Best method to get you started cycling today
But once you do your first bike ride, we’re sure you’ll be hooked by the feeling of freedom, adventure and joy. Getting started is easier than it sounds, and we’ve already figured it out: you don’t even have to wear spandex shorts if you don’t want to. Below, we’ve put together 5 tips on how to start cycling.
Choose the ideal bike
Hybrid bikes – with thin tires and efficient riding geometry – are designed to help you navigate paved bike lanes and city streets.
Just as you must choose the perfect pair of running shoes, you first need to size your bike. Frame size is important. Then look up the manufacturer’s recommendations in the “Rider Height X Frame Size” table.
Then see a bike that fits both your budget and your riding style: more comfortable, more agile, more compact…
Get ready (not just for World Car Free Day)
The right bike is only halfway there. There are also some essential equipment you need. A helmet is the most important. Although it is not mandatory by the Brazilian Traffic Code, it is highly recommended. Also, helmets have a shelf life, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and buy a new one instead of picking up that helmet that’s been hanging in your garage for years.
If you plan to ride as a sport too, a cycling clothing kit (jersey and padded shorts) is more aerodynamic and comfortable on the bike. The material absorbs sweat and helps regulate body temperature; snap-in cut reduces friction; and the padded seat protects sensitive areas from road vibration. Shirts are available in endless colors and patterns. Shoes are always welcome (they improve pedal performance). But train first in a safe place until you get the hang of snapping/unfitting.
If you are going to use the bike for commuting, you can wear your normal clothes. Choose comfortable clothes, fabrics that naturally have some elasticity and that favor your freedom of movement. If you don’t have a lot of practice yet, a pair of shoes that are firmly attached to the foot and with a non-slip sole will help to make the pedal firmer. Maybe for the first few times you prefer to change when you arrive at your destination, but it is often perfectly possible to wear everyday clothes when commuting too.
Other important equipment is some tool items, tire pump, spatula to release the tire from the wheel and a water bottle.
Make a habit of cycling
Start pedaling small distances and build up little by little. So while World Car Free Day is a good reason to start cycling, setting a long-term goal is a great way to stay engaged and keep track of your progress.
If you want to use the bike for transport but are still unsure, there are many intermediate options: do small tests close to home, such as going to the bakery or the market, bringing small purchases in a backpack. If the idea is to go to school or work, study and test the route on the weekend, at a time with little traffic and without time pressure.
Find a cycling group
A little positive pressure can do you good. Cycling is both an individual and a group sport. You can certainly cycle and accomplish goals on your own, but riding with a group can make it physically easier (you can take each other out for less wind resistance) and more motivating. Not to mention that motivation increases, and inhibitors, such as the fear of going out alone, decrease.
Many cities have cycling groups that organize group tours, designed to teach beginner cyclists the etiquette of the sport and show local routes. These groups are often associated with bicycle workshops, so ask the team for a calendar. You will find cycling to be a surprisingly social and supportive sport.
For your safety, the helmet provides an additional guarantee in case of a fall. Another important way to protect yourself is to follow the traffic laws correctly – this includes stopping at a red light and not going against the traffic. Always remain aware of your surroundings and avoid accidents.
If possible, do not listen to music with headphones while pedaling and carry important information such as blood type and an emergency telephone number with you.