7 Common Cycling Tips Beginners Should Ignore

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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7 Common Cycling Tips Beginners Should Ignore

When you’re new to cycling there is a lot to learn. Unfortunately, not all the advice you receive is worth following. Instead of blindly following what anyone in a kit tells you, we’ve set forth seven common cycling tips beginners are better off ignoring.

While you can save a lot of money on a good bike by searching used models on sites like eBay and Craigslist, it isn’t recommended for your first bike. This is because you won’t be able to determine how well the bike fits you without an expert on hand to measure things like handlebar reach, crank length, frame height and handlebar width.

Since these bike fit elements make a big difference in your overall comfort, it’s recommended you purchase your first bike at a reputable bike shop that can dial in your fit according to your individual body type and set you up for the best experience possible.

A cracked frame, untrue wheels, faulty components and other potential repairs are problems an untrained eye may not recognize when purchasing a used bike.

You may have heard you’ll need to load up on carbohydrates while you ride. But just because this may be true prior to a long-distance cycling race or particularly hard training ride, most beginners don’t need to worry about eating loads of pasta and bread the day before (or of) a training ride.

If your training rides are under the two-hour range, all you need to worry about is eating a balanced diet consisting mainly of lean proteins, unprocessed foods and plenty of leafy greens to keep you going.

For pros and experienced cyclists, riding most days of the week certainly has its benefits. But when you’re taking up a new activity, it’s important not to overdo things — especially early on. Doing too much too soon can lead to injuries and overtraining that will eventually cause you to take an extended time off the bike.

For beginners, it’s important to take days off between rides when you’re sore or tired and alternating harder days with easy rides or cross-training. As your body begins to adapt to cycling, you can begin increasing the number of days you ride per week.

Yes, cycling is going to be difficult at first and some soreness is to be expected. There is a big difference between pushing yourself to ride further or faster and pushing through actual pain. When there’s pain in your joints, stiffness in your tendons or other aches, it may signal the need for rest or an easy day on the bike. On the other hand, pushing through the pain needlessly just to get in better shape a little quicker will inevitably do you more harm than good. Instead, learn to listen to your body and adapt your training plan as needed.

Clipless pedals and cycling shoes help you get more power and efficiency from your pedal stroke. But while this may be a piece of equipment you eventually want to get comfortable with, it isn’t a make-or-break decision if you’re new.

The fear of falling is enough to deter some from riding on the road, focus on getting comfortable with being on the bike and in traffic before making any major switches. Remember, riding with tennis shoes is a hundred times better than not riding at all. Concentrate on riding as much as you can and having fun. There’s plenty of time to get more serious about things down the road.

Even though they might get a bad rap from traditionalists, e-bikes have a place on the road — especially for beginners. Whether your commute is a little too far or you just need help getting up all those steep climbs, an e-bike can give you a little boost when you need it. Some models also have the option of turning the electronic assist off, giving you more options depending on the circumstance.

E-bikes might also encourage you to ride more often and further than you might be willing to on a more traditional road bike — both of which are good things for your fitness and overall health.

Sports-nutrition products are everywhere, and if you listen to common advice on the internet, you might think you can’t complete a ride without a sports drink or energy bar. The truth is, unless you’re riding more than two hours or at a very high intensity, you probably won’t need more than water to get you through your ride. All the extra calories and sugar you’ll get from the nutrition products will only make it more difficult to lose weight and lessen the performance gains you’ve made during your workout.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.


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