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Health, Lifestyle

How to start cycling

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start cycling
Of course, you could still tuck your trousers into your socks and climb on board your trusty old two-wheeler, but a lot has changed recently. Cycling has come of age!

There was a time when bikes fell into two basic categories. There was the racer, which had a few gears and bendy handlebars. Then there was the sit up and beg. This was the go-to-school or work bike. It was heavy, it had maybe three gears, but it got you moving.

How times have changed!

These days we cycle as much as a lifestyle and health statement as a necessity. It’s fun, it’s good for us, and the technology supporting cycling has come on a really long way. Those heavy, steel frames and dodgy brakes, are now a thing of the past.

Here at PositivityGuides we support anything that gets us up and moving. It’s good for physical and mental health and you don’t need to break the bank to get seriously involved.

 

The bikes

There’s endless choice and the best way is to go to an outlet and talk to someone who knows what they are about.

You’ll need a cycle that’s correctly adjusted to your size and you’ll need the right kit with you both in order to cope with unforseen situations, and to make your cycle rides more enjoyable.

You’ll need to consider whether you want an all-round cycle, or a roadster, or a track bike. Will you be using it daily or at weekends when you go off road?

Some of the best all-round bikes are:

Women’s Marin San Anselmo 1

women's cycle
This is a dual sport hybrid with a lightweight aluminium frame, suspension fork, and multi-surface tyres.

It has a lightweight aluminium sport frame, 21 Shimano gears and disc brakes. It doesn’t bog you down with fat tyres when using it on the road. 

 

Men’s Carrera Crossfire 2

This all-rounder is designed for comfortable riding around towns and parks. Gearing is provided by 8 speed Shimano Tourney TX800 componentry with 24 gears and adds reliable shifting across all terrains.

The Crossfire has mechanical disc brakes. These are low maintenance, easy to maintain when you need to and provide controlled stopping in wet weather conditions.

 

Kid’s Frog 73

This great value all-aluminium bike has a high quality frame, adjustable Tektro brakes, 8-speed Shimano thumb shifters, Shimano cassette hub, 26″ wheels and easily adjusted saddle height. Suitable for minimum inside leg of 73cm (around 12-14 years old).

Comes with 2 sets of Kenda tyres: a hybrid tyre and a more knobbly off-road tyre. Comes with a bell, reflectors and mudguards as standard.

 

The ride

Experienced cyclists know to check a few things out before they jump on their bike and go. As fun and free as this sounds your positive mood could quickly hit a slump if you don’t take some precautions. For example:

  • a cycle pump and puncture repair kit.
  • weather appropriate kit (sunscreen in the heat, waterproofs, etc)
  • a water bottle. You really will need to stay hydrated even in cold conditions.
  • energy snack. If you’re a beginner, and your route is around 10-15 miles, take a banana or an energy snack. 
  • stop. If you’re not used to riding, don’t overdo it. After a few miles, get off the bike, stretch your legs and rest for a few minutes. Take a drink if necessary. Remember, if you’re riding up hills, or pushing against the wind, your energy levels will deplete far more quickly than a flat run on a still day.
  • gears are on bikes for a reason. Use them to their best advantage and don’t struggle needlessly.
  • if you haven’t been out on a bike for some time, it might be worth getting in some practice on an exercise cycle at the gym.
  • stay safe. Use a helmet, take care on the roads and don’t forget to signal, even if you’re swerving to avoid potholes in the road.

The Gear

 

A high vis jacket is safe and sensible. These can be purchased at very low cost but for just a little more it’s possible to grab something with some shape. 

Our example is the WOSAWE cycle vest. It’s lightweight, breathable, water resistant, and has a zipper pocket in the back to put a few of your bits and bobs.

And yes, it’s very high vis – but that’s the point.

 

Cycle helmets have become a fashion statement in their own right. There’s quite a variety to choose from and once you get into double figures you’ll find one that’s safe and comfortable.

We suggest you go and try a few on until you get the one that feels good. Some have quick release functions that can come in handy. You need a comfortable chin strap and good padding beneath the helmet. The victgoal helmet in our image is for men & women, and comes with a detachable visor.

 

Gel gloves, like the fingerless type shown here, are a really useful accessory. After a few miles of riding the pressure on the palms of the hands starts to build.

Before too long your hands become sore and it’s tempting to release your grip with one or both hands and attempt steering with the fingertips. This isn’t a good idea, especially when dodging the traffic on busy roads.

Grab a pair of gel gloves. They aren’t expensive and you’ll soon feel the benefit.

Oh! Don’t forget your smartphone, take some spare cash (you never know) and go and enjoy yourself!

 
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