Road cycling has seen a real surge in popularity lately, with thousands of newcomers taking to the roads on two wheels. If you’re one of those riders that’s invested in a new bike this year (or resurrected an old one), then we’ve got some essential advice on equipment and techniques to help get you on your way to road cycling success.
1. Equip yourself with the right kit
First things first: as a new cyclist, you need the right equipment. Here’s our essential kit list for road cyclists who are just starting out:
- Padded shorts. Ignore at your peril! Without padded shorts, you could find it a bit tricky to sit down in the days following a bike ride. Invest in a pair and not only will your ride be more comfortable, but your backside will thank you too.
- Helmet. Once you start clocking up speeds, you need to protect yourself in case you fall off. It might just save your life.
- Toe and clip straps. Pick up some toe and clip straps, and see the rewards. Greater security for your feet will remove any slipping and allow you to increase your pedalling efficiency. However, you will need to learn how to stop without putting your feet down (more on that later on).
- GPS/cycling tracking system. Find your way around with ease and clock every mile you record at the same time. It’s the perfect way to monitor success and find ways to improve your performance.
2. Learn the basics of bike maintenance
Our next cycling tip is all about maintenance. Don’t worry, you won’t need to learn all the mechanical ins and outs of a bike. However, knowing how to carry out a few basic maintenance procedures will definitely help you to overcome some potentially stick situations while out on the road (or help you to avoid them entirely).
Before you set off, check your tyre pressure using a quality floor or hand pump. You’ll find the recommended level on the sidewall of both your tyres.
Next, we’d recommend checking out our video guide on how to fix a puncture. Team this knowledge with a bike puncture repair kit and you’ll have covered all the major bases in terms of puncture repair.
It’s also worth cleaning and oiling your chain regularly to avoid annoying creaky noises from setting in and stop your chainring from wearing out so quickly (chainrings aren’t cheap to replace). You can find a selection of bike lubes and oils here.
3. Nutrition is everything
Our next cycling tip involves food – yay! Long bike rides burn a lot of calories, with our bodies only carrying around 90 minutes worth of glycogen for intense cycling. So it’s important to make sure you’re fuelling your body every 30 minutes with a banana, energy gel or cereal bar.
If you’re looking for a more thorough guide to cycling nutrition, check out our blog on the best nutrition tips for cyclists.
4. Show great technique
Technique is key for cyclists who are just starting out, as it’ll help you to stay safe on the road, avoid injuries and maximise performance. Make sure your saddle and handlebars are positioned correctly for your height and shape, so that you’re comfortable when you’re in full flow.
If you’ve opted for toe or clip straps, then it’s worth putting a bit of practice in so that you can stop with confidence (and without putting your feet down). Find a soft piece of grass and work on slowly applying your bike’s brakes until you feel comfortable enough to drop your heel and twist away from the bike. Just bear in mind that your foot should be parallel to the crank before you twist.
If you don’t have your perfect bike picked out yet, then check out our full range online. We’ve also got all the accessories and maintenance products you could ever need to keep yourself safe and your ride as smooth as possible.
Good luck on your road cycling journeys!