On Your Bike!*

Tuesday, 12 June 2018, By Jo Hurst

Cycling is a great way to get your cardio in. You can really travel some distance on a bike and it's easy to get started. There are many great cycle paths around the city and if you want to go further the local cycle group or shop will have more local information on destinations, tips and APPS to help you.

It may be a while since you have been on a bike and just so you know it REALLY is "just like riding a bike" - you never forget.

Start your training in a quiet street or car park. You will need to do a safety check to make sure your brakes and gears are working. Make sure your helmet fits - you will need to update the stack hat you had as a kid. Ensure it has a safety standards sticker on the inside - it may save your life so don't scrimp on quality. Do the chinstrap up and tighten the helmet so it rests comfortably but doesn't slip off easily. Adjust the seat to sit at the top of your hip. Please make sure you have plenty of reflective clothing on so you are highly visible. You will also need lights front and back if you are riding in the dark or at sunrise or sunset and you should always have a back light on whatever time of day. Some people also attach a flashing light to their clothing and a go pro camera on their helmet or bike to record the trip and any incidences along the way.  You want to be up nice and high in the seat so you can get full reach from each rotation to maximise your power and efficiency. Your leg should be almost straight at the bottom of the rotation.

Depending on the type of riding you will do depends on your bike or vice versa - road bikes are meant ......for the road. I would recommend if you are going on long road rides you have your bike serviced and have it fitted for you before you leave. You may also want cleated shoes and specific pedals to help with long distances. For comfort it is recommended you wear lycra and have a pair of padded bottom pants. Trust me; you will soon work it out.

Mountain bikes, hybrids and 29rs are suitable for all paths, off road terrain and short road sections but are generally heavier than a road bike built more for speed in lightweight carbon materials. You can always enjoy cycling on a cruiser or dragster which will still get you around but for shorter distances and social events as these tend to be heavy, have limited gearing and suspension but look cool.

Once you are safe and ready to roll jump on! With a little scooter action, some momentum and plenty of courage you will be off and pedalling along.  A few laps of the block or street should enable you time to go through your gears to determine how they work and where your comfort zone is.

Now is the chance to go on some adventures. Generally, an hour or two will be sufficient to start and build up from there. 20 -30kilometres will suffice to begin with a nice social coffee stop along the way. Download a tracking app such as Map My Ride or STRAVA to help with mapping and directions. Explore your local area for bike paths and head out with your water bottle, phone, a small snack and a transport card in case you need to head home quickly. As you become more confident and fitter you can easily complete a 50 -70km journey in a day on a mountain bike but on a road bike 100kms is very doable.  The more you take the more you have to carry safely. A pannier on the side can be helpful but generally a small bag under the seat or on the cross bar should be enough to hold a few things. You can always use your backpack if you need to take a rain jacket or layers.

Remember if you are on the road you have to give way to pedestrians and cars and you have to obey the road rules the same as cars. You may ride side by side if space allows, however, peloton riding (like you see the big groups early in the morning) is a whole other skill and should not be attempted by beginners.

There is so much more information to help you available at

http://bicyclensw.org.au/

http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/bicycles/cycleway-finder.html

http://springcycle.com.au/

https://bicyclensw.org.au/bugs-and-riding-groups/

Take care, have fun and be safe

 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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