As a certified cycling coach and bike enthusiast, I enjoy riding whenever I want to change up my workout routine and get away from my usual go-tos, like running or lifting weights at the gym.
Cycling is not only great for improving your fitness levels and boosting your mental wellbeing, it’s good to try if you have an injury and are unable to do higher-impact workouts. As it’s low-impact, cycling puts less of a strain on your muscles and joints.
When you get the hang of it, riding also gives you a sense of adventure and wanderlust, and the fun of it all might make you forget you’re exercising at all.
If you want to try cycling but don’t know where to start, let me help. I’m sharing all of the cycling tips I’ve learned over the years (I’ve been serious about cycling since 2014, taking part in duathlons and triathlons, even cycling from London to Paris!). You’ll need to be aware of these things if you want to cycle for fitness.
Now let’s get started:
Your bike matters
Just like picking out the perfect pair of running shoes, you’ll need to make sure the bike you use is right for your needs. Before purchasing a new bicycle, consider where you intend to ride it. Are you cycling on the road? Or do you want to ride your bike off the beaten track and explore the forest’s many trails? You can choose between a road bike, a gravel bike, a hybrid bike and a mountain bike once you’ve made your decision.
A gravel bike, in my opinion, is the best and most versatile option. These comfortable drop-bar bikes often feature wider tyres, and can be used both on and off roads – no wonder they’re growing in popularity.
A word of warning: if you’re buying a second-hand bike, try to ensure that it hasn’t been stolen. To be safe, double-check by asking the seller if they have any receipts proving purchase or a frame number for the bike (you can check these on the BikeRegister website, where owners can log bikes as stolen).
So does your outfit!
When it comes to cycling, what you wear makes a huge difference. As a beginner, I recommend focusing on selecting clothing that is lightweight, sweat-wicking and really comfortable – trust me, padded shorts will become your best friend on lengthy rides!
In terms of footwear, go for good-quality trainers with a hard sole. You want to be able to press down on the pedals through your forefoot easily, and shoes like this will help you with that.
What other items should you include in your cycling kit? A helmet, bike lights (for both the front and back) and a decent lock are all equipment that will help you stay safe while riding your bike and prevent it from being stolen. As you get more comfortable, you can look at upgrading your gear.
You need the right setup
After you’ve got the right gear and bike, the next thing you’ll want to think about is your bike setup. Your saddle should be aligned with your pelvis so that you can extend your leg without locking your knees – there should be a slight bend here. If you place your saddle too low, you risk putting too much strain on your joints and developing knee pain. And if it’s set too high, you won’t be able to press hard enough into the pedals to get the power you need.
If you still need extra help, go to your local bike shop or make use of social media and watch a few videos on setting up bikes to get a better understanding of it all.
Top Tip: The best way to keep your joint health strong? Try a daily supplement like Nature’s Truth Montmorency Cherry & Turmeric Complex which is a must-have for a fitness-focused wellness kit. Studies suggest it might help ease inflammation and joint pain.