Starting Out On A Bike (Without Stabilizers!)
Cycling is a fun experience with a great sense of freedom and is enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life. It’s a good way to get more active and a practical means of getting to work, to school or to the shops. Cycling regularly can keep you healthy as well as help you control your weight and boost your mood. If you’re thinking of taking up cycling for whatever reason there are some important things to consider and this guide should help you to understand what’s involved.
If you’re just getting started and only making short journeys then any good working bike will do. It doesn’t really matter if you have a mountain bike, racer or shopping bike. You may have one gathering dust in a garage or shed that’s been abandoned by another member of the family or you may be thinking of buying one second hand. In either case it is worth taking it to a local cycle shop to get it serviced to make sure it’s fit for the road.
If you want to buy a new bike there are many different styles to choose from. Pay a visit to a cycle shop, they’ll be able to advise you on the right machine to suit your pocket and the type of cycling you want to do. They’ll also put you right on things like frame size.
Primary Pedalling Procedures
If you haven’t cycled before or a rusty from a long time away from a bike, find yourself a quiet are to get started. The local park or an empty car park is a good place to start. You need to practise riding single-handed and making hand signals. You also need to get used to looking over your shoulder – awareness of what’s going on around you is key to your safety on the road.
If you’ve never cycled before check out the Bikeability scheme which offers cycle training for children and adults. Training can be arranged individually or for a group of friends and colleagues. Whatever your level of experience get hold of a copy of the Highway Code and make sure you understand the basic rules of the road and especially those that apply to cyclists.
Getting Into the Habit
Once you’ve mastered riding a bike the best way to make sure you get the most from your cycling is to make sure you do it regularly. The best way to do this is to use your bike for everyday transport. Cycling to work for example will save on fares or petrol and is good for you into the bargain. Work out your route in advance and check for any cycle-ways. These may provide useful shortcuts that you won’t be aware of if you’re used to travelling by other means.
Encouraging your kids to cycle to school is a great way of getting them more active and many schools encourage this with their own schemes. Parents may want to accompany younger children and this is a great way of getting the whole family cycling.
You can of course cycle for pleasure too. There are lots of ways you can get out in the countryside on your bike from trails to more extreme off-road activities. Cycle trails are often built on old railway lines and these are great for beginners as they have relatively gentle gradients. Think about joining activities like charity bike rides too, these not only get you out on your bike they help you meet people and do some good for the community.
Frankie Hughes is a freelance writer for cycling websites and recommends that you always seek a reputable company if you need to make bicycle accident claims.