan in order to suit your body’s needs. And the healthier your body, the sooner you’ll be riding like a pro.
Form a riding group
Once you’ve visited a store and checked out some social clubs, it might be time to either join a club or form one yourself. Much like any physical activity, it’s usually easier to stay on a schedule and train if there are other people there to support you. As a group, you’ll be able to take part in competitions, swap new things you’ve learned, and explore new riding areas.