Looking for a challenge this summer – why not sign up for ViewRanger’s #bike2016? With the options to pledge to ride 6,000, 3,000, 1,500 or 750 miles before the end of the year, it’s the perfect way to push yourself or try something new.
The thing I love most about cycling is that you always feel like you have been on a journey; whether I am on the mountain bike ploughing through mud to get to the top of an epic descent, or whizzing along on the road bike planning my next cake stop, it’s so liberating.
I also think it is an excellent way to get fit. Running can require quite a lot of motivation to get started with, and if you don’t have access to trails or fell, it can be pretty tough on the joints. Biking, on the other hand, is accessible on so many levels. You could be a commuter, an avid racer, downhill fanatic or just a ‘bike to the pub’ kind of person! Don’t get me wrong; there is no way I could pick between biking and running – but in terms of picking up a new sport or hobby, I think biking is a brilliant choice.
Inspired by my little sister and her desire to give mountain biking a go, here are a few tips on how to get into cycling as a total beginner…
Five tips for starting your #bike2016:
1. Pick a distance
Having a challenge can be the best way to get into a sport – it helps you push through that initial tough bit and gives you some motivation to get out on those days that might otherwise be spent with on the sofa with Netflix. With the options of 6,000, 3,000, 1,500 and 750 miles there is something for everyone. Remember there is nothing wrong with starting small and building up – you can always hit your target and keep going.
2. Invest in some decent padded cycling shorts
Believe me; these will become your friend if your planning on building up the mileage. There are plenty of options and prices out there – my top tips would be to try them on and not punt for the cheapest pair you find. They might feel a bit bulky at the start, but you will be thanking me! Things to watch out for are, any seams you think might rub, and good leg grippers as it’s annoying when they roll up.
Here are some of the best pairs of padded shorts for women. Blokes sorry, I’m not going to be able to make a recommendation for you, but I am sure a quick Google or look at the reviews on Wiggle will have you sorted.
Oh and while we are on the subject of kit – please please please wear a helmet. No lid = Not cool.
3. Learn how to change an inner tube
Potholes, thorns, rocks and bad luck – lots of things can lead to a flat tyre, so unless you fancy pushing your bike home, it’s best to learn how to do this sharpish. The inner tube is the tube that sits on the inside of the rubber tyre and inflates when you pump it up. To change a tyre, you will need two tyre levers, a pump and a new inner tube (the same size as your wheels). There are many many tutorials (such as this or this) of how to do this online. I think the best way of learning to give it a go with the help of one of these; or if you have a friend who can demonstrate, even better!
4. The uphill is worth the down
Uphills can be tough at the start, especially on uneven or rocky surfaces on the mountain bike, but persevere. Not only will they get easier the more you do, but the best thing about going up is most of the time this means you get to go down the other side!
5. There is always time for coffee and cake
Remember this should be fun and you are doing it to enjoy yourself. I’m generally pretty healthy, but I’m also not afraid to admit that a little treat after riding certainly helps me up the hills and makes me keep pushing when I think I have nothing left. Plus I find I have a 10x larger successes rate of getting friends to come with me when there is the promise of cake at the end!