|After riding with so many new riders over the summer on our Triangle Training Rides, it reminded me of how little I knew when I starting cycling.|
Here are 12 tips I wish I knew when I started:
- Hydration – All I knew is that I needed a bottle with water in it. I wish someone had told me about adding electrolytes, drinking a bottle per hour, and hydrating before the ride.
- Saddlebag – I didn’t even have one. I had a new bike, what could go wrong? Well, everything. Now I have a fully stocked saddlebag.
- Bike Fit – I just got on my bike and rode. This led to sore knees, tight quads, and a sore butt. Now my bike is set up specifically for me.
- Nutrition – When I started, I got leg cramps during the ride as well as after the ride. Now I know what to eat and when. No more cramps.
- Group Rides – I learned by people yelling at me, “What are you doing?!” I would reply, “I don’t know!” Now I’ve learned.
- Pacing – I didn’t know anything about cadence or what gear to be in. Bonking was common. Now I do less mashing and more spinning and have learned how to recover during a ride.
- Pulling – I used to get upfront, ride as hard as I could, as long as I could, and get dropped. Now I’ve learned to maintain the current pace and get off before I get tired.
- Bike Maintenance – I don’t think I ever washed my bike. Every once in a while, I might lube the chain, usually too much. Now I wash as well as maintain my bike regularly.
- Dressing properly – I didn’t know what to wear, when to wear it, or about not wearing underwear. Now I look at the hourly forecast and know exactly how to layer so I stay as comfortable as possible.
- Know the route – My first “30-mile” ride was actually 33 miles and I was pissed. Now I review the route, know the distance, feet of climbing, and where the climbs are on the route. No surprises.
- Mentally ready – Cycling is a sport and, as in all sports, confidence is essential. If you think you can’t do it, you won’t. You need to be mentally tough, especially on a long ride where you wonder if you can hang on.
- Physically ready – I used to think I could just ride my way into shape, but it takes a little more. Getting enough rest, maintaining the proper weight, and strength training can make a big difference.
Those are my thoughts and I’m sure you have many of your own. Just remember what it was like when you started and take the time to teach new riders when you can.
Here is a video with a few more tips: