So you bought a bike…now let’s ride it

Tips for new cyclists to keep on cycling beyond lockdown


'Bicycles are the new toilet paper'. It seems some COVID side effects are quite positive: bike sales are going viral.


Most importantly this is happening across countries.

We can see it on our daily bike rides in Wales, there are way more people in the trails – mostly families. Not a bad side effect from a pandemic.


More families are cycling


The Guardian says new bike sales on eBay tripled last month, and sales of second-hand machines were up 23% on the same time last year.

It is great news for the biking industry but even better news for how we approach the outdoors, fitness, and personal transport.


Every second, four bikes are produced, and, every two seconds, someone buys one.


These bikes, these cyclists – sports enthusiasts and commuters, need appropriate roads, lanes, and trails to ride.


Cycling seems to have gone viral as many countries are turning to bikes at last.


According to the World Bank estimates, there are over 1 billion bicycles worldwide, and over 50% of the global population knows how to ride them.

Bike lanes, cycle paths, bike trails are essential to get more people into cycling

In the UK the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, unveiled a £2bn package “to put cycling and walking at the heart of our transport policy”.

In Australia cycling bodies have called on governments to transform roads into cycleways to ease traffic on bike paths

In Portugal there will be 3000 km of new bike lanes in the South region of the country – Alentejo.


What can we do to prevent this renewed enthusiasm for bicycles from becoming another passing fad?


Well, there are the decision-makers and the political agenda on one side and our personal choices on the other.


We have mentioned some of the decisions the UK, Australia, and Portugal are taking to expand cycling infrastructure.

Now let us look to the newcomers, the new bike owners, the new cyclists.

Tips for new cyclists to keep on cycling

Getting to know your bike is essential to take advantage of all its potential

We will expand each of these topics in future blog posts

1. GET TO KNOW YOUR MACHINE

1.1. Buying a bike in some ways is like buying shoes, you need to know:

  • your bike size;

  • which bike best suits you (road, hybrid, xc hardtail, xc full suspension, enduro, DH…) based on your cycling aims (commuting, travelling, exercise, etc.)

1.2. In some other ways is like buying a car: you need to check the tires pressure and lubricate your chain.


1.3. Bike parts get worn out - brake pads are probably the first to go. Make sure you do regular bike maintenance (find your nearest bike shop and ask for prices)


We think there are 2 main types of essential things you need to know:

  • bike techniques

  • bike set-up

2. LEARN THE ESSENTIAL BIKE TECHNIQUES

2. BIKE TECHNIQUES

Just because you know how to stay upright on a bike doesn’t mean you really know how to ride. Bike technique is how you do a movement like braking or dismounting a bike. We really think you should try to learn 5 essential bike skills. Trust us you will be safer and even faster:

2.1. Braking

Before you get caught up in getting faster, you’ll need to learn how to stop safely. Trust me it’s more complicated than grabbing one of your brake levers.

2.2 Gear shifting

Not knowing when or how to shift gears can cause you to lose momentum and possibly have to get off your bike on a climb.

2.3. Climbing

Good climbing ability is essentials hills will be almost inevitable, especially if you are mountain biking.

2.4. Descending

What goes up must come down – coming down can kick your adrenalin and be great fun but start by taking control.

2.5. Balancing and weight shift

Yes, most of us have already developed enough balance to ride a bike safely. But you will need better balance when riding in tight spaces, steep uphills, tight corners, and hairpins.


We will explain each technique in another post.

To fully enjoy your bike it needs to fit you
3. LEARN TO SET UP YOUR BIKE

3.1. Get the saddle height right

3.2. Set the angle and position of the saddle

3.3. Adjust the bar height

3.4. Adjust your tires pressure

3.5. Set the position of the brake levers


We will explore this further in another post.

Clothing

Well, it all depends of you are using your bike for commuting, exercise, travelling...There are many blogs, and websites dedicated to cycling clothes. So we added this here mainly because it is relevant to safety

Gloves

Wear them when it rains and it is cold, wear them when you go on technical off-road trails

Shoes

This depends if you are commuting, doing a more technical type of sport, and what type of pedals you have on your bike. And yes, you can wear heels, it is actually easier to ride than walk with heels.

Shorts/trousers/skirt

This is very personal. There are several options, including padded shorts and trousers, waterproofs. This depends on how far, if you are commuting, travelling, weekending… and of course the weather, always the weather...

Helmet

Yes, it is safety equipment but you should wear it especially on technical off-road trails. It is a highly disputed theme for many cyclists. But there is an interesting option out there like the collar-like device containing an airbag that activates in the event of a crash, this is especially relevant for commuters.

Be inspires and inspire others

There are many good websites, blogs (like this one), magazines, and books to get you inspired. Hit new trails, improve your commute, share your frustrations, your success, and challenges.

Why not join a cycling club, or even a bigger organisation. If you are in the UK check Cycling UK or British Cycling. Social media is a great way to find information and like-minded people. Book yourself a skill ride.

There are dedicated material for everyone, bikepackers, commuters, sport enthusiasts, weekenders. I must say I am happy to see more content for women. Yes, this may seem a cliche, but we do have different anatomy especially in the saddle area and we do have specific questions.


Let us know what you think we can do to prevent this renewed enthusiasm for bicycles from becoming another passing fad.


Happy rides and Get in touch.



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