By Paudie O'Donovan
I could compose an endless list of why we should cycle and the benefits it has but there’s not enough room in this page if I was to start writing.
Instead I want to look at it from a beginner’s perspective and try and give as much advice as possible from a social aspect and from a sport sense.
Cycling is around for centuries. It dates back to the early 19th century where vehicles for human transport had two wheels and required a rider to balance. After many years of evolution bicycles have came a long way then but the art of cycling still remains the same.
We all learnt to cycle from a very young age so we all know how to do it. Sometimes when we return back to different activities in our lives we need to sit down and see how serious we’r going to take new venture.
We need to look at how much use we’re going to get out of a bike and what bike will suit that plan. Unfortunately Beginner cyclist need to buy most of the gear that is required but a proper bike will be top of the list.
There are so many bikes to choose from. You need to get as much information as possible on each bike and then decide how much your going to use this bike and then decide which bike ticks each box.
Road bike (Racing), Hybrid, Cyclocross, Gravelbike, Mountain-bike and Street bike (Commuter) will all crop up.
For the cyclist who already has a bike but wants to upgrade then they have to look at all the different types of components and brakes on these bikes that will help the bike perform better.
Tip: All the different Bike manufacturers will have a bike to suit. In my opinion all the brands are as good as each other. There’s Trek, Felt, Cube, Giant, Scott, Cervelo and Bianchi to name a few. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so it’s up to you what bike you buy.
Correct Gear & Kit
The Gear list goes on for ever. Cycling jersey, cycling shorts, cycling Jacket, cycling shoes, Helmet, gloves, sunglasses are the main items of gear for the spring summer and then the same list again for the winter. Stored on the bike you need your puncture repair kit, water, front and rear light and a computer to keep track of your miles.
Tip: My advice here is to buy the basic apparel (Don’t necessary buy cheap gear) and then over a period of time start adding the rest of the stuff.
When we get a few kilometres into the legs over the period of a few months it’s then we can start to look at a suitable training plan and training correctly. Like I say for an exercise routine you need a plan. 2 cycles a week is great.....3 is brilliant. Maybe 2 shirt cycles during the week and 1 long cycle in a Saturday or Sunday morning will be ideal.
Tip: Be careful not to overdo at the start.
Riding in a group
I always say you need a balance in life and the same applies to cycling. Cycling with a club is hard beaten but you also need to get in a few spins on your own. Go online and find your local cycling club......there’s loads. Before joining up, Head out with them and see does it suit you. Then like I said you could head out with them on the long weekend spin.
Tip: You need to get used to cycling with 8-10 cyclist around you. Group cycling takes getting used to.
The benefits are endless:
- Increased Cardiovascular fitness
- Decreased body fat levels
- Increased Muscle strength and flexibility
- Strengthened bones
- Decreases Stress levels
App’s & Tech
Just like the other aspect off cycling there are numerous app’s and computer units out there to help you with your cycling. Strava seems to be the most popular cycling App but Map my ride and Garmin connect are well up there also.
The two most common bike computers are the Garmin Edge and Wahoo Roam but other males are equally as good.
Tip: Dabble with each of them and see which suits best.
This article was taken from our popular Get Active magazine which is available to read in full here.