Cycling Equipment for Beginners and Improvers
You probably rode a bike as a child and now with increasing petrol prices and more people wanting to keep fit, it is time to start riding again.
What is the best bicycle for a beginner? It really depends on where you want to ride. There are basically two types of bike, unless you want to race or do triathlons, in which case you will need a specialist bike.
Road Bikes are lighter, with strong frames, but they have thin tyres to reduce friction and you may not feel so stable.
Mountain Bikes are very strong with thicker, wider tyres so you can ride on rough ground off-road. They are also good on roads, so this is probably a good choice for a beginner.
The best way to know if you have selected the correct size of bike is to choose one to fit your height. You should measure this from ground to crotch and from the saddle to the handlebars.
Helmet. This is the first thing you need to buy after you get your bicycle. Make sure it fits comfortably and has firm protection. It is not illegal to ride a cycle without a hat, but it is very silly. However safe a rider you are, someone could knock you off and the helmet could save your life.
Water Bottle. Cycling is an exhausting hobby, especially if you pedal up hills and you dehydrate very quickly. Get a bottle and a holder to fix on your handlebars from a specialist cycle shop. This will have a straw in it so you can sip as you cycle, but don’t lose your concentration.
Pump. This is an essential item. If you have a flat tyre, you will not be able to continue and pumps are not supplied with bicycles any more.
Repair Kit. Another essential item. If you are stuck somewhere on a country road, miles from anywhere and you get a puncture, you need to be able to repair it, or patch it up to get you home.
Lights. Another item that is essential. It is illegal to ride a cycle after dark without lights and they are not automatically supplied with the bicycle.
Gloves. Your hands get cold and blistered, if you are not used to cycling. If you buy cycling gloves they are padded and do not slip on the handlebars in the rain.
To add to your comfort.
If you have not ridden a bicycle for a long time, you are going to be saddle sore. There are two ways of solving this, one is to get a padded seat and the other is to get proper cycling shorts. These have padding in the back will protect you from getting saddle sore.
There are no training aids to assist the beginner cyclist, it is just a question of practice. But it is best not to go off on your own until you are proficient and have regained your confidence. Cycling clubs welcome new members of all standards, and will help beginners.