Inspired to take up cycling? These top tips by top local triathlete Lisa Melvin are a must-read before hitting the pedals
Loved the Tour de France or maybe the on-going successes of our British triathletes, now is the time to dust down your bike and get cycling again. From young children on stabilisers, through to adults going for long countryside rides, cycling is for everyone. And it’s one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine.
BENEFITS OF CYCLING
There’s plenty of health benefits from cycling:
• Low impact, high intensity – Cycling is perfect way of raising your heart rate, but being low impact there’s less risk of injury.
• Social/therapeutic – Cycling gives a great opportunity to exercise at the same time as a good natter. And don’t forget the coffee and cake stops to fuel up!
• Sense of achievement/fulfilment – There’s no better feeling after conquering your furthest, hardest ride.
• Explore the world – Cycling is a great opportunity to find great new places. And rather than travel alone you can always hook up with a local cycling club who will no doubt be very welcoming.
If you want to build your fitness up and don’t fancy going out onto the road, try the Zwift.com indoor training app which will give you hours of entertainment! You will need a turbo trainer to put your bike on, or a static bike like a Wattbike will connect up, too.
The advantages of pedalling this way is:
• It is safer exercise in your own home
• You can ride with people across the globe 24hours-a-day
• You can race
• Or do organised training programmes
• And it’s any-weather
Getting a bike set up usually costs around £200 (http://www.velomotion.co.uk/) and it’s well worth doing as cycling is a lot more enjoyable with your bike set up correctly. It makes sense to speak to a bike fit specialist prior to purchasing a machine as they can tell you which best suits your build and requirements.
EVENTS & RACING
There’s plenty of organised cycling events in the UK and Europe and it’s a great way to holiday and socialise with like-minded people. See these sites for lots more information:
Haute Route https://www.hauteroute.org/
UK Cycling Sportive ’s https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/
If you are partial to a spot of racing there’s plenty of opportunities in amateur leagues. Check out your nearest cycling club for more information.
• Crit Races (Summer)
• Cyclocross (Winter)
• TT Time Trial Racing
1. Use your local bike shop to purchase your machine. It’s not only great to support local businesses but also they are usually happy to do a deal. You can pick up a well spec’d bike for less than £1,000. Don’t forget you can use the ‘bike to work scheme ‘ https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/ to spread the cost.
2. Girls… don’t get sucked into to purchasing a ‘ladies’ model – it actually may not suit your body type and you may even find yourself paying a premium for female-specific bikes!
3. Invest in a good tyre – Continental Grand Prix GT Folding Road Tyre are geared up to prevent punctures as much as possible. You could also add a tyre sealant which will help you get home if you do get a puncture and can’t fix it.
4. There’s no need to go crazy on lots of expensive kit. Buy a well-fitting cycling helmet, set of lights – even if you don’t plan to go out after dark always have a rear light on to make you more visible – make sure you get a good tool kit and a windproof/waterproof jacket. The brighter the better to be seen!
5. Download the free social App Strava to your phone – it will track your ride and you can compare your progress as well as see how your friends’ training is going.