My friend Amy recently posted about bike riding here on Fit City. She gave some great tips on riding with your kids. I want to share some tips on starting to ride on your own. Cycling is great exercise. Personally, it’s an activity that I simply enjoy. I’ve done the running thing and I set and accomplished goals. But I never came to really enjoy running. When I ride, I simply enjoy it. I enjoy the wind in my face, I enjoy feeling the strength of my legs, I even enjoy the challenge of getting up a hill when I think I’m not going to make it.
How do you get started?
Get a bike. Get a helmet. Go!
It really can be that easy!
You can also start out by heading to a local bike shop and talking to the pros about what kind of riding you plan to do, what kind of terrain you plan to ride on, and how often you plan to ride. Your local bike shop can also point you towards riding groups or cycling events.
What to Have
The other accessories I like to have are riding gloves, glasses, and my bike bag. Because I like riding longer distances, having padding to protect my palms is a good thing. I also like to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from dirt and bugs. I wear glasses for near-sightedness anyway and have prescription sunglasses. But even when I am wearing contacts, I wear sunglasses or clear safety glasses when riding. And my bike bag holds my first aid kit, water bottle (stay hydrated!), has a top clear sleeve for my riding map, and a side pocket where I can slip my phone.
What to Wear
When it comes to clothing, the only money I have put into what I wear is to buy cycling shorts. I’m a woman but I really like my men’s biking shorts best as they have thicker padding than my women’s capris. Just try on lots of styles and see what is most comfortable. Other than that, I wear my basic sneakers, my typical workout socks, my regular sports bra, and regular workout wicking shirt or tank. I’d love to have a bike jersey with the funky pockets in the back but I’m not ready to spend that much yet.
The most important thing you wear when cycling is your helmet. In the past few months, I have had a cycling friend experience a serious head injury due to not wearing a helmet and another friend avoid a serious injury because she was wearing her helmet. Wear a helmet on every ride.
Where to Ride
I’ve really enjoyed Saturday morning rides on the Monon Trail from Broad Ripple all the way up to Westfield. I also enjoy just riding around my town. It’s important to know the rules of the roadfor any place that you choose to ride. You can use websites like MapMyRide or Bikely to find routes that others have mapped.
But the most important thing is to just get on your bike and ride. Set a time goal to start with- ride for 30 minutes 3 times per week to start out. Then increase that by 15 minute increments. Or start with a 5 mile route and then grow to 7 and then 10. As you gain confidence and passion for this activity, you will gain knowledge and experience and soon you might be inspiring others to come and ride with you!