Whether you’re a young kid, a teenager, an adult with a few calories to burn, or a senior who wants to maintain his/her tip-top shape, cycling is undeniably one of the most enjoyable recreational activity you can participate in. Aside from being fun, it also provides many health benefits. Talk about a win-win!
Despite the long list of reasons why we should all try cycling, a lot of people still seem to feel a little intimidated by this activity. Unless you’re an expert and familiar with the different types of tours around New York. Perhaps this stems from not knowing where and how to start cycling. Maybe all the talks about equipment and gears and the many types of bike overwhelm them.
If you are one of those people, don’t worry! Here’s a handy guide that will tell you everything you need to know before you head out to your first cycling trip.
1. Your Bicycle
The first (and probably most obvious) thing you need to secure is your bicycle. You probably think that you need something fast and fancy (and expensive) to become a full-pledged Central Park cyclist. But the truth is that if you’re just starting out, you don’t. While there are plenty of bikes out in the market that serves different purposes and suits different people, the best way to start cycling is to start simple. Start with what you own, for instance. If you don’t own a bike, go to the nearest bike shop and ask for the simplest, most beginner-friendly bike that they have to offer. You can even go to a rental shop and rent a bike for a few hours first, just to test if cycling is really for you.
2. Cycling Clothes
Here’s the truth laid out plain and straightforward: you can ride a bike without using any form of unique clothing. Are you surprised? But the thing is, you can only do so if you’re into occasional, casual, and leisurely rides. That go for short distances and under the super fine weather. If you’re planning on traveling more often and/or going for long-distance routes, you’ll definitely appreciate the comfort that specialized cycling clothes have to offer. Then again, you don’t need to have the most advanced collection of cycling clothes – start simple and build up from that.
3. Your Helmet
There really is no going about it: if you’re planning to be a cyclist, you got to have a helmet. Aside from the fact that most states have laws that require you to wear one, it is always a good idea to come in prepared for any accidents that may happen along the way. Remember the old adage “Safety First”? Well, as in many things in life, that applies in cycling too!
4. Road Cycling Skills
Before you go out on the open road, familiarize yourself with the necessary skills you need in road cycling. This includes (but is definitely not limited to): proper signaling, riding out in traffic, overtaking pedestrians and fellow cyclists, and a good understanding of your local cycling laws. This way, you are neither prone to danger or endangering others!
5. Basic Gear Knowledge
You may think that all you need to know to get started in cycling is how to ride a bike. And how to follow road signals – wrong. For a safe and hassle-free experience, we recommend that you also familiarize yourself with your bike’s gears. Also, how they work, and how to fix them should they suddenly malfunction. While you don’t have to be an expert, a basic knowledge would at the very least gear you up. Against flat tires, loose spokes, or detached chains. Because let’s face it, you never really know what’s going to happen on that long road ahead. But nothing beats being prepared to face it.
Much like other forms of exercise and physical activity, cycling can be both overwhelming and intimidating from the outside looking in. Then again, why should you let a little bit of challenge stop you from having fun and achieving your goals? You might want to take this cycling quiz. See if this guide is helpful and get a little bit of courage. You are now one step closer to being a full-pledged cyclist.