Sports

Getting Started: A Beginner’s Introduction To Cycling

Cycling is a great way to get in shape, explore your surroundings, and have fun! It can be tough to know where to begin if you’re just getting started. From the types of cycling to getting the right Cycling Apparel, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know, and by the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to hit the road or trail and start enjoying the wonderful world of cycling!

What is cycling?

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of cycling, let’s take a step back and answer the question, “what is cycling?”. In its simplest form, cycling is the mere act of riding a bicycle. So when you get on your bike and start pedaling, congratulations – you’re already a cyclist!

Jokes aside, there’s a bit more to it than that. Cycling can be done for recreation, transportation, exercise, or competition. And unlike some other sports or forms of exercise, it’s relatively easy to get started – for beginners, all you need is a bike, some gear, and away you go!

Types of cycling

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There are many different types of cycling, each with its own set of rules, equipment, and etiquette. Here are some of the most popular:

Road cycling

Road cycling is the most common type of cycling. It’s typically done on paved surfaces like roads and bike paths and can be done for transportation, exercise, or competition.
Think of it like this: if you’re riding your bike on the road, you’re probably doing road cycling. Unlike other types of cycling, road cycling is relatively tame and not too technical. That said, there are still some things to watch out for – we’ll go over those later.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is more extreme cycling done on off-road terrains like dirt trails, single track, and even gravel roads.
Mountain biking often requires a sturdier and more durable bike than road cycling and special protective gear because of the more extreme conditions like mud, rocks, and roots.
Mountain biking can be done for transportation, exercise, or competition (in the form of races) and is a great way to get outside and explore your surroundings.

Bikepacking

Bikepacking is a relatively new type of cycling that combines road and mountain biking aspects. It’s done on paved surfaces like roads and bike paths but usually involves longer distances and overnight camping trips.
Bikepacking often requires a specially-equipped bike with features like pannier racks and saddlebags to carry all your gear and a tent, sleeping bag, and other camping equipment.

Cyclocross

One of the more unique types of cycling, cyclocross, is a hybrid of road and mountain biking that takes place on various surfaces, including dirt, gravel, and even sand.
Cyclocross races are typically short (around 30-60 minutes) and extremely technical, with obstacles like barriers and mud pits that riders must navigate.
Because of the demanding nature of cyclocross, it’s often considered one of the most challenging types of cycling.

Tandem cycling

Tandem cycling is another unique type of cycling in which two people ride on the same bike.
Tandem bikes have two pedals, two saddles, and two handlebars – one for each rider. Tandem cycling can be done for transportation, exercise, or competition (in the form of races).

Recommendation:

For beginners, we advise starting with road cycling. It’s the most common and forgiving type of cycling and a great way to ease your way into the sport.
You can then move to more advanced topics like gear selection and safety. By the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to hit the road or trail and start enjoying the wonderful world of cycling!

Advantages and disadvantages of cycling

As with anything, there are both advantages and disadvantages to cycling. Here are a few of each:

Advantages of cycling:

Low impact on joints

Because cycling is a low-impact activity, it’s gentle on your joints and muscles. This makes it a great option for people looking for exercise that won’t aggravate any existing injuries or conditions.

People of all ages and abilities can do it.

Another great thing about cycling is that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy it. Whether you’re a young child just learning to ride or an elderly adult looking for a leisurely way to get around, cycling is a great option.

It’s a relatively affordable hobby.

Unlike some other sports and hobbies, cycling doesn’t require a lot of expensive gear or equipment. A decent bike can be purchased for well under $1000, and unless you plan on competing, there’s no need for fancy (and expensive) gear.

Disadvantages of cycling:

Weather-dependent

One of the biggest disadvantages of cycling is that it’s weather-dependent. If it’s raining, snowing, or too hot outside, you’re probably not going to want to go for a ride.
This can make it difficult to stick to a regular cycling routine, especially if you live in an area with unpredictable or extreme weather conditions.

Requires some level of fitness

Another potential disadvantage of cycling is that it requires a certain fitness level. If you’re not already in good shape, you may find cycling a bit too challenging, at least at first.
Of course, this is true of any type of exercise – the more fit you are, the easier it will be.

Getting started: Basic gear you need for cycling.

Now that we’ve gone over some of the different types of cycling and the advantages and disadvantages, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of what you’ll need to get started.

Bike

First and foremost, you’ll need a bike. For road cycling, a road bike is the best option. These bikes are designed for speed and efficiency and typically have thinner tires and drop handlebars.
If you’re interested in mountain biking, you’ll need a mountain bike designed for rough terrain and has thicker tires with more tread.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with the options, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a knowledgeable salesperson.

Bicycle helmet

Next on the list is a bicycle helmet, which is essential for cycling. A good helmet will protect your head in a fall or collision and potentially save your life.
When choosing a helmet, pick one that fits snugly and is comfortable to wear. You should also look for a helmet that has been certified by the CPSC or another similar organization.

Cycling apparel

While you don’t need special cycling apparel to ride a bike, it can certainly make the experience more enjoyable.
We recommend tight-fitting shorts made from Lycra or another similar material for road cycling. These shorts will help reduce friction and prevent saddle sores. Babici’s Cycling Jersey is a fantastic option.
You may also want to consider investing in a cycling jersey designed to wick away sweat and keep you cool. Mountain biking apparel is a bit different, as you’ll want clothing that offers more protection from the elements.

Gloves, shoes, and socks

Part of your cycling gear should also include gloves, shoes, and socks. Gloves will help protect your hands in the event of a fall and can also help reduce vibrations on long rides.
Cycling shoes are designed to be stiff and offer a good level of support. They usually have cleats on the bottom that clip into pedals, though you don’t need special shoes if you’re just getting started.
Finally, socks are important for both comfort and function. Look for a pair that wicks away sweat and doesn’t cause too much friction.

Final Thoughts

Getting started with cycling can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right information and gear, you can be on your way to enjoying this great sport in no time. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start pedaling!

Sandy Villamor

Call me Sandy, a writer, and blogger of LifeStyleConvo & UrbanHouses, who worked as a full-time content creator. A writer by day and reader by night.

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