20 Cycling Tips from Experienced Cyclists for Beginners

By Gulab Mostofa

As a beginner or newbie cyclist it can feel intimidating and overwhelming for some. Making the right decisions early on can save you time and money.

The best way to pick up knowledge quickly is to ride with others, they’ll have made mistakes and lot’s of them and you can learn from them here . My aim here is to save you some of that time and money.

I have put together the best beginner cycling tips from experienced cyclists from across the web.

  1. If you are new to cycling consider a road bike, they’re not for ‘pros’ as some will have you think. Buying a cheap heavy mountain bike is the equivalent of riding a tractor for a newbie – it’s extremely difficult.
  2. Buy a cheap Garmin device. I have a cheap Lezyne Macro that is still great. Even a good Cateye one will do the job. For me seeing my speed increase on rides and seeing my average speed increase on my training route was and still is a huge boost.
  3. Don’t get into the habit of buying gadget after gadget – you’ll soon realise you’ve spent 1000’s and you’ve really benefitted from the money spent.
  4. Always ensure you cover your Awrah when cycling – cycling bib shorts are tight and your private parts are practically on show. We at AICC strongly encourage you wear 3/4 length shorts on top of your bib shorts. We’re Muslims and covering your modesty properly is one quality that makes us unique.
  5. Don’t be afraid of traffic but sit away from parked cars, at least an open door’s width. Claim your place on the road, be confident and look at drivers at junctions – they will feel your stare!
  6. Stand out! Don’t be afraid to wear bright garish colours, cyclists are very hard to see on the roads. I prefer ride with my lights on even during the day.
  7. Start nice and sloooooww, don’t aim to go too far or fast too soon. Build it up steadily over time and as you feel more confident and comfortable push your limits. Don’t start competing with your fellow newbies straight away and make sure you enjoy yourself!
  8. Always check the weather forecast. In England you can get deceivingly blue skies, it looks like it may be warm only to be really really cold, especially after Fajr (Morning prayer). Also, do check for rain. Going out without a rain cape stuffed in your jersey pocket only for there to be sudden downpour can be demoralising (we’ve all done it).
  9. Get out of your comfort zone. Ride early in the morning, late at night in the rain and when it’s dry. Probably the worst thing you can do is not challenge yourself, go further, go faster and don’t look back. Stay motivated, have goals and a plan to achieve them. Before you know it you will be doing things you never believed you would ever do.
  10. Look after your bike well. Your horse will take you thousands of miles, so respect it (talk to it if you want). Clean it every week, fresh degrease and grease. Bikes shouldn’t squeak or make funny noises. Make adjustments and learn to fix it yourself.
Clip-in pedals seem daunting initially.
  1. Make the switch to clip-in pedals. It might seem intimidating at first but you won’t regret it. You’ll be surprised at the improvement you will see in your ability to cycle more efficiently and to get up those hills. My top tip is definitely to practise clipping in and out of your pedals on a quiet road.
  2. On the nutritional side, generally stick to water for rides under an hour. Carbs like banana and dates on rides of 1-3 hours and a mixture of carbs and proteins for rides longer than 3 hours. These are only guidelines, as nutrition is often a matter of ‘what works for you’.
  3. Don’t avoid hills, they get easier the more you do them, you can’t avoid them forever (especially if you happen to live up north) so you may as well get used to them. Good technique works on small hills, strength and fitness is more important on longer climbs.
  4. Hands, feet and bottom – get these right! Good shorts, gloves and shoes. Try out saddles, bar tape, pedals – make sure they are comfortable. Get your bike to fit correctly (either use an online guide or pay for a fitting).
  5. Always carry enough cash to get you home in case you have a major mechanical problem.
  6. Always carry a small toolkit, inner tube and puncture repair kit on you at all times and practise changing your tyres.
  7. Do not be tempted by cheap cycling gear on Amazon or eBay. As soon as it gets wet and cold you will spend a lot more money in an attempt to weather proof yourself.
  8. Get Strava. It’s the best thing I ever did. When I started I didn’t have any cyclist friends so I had nobody to compete with but myself. As soon as I got Strava and could see who was doing what around me, that motivated me to ride more and enjoy the added element of competition.
  9. Set yourself a challenge and register for a charity ride with AICC – we’ll set you up with a training plan and stay committed because deep down you know it’s all for a worthy cause.
  10. Join AICC for regular club rides up North (AICC Lancashire) and in London (AICC London). Or perhaps you’d like to get an AICC wing started in your region? Contact us on info@alimaan.cc

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