May 25, 2021
Are you a beginner triathlete or new to cycling? Here are our top tips to get you started and ease your transition into the sport.
Over the past year, we have seen many of our athlete’s pick up cycling—runners as cross-training and beginner triathletes new to the sport.
Whatever the reason, the transition to a new sport brings many questions and we have often been asked for advice about getting started as a cyclist.
In this article, we share some tips to help ease your transition into cycling.
There are many bikes to choose from. Road bikes. Time trial bikes. Hybrid or city bikes. Mountain bikes and gravel bikes. Unicycles. Choosing the right one will depend on your goals and budget.
For most beginner triathletes, a road bike with clip-on aero bars is probably the most suitable and versatile option.
Once you determine which bike you want to own, buying the right size is essential. Too small, and you’ll be hunched and uncomfortable. Too big, and you’ll find it hard to handle. You’ll also be stretched out and uncomfortable.
Many road and time trial bikes won’t come with pedals. When buying pedals, I encourage you to go clipless.
If you plan to ride your bike frequently and clock some serious “time in the saddle”, it’s worth investing in a professional bike fit to ensure your bike is set up correctly for you.
A good bike fit can help to improve your comfort, aerodynamics and power output while reducing your injury risk.
Now that you have a bike and it’s comfortable to ride, knowing how to do so safely is critical.
To ride safely, there are a couple of other purchases you’ll want to make.
First, a high-quality and certified helmet. Don’t skimp when it comes to a helmet. If you ever crash and hit your head, it will be the best money you have ever spent.
Second, lights if you plan to ride in poor lighting or the dark. In some countries, it’s illegal to ride when dark without lights. Make sure you have both a white front and red rear lights and that they have sufficient battery.
Make sure you take some form of identification with you when you ride. In the event of an accident, it is helpful for paramedics to know who you are and who to contact.
If you plan to ride in a group or traffic, you need to learn the basic hand signals. These signals help you communicate with drivers and fellow riders to warn them of dangers and your intentions.
Many newbie cyclists are scared to get out on the road, so they spend their time inside on a trainer. While a trainer can help you build fitness, it does not teach you the essential skill of handling your bike. If you’re new to cycling, get outside and practise your bike handling skills.
To ride a bike well, you also need to learn how to …
Most bikes come with gears. Gears change the load you’re pedaling and make it easier or harder to turn the pedals depending on your gear selection.
I see beginner cyclists make a common mistake to stay in one gear and “muscle through”. When terrain (you go up or downhill) or conditions change (road surface or wind), you should switch gears to maintain a consistent cadence.
If you want your bike to last and to be safe, regular maintenance is essential.
Lastly, and on the maintenance front, it’s important to learn how to change a tire. If you’re ever out on the road and get a flat, you want to be self-sufficient and get yourself home.