It is so easy to get caught in anxious or little overwhelming situation if one is riding the bicycle after a long number of years. This anxiety become more if one has not rode the geared bicycle before. Most of us have done cycling in childhood and possibly we might have done some stunts with it as well. It is one of the best remembered gifts from parents in our younger days and we had cycled for reasons which are quite different than our primary goal (fitness) nowadays. I see the same brightness in kids for cycle that was once we had. Surprisingly that charm has not gone away when as a adult we want to start cycling again. To make it easier to start cycling again, the very first thing i can tell you is to forget the rules. Here I listed few cycling tips, which i believe may help you to get back to cycling without losing the big picture.
Start Riding and Having Fun
Fitness should be part of your life and not something you do for a month or a year. You shouldn’t be the one who’s cycling for a month after buying and then dozing off. So forget the rules, forget the gears, terrains, matching helmets, jersey. The Whole idea to get fall in love with cycling again and enjoy. So until you have fun riding cycle, you will not be able to reap fitness benefits and will lose interest soon. More Focus on building habits and Less focus on results or outcome.
Adjust Saddle Height and have some basic maintenance tools handy
Saddle height should be adjusted in such a way that so that you don’t suffer knee pain or injury. Knee should be slightly bend while riding. Get the fix done by a professional if you are unsure. A small video youtube can help.
Some basic maintenance tools like puncture kit, small pump should be handy with you on long ride distances even if you don’t know how to fix your cycle. You may get help of fellow cyclists but you need to have basic kit available with you.
Single gear Cycle. Don’t stress out! Multi-Gear Cycle. Good!
It really Does not matter if you have a single geared cycle as a starter. Idea is not to stress out. It is fine to start with single gear cycle and spend as less you can in starting phase. Soon you will figure out the best bicycle for you. NO point buying a road bike when you found out later that hybrid is the best serving your purpose or the commute bike is what you need instead of mountain bike
If you have basic 1*6 or 3*7 geared cycle, you are good to go bit further distance wise and if you have higher geared cycle, nothing like it. But it can be complicated initially for starters on higher geared cycle. So what one needs to take care is to keep the front derailleur on the 2nd gear(middle gear) and keep changing the back gears as per ride, terrain. This will help to avoid crossing chaining . Within no time, one will be able to adjust the front gears and back gears combination.
Change gears while pedalling:
Remember the best way to change gears is while one is pedalling non stop. This way the chain easily moves from one cog to another. While changing the gear, dont put pressure on the pedal as this could lead to the snapping of chain in extreme scenario.
Build up the ride distance gradually:
Start with a 3km or 5km or 10km ride in first few days and never be in a hurry to ride more distances.. Gradually build up the ride distances. Ride slowly for first 2 km or so and then settle into a rhythm and enjoy the ride.
Join a cycling group and learn from experienced people :
Join a local cycling group in your neighbour hood. Make new friends and start riding with similar mindset people. You will get to know a lot about nutrition, bike maintenance, bike, terrains, routes. What to do and what not to. On your first ride, make a plan to ride in second part of pack but don’t get lost. Have a proper planning in place before you start to ride in a group and long distances.
Always remember to refuel and hydrate yourself
Dont start empty stomach for long distances. If the ride is over an hour then plan to take an energy bar or something handy to eat. A bottle of water may not be sufficient for long distances. Plan to hydrate on the way. Keeping a small electron bottle with you to restore lost electrolytes
Have a Consistent Approach & build habit
Having a weekly routine or a scheduled regime will help you to be consistent. Make it a point to cycle every weekend and soon you will be scaling new heights
Only showing up daily will work wonders in the starting phase and as you progress, you can create a routine.
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Enjoy the day and your life. Don’t forget, we are alone in this grand universe and may not get a chance to live again.