8 Things We Wish We Knew Starting Out
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As a now-experienced cyclist, it’s quite difficult looking back and truly believing you knew what you were doing as a beginner.
In fact, delving deep enough into memories of your first set of wheels, kit and knowledge of the cycling world would likely be a cringe-worthy flashback.
There are probably a thousand things you wish you had known before saddling up the first few times. Here are our top 8!
Purchasing the right gear
Buying a decent riding kit is something that’s commonly overlooked by novice riders, however choosing quality gear (and the correct gear), is more important than you think.
Although the gear you buy in the beginning you may not have forever, it’s still crucial to ensure you’re starting out on the right foot with a primary focus on comfort and quality for those initial strides.
Waterproofing is a big deal
If you live and ride in a warm, sunny climate for most of the year, it’s easy to forget that sometimes, it rains.
Purchasing just one pair of waterproof socks and actually wearing them as you see those clouds rolling in will do absolute wonders for your comfort levels when things start to get soppy on the roads.
Don’t get caught out in wet weather without them!
Pedals, wheels and tyre types matter
Starting out with alloy wheels are by far your best bet. Compared to carbon, they’re significantly better value for money and offer higher performance in terms of gains.
Always try to opt for flat or clipless pedals as well if you plan on doing a lot of road cycling. They also offer better grip and are more suitable for this cycling form than SPD’s.
A common misconception is that narrower tyres are faster, however, tyres wider than 28mm are actually the quickest. Remember the road is rarely perfectly smooth, making running wider tyres at lower pressure ensures a lower resistance on patchy surfaces.
Properly storing your kit
Having bike parts and tools strewn from one end of the house to the other will constantly drive you nuts.
Organise and store your kit properly so you can find what you need for that particular ride, not to mention avoiding potential damage and loss due to improper care.
Invest in vacuum-sealed storage bags or a toolbox and make cycling life easier.
You need a tool collection
It’s inevitable that you’ll have a mechanical breakdown once in a while throughout your cycling experience. The important thing is actually having the tools on-hand to fix it.
In the beginning it’s easy to start out a little naïve thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’, but we can assure you, it will.
Ensure you buy what you need. It might seem expensive now, but you’ll have these forever and be glad you have them when the time comes.
The importance of crossing disciplines
Changing things up every now and then can only be a positive for your riding. Experience another discipline such as mountain biking can really get both your body and mind working differently.
Also, you might even be able to build on your confidence and appreciate the other disciplines just that little bit more!
Eating to ride and taking breaks
Never underestimate the power of both nutrition and rest and how it affects your ability to ride longer, further and happier.
Make sure you’re properly nourished and full of a decent, energy-rich diet before setting out and beating up the bitumen.
Taking breaks and knowing when to pack it in is just as equally important. Doing that one last run when you know you shouldn’t be is a recipe for disaster; injury or worse.
Be smart and play it safe!
The benefits of coaching
Looking at where it all began, not seeking out proper coaching to learn the basics could be a huge regret. The value of being professionally taught amidst the early days really does go unrecognised and is highly recommended by many pro cyclists today.
Start out the right way and get an expert to coach and educate you on the simple stuff like how to corner and also to stop bad habits in their tracks.
Winding back the clock and reflecting on the could-haves, should-haves and would-haves can be a truly amazing piece of nostalgia. It can also help you learn from past mistakes improving your riding well into the future.
Education, practise and a bit of trial and error are the keys to enhancing your overall riding abilities. Knowing what not to do is just as important as being instructed on things you should be doing to improve!
Take as many tips and as much feedback onboard as you can, stay safe and as usual, happy cycling!