Cycling is growing. Many of you are heading out and getting yourself a brand new bike. For the most of you starting of your cycling adventure won’t be easy. Here’s a list of cycling tips for beginners that will get you started on a good note.
These cycling tips will cover everything right from buying a bicycle, to getting a bike fit done, choosing the right apparel, basic bicycle maintenance, Nutrition, techniques, Road safety, recovery and much more.
Whether you are into mountain biking, road cycling or city commute, this article will surely enlighten you with 101 cycling tips for beginners.
So without any further adeu, let’s go through the 101 cycling tips for beginners:-
Buying a bicycle:
Cycling tips don’t start when you get on the bike, they start right from the moment you are planning to buy a new bicycle.
- Budget- First things first. You are free to dream about the bicycle you saw your favourite Tour de France rider ride over a steep hill and win KOM. But let’s leave it there, in our dreams. It won’t break, cost a fortune or won’t require maintenance. You will only win classics and grand tours. On the other hand, a budget will help you decide the type of bicycle you can afford to buy. It will also let you filter down to the type of bicycle.
- Purpose: Everyone has a purpose to buy a bicycle. Either fitness, commute, racing or long distance. Figure out the purpose and stick to it no matter what temptations.
- Type of bike: Now that you have already decided your budget and purpose, you will be in a much better position to shortlist a bicycle. Go ahead and figure out whether your budget lets you buy a road, hybrid or an MTB.
- Test Ride- While many of you might consider buying a bicycle online. However, before you get one consider going for a test ride. So head to the local bicycle store and try it out yourself before buying.
Read the complete cycling tips for beginners article on how to buy a bicycle.
5. Frame Size:
Figured out your budget, purpose and the type of bike, now choose the right frame size. Consider the type of bike you are willing to buy and then consider your height and body shape. Keep in mind, you’re looking at comfort. If you are buying a bicycle online, this is very imported as you won’t be able to try the product.
Refer to the frame size here.
6. Bike fit:
Now that you have chosen the right frame, get a proper bike fit done for yourself. While some of us have long legs, short torso or small hands, we usually struggle. Some of us pedal a little differently, some find it hard to reach the brake leavers and much more. Failing to get a bike fit can also lead to a series of injuries.
In such cases, a bike fit will help
- Prevent injuries
- Improve overall performance on the bike
- Enhance overall comfort of the rider
- Reducing rider fatigue by enhancing efficiency
Cycling tips for beginners for buying the best cycle accessorises:-
Before you head out, you will be required to buy some of the best cycling accessorises. The most important ones are are listed here.
7. Cycling jersey:
Wearing the right clothing will not only make you feel comfortable but it will also make you look serious. Consider investing in a good cycling jersey. These jerseys come with pockets that let you store your money, nutrition and other valuable safely. Besides, the material used in cycling clothing comes with moisture wicking property that keeps you dry.
8. Padded shorts:
One of the most important cycling tips for beginners are padded shorts. If you’re going to spend endless hours on the saddle, a good padded shorts is a must. It will keep you comfortable and reduce spanking.
So go head and buy the best you can afford.
Also, read our benefits of wearing padded shorts.
There are a variety of helmets available in the market. Take a look at some of the popular types of helmets here. A good helmet will provide protection to your brain, head and face in times of a fall or accidents.
Hence, buy a good quality helmet, it will make a big difference in the long run.
You don’t need to buy the most expensive helmet. After all, they meet the same safety standards.
Read our list of importance of wearing a helmet.
10. Cycling glasses:
Most of you might assume that cycling glasses is certainly not that important. But let us tell you, these glasses play an important part as much as your cycling jersey, tights or any other accessories.
11. Cycling gloves:
When you fall, before your head hits the ground, your hands are likely to come in the way. This is when there are higher chances of you getting them scrapped against the floor. Invest in a good pair of cycling gloves. Go for those that come with a small towel that let you rub the sweat below your nose and offer a good grip.
12. Allen Key:
Get yourself a good Allen key set. Most of the keys will help you get most of the job done. Saddle height, brake tightening, gear tweaking can all be done with the help of a good Allen key set. Go for those that come in an L-shaped, they offer more room and get the job done.
Now that we’ve made you happy, it’s time to make your bike happy too.
13. Good lubricant(oil):
Let’s accept, you are going to be on your bike for long hours and the constant pedalling is going to cause your chain to wear and tear. Using a good lubricant will not only make your ride smooth but also reduce the wear and tear, and increase the life span of your chain.
Also, don’t forget to clean your chain regualry. This will only boost your ride quality.
14. Tyre pressure:
This is one of the most important things that needs to be checked regularly and maintained as well. Tyre pressure for every type of bike will be indicated not he sidewall. So ensure to invest in a good floor pump, they will make your life easy. Go for those that come with a pressure gauge.
Failing to maintain an optimum tyre pressure will drastically increase your chances of getting a flat.
15. Clean your bike:
Just like you, your bike needs a bath too!
Hot water and a sponge should do the trick for you bike. However, to clean your drive train (chain, cassette, crankset, etc.) ensure to use a good degreaser. This will help you get ride of mud and grime.
16. Puncture kit:
With a puncture kit (tyre levers, patches or new inner tube, and pump) should always be on you. Whether a short or long ride, punctures come without a warning and take you by surprise when you least expect them.
17. Learn how to fix a puncture:
You know how to ride a bike but ever wondered what will happen if you get a flat in the middle of no where?
An important cycling tip for beginners is to learn how to fix a flat. Don’t wait for that moment to happen, be prepared.
Trust us, you will thank as later.
Bicycle road safety cycling tips for beginners:
18. Be safe:
When you are riding, ensure to stick to the left of the road and follow traffic rules. Also, never ever forget to head out without a helmet.
19. Be Seen:
While riding at night or early mornings, light can be an issue. Get a reflective vest that will let you be seen by others.
Tail light and headlight:
Get this clear, there are two types of lights that are available
- That let you see
- Others that let you be seen
Get yourself a bright taillight that lets you be seen by others from far. Install it once at leave it to let it do its job.
Good headlight is another must that you would want to invest once you find yourself riding on dark patches. They will help you spot any danger ahead and keep you prepared.
21. Hand gestures:
As bicycle lack indictors, get used to hand gestures. Simple and easy hand gestures will help you communicate with your fellow cyclists as well as the cars and motor bikers.
Besides, you can always come up with your own cycling hand gestures to add some fun to your ride. However, make sure they are simple and are easily understood by others.
Food and nutrition: cycling tips for beginners
Now that we’ve taken care of getting you the right bike, maintenance and road safety tips, let’s move on to keep your nutrition level at optimum. While you surely can go and invest in some expensive nutrition products, eating simple food is a great way to start.
But before eating, ensure to get good sleep.
To perform good, you not only need to eat well but also get quality sleep. Getting good sleep will help your body to recover and perform well the next days.
Failing to get good sleep will increase your levels of stress and affect your performance.
23. Eat a Good breakfast:
Before you hit the road, consider having the “breakfast of champions”.
So begin your day with a kickass breakfast that will provide your body the necessary energy and nutritionist to power you through your ride. If you want to train and become a pro, eating a good breakfast should be the first thing on your to do.
Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, pan cakes, smoothies are some favourite breakfast dishes to start your day. Here are 6 of our favourite breakfast ideas. Check them out.
A common mistake made beginner cyclist is failing to eat on the bike. As a result, they run out of fuel and eventually Bonk. One you get there, there is no way you are getting back!
Carry bananas, energy gels or cereal bars and consume them before you feel hungry.
Just like eating on the go, hydration is equally important. So don’t forget to hydrate too! Carry one bottle with water and another one with electoral. Sip when you are thirsty and sip some electoral to avoid the cramping.
If you only have one bottle holder, get a hydration backpack or else, you can always refill on the way.
One of the common problems cyclists face is cramping. When you ride harder and longer than you are used to and don’t hydrate well, you’re likely to cramp.
This is because your body sweats and you lose electrolytes that needs to be replaced. So if you are following step no 25, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Safety Cycling Tips for beginners-
27. If you’re going cycling alone, ensure to keep your loved ones informed. Let them know the route and what time you will be expected back home.
28. Stick to the right or left of the road (according to your city traffic rules). Make sure not to go to extreme and avoid the gutters.
29. Cornering: While cornering, make sure your outside pedal is at its lowest position. Apply pressure on the pedal, this will help you get a grip, especially in wet conditions.
30. Be cautions on the gravel:
Be careful when you ride over gravel.You will find patches scattered across everywhere. This gravel could be a big problem if you are on a road bike. If you are going to corner or brake, the loose gravel will slide over the road and could be a problem. In such cases, slow down before hand and use both your brakes to maintain equilibrium.
31. Learn the art of riding in a group:
When you look at a pack of cyclists riding together closely, it looks really easy, doesn’t it?
But ever tried being a part of it, it will be way difficult than you might have imagined. Start riding in a group. If you are not confident enough, stay at the back of the pack. If you happen to go ahead, ride with confidence.
Just don’t make any sudden movements or brake unexpectedly.
Keep an eye out for hand signals and warn your fellow riders of any obstacles.
Some cycling tips techniques for beginners-
32. Cross -chaining gears:
Cross-chaining is when you’re in the largest chain ring in the front (crank) and smallest chain ring, smallest cog (rear). This will cause your chain to come in an angle which your bike doesn’t like.
33. Cadence is the key:
Often, beginners always ride on higher ratios assuming they will ride at a higher speed. However, riding on higher gears is tough and they get tired soon. In such cases, painting a regular cadence, around 70–90 revolutions per minute will be helpful.
Try to find a comfortable gear and work on maintaining your cadence. Also, try to anticipate big hills by shifting into a low (easy) gear just before you need it.
When it comes to braking, always remember, the front brake is far more effective than the rear brake. So try to use both the brakes together and maintain an equilibrium (60/40 or 70/30 ratio). However, don’t go too hard as modern bikes come with powerful brakes.
35. Switch to clip in pedals:
For starters, it might seem pretty daunting but trust us, you won’t regret it. With clip in pedals, you will surprised at the improvement you will see. Whether cycling on flats or uphill, you will be way better than before.
We advice you to anticipate having to unclip and to do it early! Also, get into the habit of unclipping with the same foot first.
Following the above five cycling tips techniques will surely make you a better rider.
36. Join a local WhatsApp group:
With apps like Whatsapp, you can join cycling groups that post rides regularly and head out together to ride. Ride with them and make new friends. This will help you stay motivated and get fit. There are also plenty of Facebook groups that you can consider joining.
Love what we write? Join our community here.
37. Download a cycling app:
Consider recording your rides and learn from them. Download an app like Strava, MapMyRide or Endomondo. With these apps, you can record your ride, train and improve your game on the bike. Here are our favourites.
38. Wave at other riders:
Whenever you head outside, acknowledge other riders. Enjoy the ride, have fun, stop for a cup of cutting chai, and ride back home.
Tips for cycling uphill
39. Cycle uphill
When you start cycling uphill, don’t go too hard early on. Ensure you continue to pedal over to the top of the climb. Make it a point to break the climb into parts and then tame it one at a time. Use your gears smartly, breathe and pedal.
No matter how much you trust your bike, you simply can’t trust the circumstances. Hence, always carry enough cash to get you home in case you have a major mechanical problem.
41. Switch to a lower gear:
Your first reaction when you are about to climb is to shift into a smaller gear and maintain your RPM. The idea here is to try and hold a steady pace and then gradually increase your effort level.
A good way to hold a steady speed is by staying in the saddle.
42. Breathe and pedal:
Accept one fact, you are not going to beat two things while cycling
2. Steep climbs
The only way you can get out is by playing it smartly. Shift on to a lower gear, keep breathing and pedalling. Failing to do any of these three things can get you in trouble.
43. Stay focussed:
A common mistake made by beginner cyclist is that they tend to lose focus while climbing. This usually happens because they can’t see the hill top. As a result, they forget to breathe and eventually their cadence drops. So stay focussed throughout, breathe and maintain your cadence.
44. Fight the tendency to shift gears:
As the climb steepens, beginner cyclist have a tendency to shift gears. This will reduce your speed to a crawl and leave you behind.
Do keep in mind that your heart rate is only going to rise. Lactic build up will creep in as well.
SoIn such situations, remember to breathe deep and pedal on a gear that you are comfortable. As you ride further and your speed drops with lactic acid build up, slide back in the saddle and leverage more force from your glutes and quads.
Standing up and pedalling should be your last resort!
45. Climb it in your head:
Climbing is not just won physically, it is won mentally as well. While they might certainly look intimidating, it’s often tempting to just get off and not try them at all.
To start off, drop to the easiest gear and go, you’ll surprise yourself how far you get. Trust us, once you are done, the feeling of accomplishment is exhilarating.
46. Is there a right gear?
Honestly, the answer is a flat no. The only way to ace it is with experience.
Experience is the best teacher that will helps you find the right gear when climbing. Remember, everyone is different and which gear you find best for climbing will also depend on lots of factors like the steepness and length of the climb. Even the bike you are riding, how strong your are mentally and physically and even the weather and how are are feeling at the moment.
47. Stand or sit?
If you are new to cycling, we advice you drop to a easy gear, stay seated and pedal up the hill.
If the hill is short and steep, a good way to tackle it is by getting out of the saddle and pedalling. But when it comes to long climbs, it’s better to be seated, drop to an easy gear and ride all the way up.
You can watch this video by GCN who did at test at the University of Bath.
Cycling tips for beginners lose weight:
Maybe you find the gym boring or find running hard.
Cycling is here to your rescue. This sport alone can do much more than just keep you fit and boost metabolism. Regular cycling will surely help you lose weight.
But before that, remember, cycling alone will not do the trick. You need to keep an eye on what you eat.
48. Start with your diet:
If you want to boost your performance on a the bike, cut down the junk food.
Because buying a carbon fibre bike is going to cost you a fortune. It’s wise to start by trimming yourself instead of trimming your wallet.
49. Ride regularly, Ride more:
The idea here is to spend more time on the bike rather than sitting at home in front of your TV and munching of unhealthy, oily snacks.
More time cycling = more calories burnt
50. Eat carbs and lose fat:
Consider eating more amount of carbs. The Indian diet is already rich in carbs. What you need to do is add some protein to it. Follow the 4:3 ratio of carbs to protein. This will help you lose weight.
You don’t have to substitute what you are eating right now. Start by making small changes to your diet.
51. Cross train in the gym:
Cross training is another good way to get fit and lose some weight. You don’t need to go everyday. Thrice a week is good enough. The idea here is to burn fat and not lose muscle. Muscle is what will help you burn more calories.
Don’t forget to work on your upper body as well.
52. Weekly long and easy rides:
Another cycling tip to lose weight is to ride longer distance at an easy pace. Long rides more than 5 hours burn more calories and build endurance.
So why not?
53. Recover like a pro:
Not eat is starving. It won’t help you lose weight. Once you’re back from your ride, consume more of protein and carbs. This will help your muscles to recover.
54. High intensity interval training:
HIIT also known as high intensity interval training workout can help you slim down. But such workouts need to be set up correctly for you to execute.
So what is interval training?
Intervals are basically short periods of burst. When you do intervals, you cycle alternate short periods of hard work with short periods of easier work. The cycle of work/rest is repeated several times in the course of an interval workout.
A sample workout looks like this:
Warm up: 10 minutes
2 minutes @ 85–90% of max heart rate (working very hard)
3 minutes @ 60% of max heart rate (light workload)
2 minutes @ 85–90% of max heart rate
3 minutes @ 60% of max heart rate
2 minutes @ 85–90% of max heart rate
3 minutes @ 60% of max heart rate
2 minutes @ 85–90% of max heart rate
3 minutes @ 60% of max heart rate
2 minutes @ 85–90% of max heart rate
3 minutes @ 60% of max heart rate
Total: 25 minutes
Cool down: 10 minutes
Total workout time: 45 minutes
Cycling tips techniques for beginners:
55. Keep your upper body relaxed:
Looking where you are going is pretty obvious. Isn’t this taught to you from the moment you start to learn how to ride a bike?
Riding with tension in your upper body will leave you with a few aches and pains that are unnecessary. It also could cause you to handle your bike less efficiently.
So keep your upper body loose, it will allow your bike to respond just the right amount to stones, gravel, or wind.
56. Focus on push phase:
A good way to increase your power is to start pushing the pedal forward before it reaches the top of 12 o’clock.
Next time when you push the pedal at 1 o’clock, try pushing it from 10.
57. Riding with one hand:
There will be times when you might want to remove something from your back pocket or just remove the bottle from the cage to drink up. In such cases, you will be riding with one hand.
Ensure you grip the bar on top right next to the stem. If your hand is farther out (such as on the brake-lever hood), the bike is more likely to move dangerously should the front wheel hit a rock, bump, or pothole.
So keep your eyes open and follow this tip.
Monsoon cycling tips for beginners:
57. Invest in a good wet lube:
Monsoon is the time of the year and everything is going to be wet. This includes the terrain, you and the bike. While you can’t do anything about the terrain, you can certainly wear something for to protect yourself and the bike.
When it comes to the bike a good wet lube is a great way to start. This lube will keep your chain, nuts and other parts safe from the rain and ensure optimum functioning.
58. Reduce tyre pressure:
While there is certainly going to be less friction between the tyre and the road, reducing the pressure by 10- 20 psi will make all the difference.
Dropping the tyre pressure will increase the surface area and offer more grip. Read more about this here.
59. Get good mudguards:
To avoid the splatter of dirt and muck on your back consider getting a pair of decent mud-gaurds. They will definitely help you reduce the amount of dirt being thrown on your face from the front wheel and back from the rear wheel.
60. Check the weather:
Before you head out in the rain, check the weather. If the weather is going to get ugly, consider staying indoors or wait till it settles. Do a few sessions on a home trainer instead.
61.Brake before you break:
During monsoon, bicycle brakes function 30% less effectively due to wet rims and brake pads. If you want to stop, consider using them way before. Also, a good idea is to use them together (60–40 or 70–30 ratio). This will maintain equilibrium and aid in stopping.
62. Carry spare tubes and not puncture kits:
When it’s raining, there is not way you will have the time or patience to spot and fix a puncture. To make the process faster, consider carrying a spare tube. All you have to do now is remove the existing tube, check the tyre for any wear and tear or sharp object stuck and then simply replace.
63: Stuff newspaper in your shoes:
Done with a long dirty ride in the rain?
Stuff your cycling shoes with newspapers and leave them out to dry. The newspaper will soak all the water and aid in quick drying from within. Make sure to change them after every few hours to ensure quick drying.
64. Wash your bike:
While your body cools down, give your bike a little wash. As you’ve just returned back from a ride, your bike is likely to be covered in grime, muck and what not. Splash it with some water and wipe it dry before you store in the house.
Important stretches — cycling tips for beginners
Every cyclist must get into the habit of stretching. Regular stretching will protect you from injuries. It will also keep you flexible and dissipate tension.
1. Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead
2. Step forward with your right leg and bend your knee
3. Let your left foot be firmly grounded on the ground behind
4. Keep your upper body straight
5. Drop your upper body forward until you feel the stretch in your calf
6. Hold for 10–15 seconds and repeat the same with your left leg
- Stand straight and reach back with your right hand and grab your right foot at the top of the ankle
- Pull it upwards
- Hold for 10–15 seconds
- Repeat with right leg