Riding a bike can help you lose weight and serve as a low-impact exercise option while recovering from injury — and that’s just the beginning. If you’re looking to get into cycling but unsure of where to start, here are some tips to get you rolling in no time:
Get the right saddle. Don’t think the thickest padding will give you the most comfortable ride. A longer seat with a cutout will generally be the best type of saddle. Read reviews and test ride a few to find what feels best. Those dreaded spandex padded shorts will also go a long way in the comfort department.
Change position while riding. Move your hands around on the bars, and move around on the saddle. This will keep your hands, arms and rear from getting numb due to prolonged time in a given position.
Don’t ride with headphones on. It can be extremely dangerous if you don’t hear an emergency vehicle or other commotions behind you or off to the side. If you have to have music, get a small clip-on radio with a speaker that you can attach to your clothing.
Know the rules. Ride with traffic and obey all road signs. Closely watch all cars in front of you so you can try to anticipate what they are going to do. Consider adding lights to make yourself more visible.
Keep your head up. Look out in front far enough ahead so you can react to any obstacles in the road or on the shoulder in front of you. Storm drain grates that you don’t even notice in a car are hazards for skinny road bike tires.
Keep track of your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come in your cycling journey can motivate you to keep going! Keep a schedule (try the beginner schedule below!) and record your time/distance using apps such as Strava or Map My Ride.
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* The RPE (rate of perceived exertion) figure is an indication of how hard each session should be. The number one means very little effort, while ten means maximum effort.