Cycling is a great way to get in shape, but it’s not as easy as it looks. It requires endurance, strength, balance, and concentration. It also requires a ton of energy considering it’s an incredibly demanding sport. As an example, a one-hundred-and-forty-pound cyclist can burn around six hundred calories an hour pedaling at fourteen miles per hour.
While running can burn just as many calories, with cycling you have to deal with more safety hazards such as oncoming traffic, plus you need fast reflexes and a higher endurance.
These cycling tips for beginners will discuss how you can commute to and from work safely, as you handle traffic, navigate around potholes, and handle any obstacle that comes your way.
The fact that you should always wear a helmet should be a no-brainer, but not every state requires cyclists to wear one. But wearing a helmet can be the most effective way to stay safe during a long commute. Elbow and knee pads are totally optional, and you’ll find that not many cyclists use them, but if you’re new to long distance commutes, this extra gear can also keep you safe as you learn how to navigate the roads like a pro.
Make sure you always wrap your thumbs if you ride with your hands placed on the of the handlebars. This can really save your thumbs from a serious break in the event of an accident.
Choosing the Right Bike Size
The size of the bike frame can really matter, and it will go a long way toward cycling comfort. Finding the right size bike can help you to avoid painful leg and back injuries and it can also improve your cycling performance. Once you choose the right frame and wheel size, make sure you adjust the handlebar height and the saddle height in order to avoid strains.
Always Be Prepared
Out on the road, you can encounter a number of obstacles and hazards. You might hit a pothole or ride over nails or broken glass. When you’re riding in a more secluded area, it’s more important than ever to bring along equipment so you can easily make any necessary bike repairs, should you get a flat, fix your bike brake or end up bending a rim. Always bring a bike repair kit with you, wherever you go. This can include a patch kit, and a handpump and a few tools. If possible, practice fixing a flat at home before you begin commuting to and from work.
Safety in Numbers
If you haven’t ridden a bike in years and it almost feels like you have to relearn how to do it, you’re not alone. Many people decide to take up cycling again because it’s great for the environment, it’s a more affordable way to commute to work, and it can help you lose weight fast. But after ten or twenty years off the saddle, you’ll find that you need to brush up on your balance and coordination.
So, in the beginning, ride with a partner. Especially if you plan on riding on busy city streets. A group of cycling friends can help teach you the ropes, so you can learn how to safely ride with traffic, how to signal turns, and show you some safer routes you can take.
Getting in Shape
If you’ve decided to take up cycling again to get in shape, make your rides more challenging. Bring along a chest strap heart rate monitor and shoot for your target heart rate. While it’s probably not possible to ride in your target heart rate for long, in the beginning, it’s definitely a goal to shoot for.
If burning a ton of calories per ride is another goal, make sure you choose a route with hilly, challenging terrain so you can get the most out of each ride.
Wear the Right Clothes
You don’t have to throw on the spandex cycling gear you see a lot of pros wearing but wearing tight-fitting clothes can keep you safe and during a long commute. Baggy pant legs can get caught in the pedals, which can lead to a crash.
Additionally, choose clothing that’s made out of moisture wicking material. Cotton is the absolute worst choice. Moisture-wicking material will keep you cool and dry for the duration of your ride.
Advanced Cycling Tips
Pedaling efficiently can have a major impact on your calorie burn and speed. Make sure you pedal with flat feet. Many beginner cyclists pedal with their heels down, while others will pedal with their toes pointed upward.
Pedaling with flat feet will help to increase your pedaling power, for smoother, more efficient strokes. Focusing on the push phase of pedal revolution can also ensure you’re getting the most power per stroke.
Learn how to use your gears efficiently, and make sure you switch them before you ride up a hill in order to avoid damage to your gear system.
When you’re riding, try to relax. Keep your shoulders, hands, and elbows slightly relaxed, with your head up. If you’re tense during a ride you’ll put your body through undue stress that will leave you sore afterward.
In the beginning, be sure to pace yourself. In fact, try to keep track of your mileage per day so you can continue to challenge yourself in the future. You can use great apps that feature a variety of safe biking paths and routes, so you can enjoy some variety in your cycling.
If you’re trying to lose weight, set up a mileage goal for the week and stick to it. Unless of course you’re feeling sore or you need to take a rest day to baby an injury. Injuries can occur from overuse, so stick to a lower mileage goal for the first two months of cycling. If you’re new to cycling but you want to commute via bike to and from work, if it’s a long ride, consider taking the bus halfway there and cycle the rest of the way. Remember, pacing yourself and not pushing your body past its limit is also an important part of cycling safety.