Has it been awhile since you’ve taken a spin? Perhaps it’s been more than a little while — maybe even years? If so, you’re definitely not alone.
Getting back into cycling again can be more than a little difficult, and it’s certainly understandable. It’s hard to get back into any type of physical activity when you’ve abstained for a long period of time, and cycling can often be one of the hardest.
Well, I’m here to help. Below are 8 helpful tips you can follow as you ease your way back into cycling, whether it’s been years, or if you’ve simply never been regular with it.
But before we get to all that, let me first get you motivated with some reasons as to why you should cycle to begin with.
Cycling offers a ton of benefits, some obvious, and some not. There are numerous reasons for hopping on a bike, but here are some typical examples.
Duh. Cycling is one of the best cardio exercises you can perform, and also one of the most enjoyable, while being gentle on your lower body. If you’re not really a runner, this is for you.
Committing to a regular riding schedule will pay huge dividends in a short amount of time. After just a few weeks, you’ll notice a big increase in your energy level, breathing ability, and stamina.
We all spend way too much time indoors. What better way to get outside than on a bike? Whether you’re on a training ride, or simply strolling around the neighborhood at moderate speeds with friends or family, riding is a great reason to outdoors.
Cyclists are a rare breed. We like to do things in groups, and the only requirement for joining a group is a love for cycling. Pretty simple, right?
If you live anywhere else where there are fellow humans cycling regularly, it’s not hard to cross paths, strike up a conversation, and get a new riding partner — and eventually a riding group. A hobby like cycling always gives you access to people you might not normally meet otherwise.
Live in an urban area? Commuting via cycling is a lot easier than you may initially realize. Sure, it might take some getting used to, along with trial & error, but you’ll figure it out.
There are a ton of advantages to commuting to work, with some of the main examples being things like saving on gas, getting your workouts in on the way to and from work, etc. And thanks to products like folding bikes, it’s easier than ever.
8 Tips for Getting Back into Cycling
Alright, hopefully you’re convinced to get back on the saddle. Now that you’re motivated, here are some tips for easing back into it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
This is bigger than you may realize. There’s a lot that goes into cycling properly, whether it’s finding your right size, determining what bike to purchase, helpful habits to develop, etc etc etc.
You can find a lot of help here on the internet, and it’s always a good idea to visit your local bike shop for some hands-on assistance and first hand advice as well.
Whatever you do, always be open to seeking advice and help when you aren’t sure of something. Everyone has to learn at some point.
Sometimes the hardest things to do with cycling when first getting back into it are the basics. This includes stuff like mounting the bike, shifting gears, proper turning, and so on.
Don’t make your first day back on a bike harder than it has to be. Before attempting to tackle some longer rides in busy areas, first take an hour or two, or even a day to ride around near your home and practice all the essential steps when riding.
This will help you get your feel and skills back, which more than pays off.
While it may be tempting to see what you can handle early on, it’s best to get your bearings first by not only building up your fitness level but your skills and navigation as well.
I advise against hitting the busy streets like you may have before back in the old days. First make sure you’ve got your skills and stamina back before you throw yourself into the afternoon traffic downtown. Sometimes you just need a little time to get acclimated to all the little things.
Explore The Trails
When you’re still first getting into cycling again, surprises are not all that fun. If you’re ready to take on some longer trails and really rack up the miles, it’s always best to do a little scouting first.
If you are able, go check out the trail you plan on riding during some off-times. That way you can get a good idea for what to expect. If you can’t, at least try to look it up online, or ask around.
Set Reasonable Goals
As I’ve already said, rushing into cycling again without proper acclimation can lead to some bad results. One of the more specific ways to avoid this is to plan out your goals beforehand.
And while it may be tempting to set your goals high, you are increasing the chances that you’ll fail, which can not only be a little hazardous, it may drain you of all motivation to keep going.
Start small–whatever that means for you–and go from there.
Remember To Rest
This kind of goes back to what I was saying in the previous tip. Scheduling rest days is crucial for recovery, and absolutely essential when you’re first starting out.
Don’t take that warrior mentality of “I’m going to bead my body into submission, and deal with any ill effects to build character.” You’ll burn out real quick. Schedule rest days. Actually, schedule more than you think you may initially need. Your body will thank you.
Check Out Local Biking Groups
There are pretty good odds that there are more than a few riding groups near to where you live. If you can’t find any by asking around, try to find them online, or by asking your local bike shop. They’ll know.
Riding groups are a great way to stay accountable and motivated, while also making new friends, and having a better time on rides in general. And like I said, fellow cyclists are always willing to welcome new riders to the team. Take advantage.
Remember To Have Fun
Seriously! Biking should never be mundane, dull, or feel forced. Fun should always be part of it. If it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong.
About the Author
Max Shumpert has taken his love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting BikesReviewed.com. As a bike shop owner he spends a lot of time helping people find the perfect bike for them, and if biking and staying fit is your priority too, his site is the perfect place to start.
Note: Photos are free stock photos, free for commercial use, no attribution required