So, you’ve decided to finally commit to getting into cycling. We’ve all been looking for ways to get out of the house and escape the events of this year for an hour or two, and getting on a bike is absolutely one of the most rewarding outdoor activities you could ask for, as well as one of the best forms of exercise.
But before you start pedaling, there are a few steps you need to take to make sure you’re prepared and a few safety tips you need to remember. Let’s help you get started.
What Do You Want From Your Bike?
When you’re looking at buying your bicycle, it’s important to think about what you’re going to use it for, and be honest with yourself. Is this an alternative to getting on a crowded bus every morning for that commute? Or will you be heading out into the wilderness for several hours of trail riding at a time? Americans are flocking to cycling like never before, but before you join the rush: knowing what you want to get out of your bike is an easy way to make sure you get it.
Head To The Bike Shop
Restrictions allowing, there is no better place to start that a bike shop. It’s not just about browsing what’s on offer, it’s about talking to the experts to make sure you find the right fit. They’ll be able to help you pick the right gear based on where you’ll be using it most frequently, they’ll make sure that you’re comfortable on it, and they’ll be able to offer services, tweaks and advice going forward. And remember, even if the shops aren’t open, you can still head online or pick up the phone. The most important thing is getting that expert advice before you buy.
Be Ready To Tweak
Buying a bicycle isn’t like buying a microwave. You won’t just set it up and never have to worry about it again. There will be several small, and some large, adjustments that you will have to make, and making them early on can save you a lot of trouble further down the line. It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable before you start riding. We’re talking about things like saddle height, not to mention the saddle itself, and handlebar reach. If you’re not comfortable on the bike, you’re going to be working twice as hard and you’re going to risk doing yourself an injury in the long run. Again, talk to the people at the bike shop if you’re not confident.
Know Your Kit
We shouldn’t have to tell you that you need to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle (although you’d be surprised at how many people don’t…), but there are some other pieces of safety and comfort equipment that are well worth investing in if you’re serious about cycling. Sports glasses don’t just cut through the glare; they also protect your eyes from all the bits and pieces that are kicked up from the road. Cycling shorts don’t just help with ventilation, their padding helps with those long bumpy rides. You might want to pick up a pair of gloves, a waterproof layer, and think carefully about what shoes you’re wearing. You should also keep a bottle of water with you.
Know Your Road Safety
It’s vitally important when you’re planning your route that you know what the rules of the road are in your area. You’re going to want to be decisive and confident, and you have as much right to be on the road as anyone else, but you should also listen to your common sense if you feel like the person in the van behind you isn’t paying attention. In case you do get knocked off your bike, or you take a tumble, it’s important to have bicycle accident insurance. Velosurance offers a range of policies that cover your bicycle wherever the damage or theft takes place.
Can You Fix A Flat?
Sounds like common sense, right? But do you know how to fix a puncture in a bicycle tire? Every cyclist has a nightmare puncture story, and a lot of cyclists will tell you about the first time they had to head to the shop because they realized they had no clue how to patch it up. You can practice at home and a puncture repair kit is easy to come by. Make sure you know how to do it, because you’re going to need to.
Join A Cycling Club
One of the big myths about cycling is that it’s not a social activity. Sure, it can be a solitary experience if you want it to be and you’re never going to be short of options if that’s what you’re looking for. But joining a cycling club is hugely rewarding and offers a wealth of opportunities, from doing group rides to helping out with equipment needs and comparing tips on great routes and trails.
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