Cycling so far has given me a bucket load of memories which I will cherish forever. Besides being a very sociable activity, it is considered by many as a full body workout. Calorie burner I mean. Cycling has also many other benefits.
I’ll put down all that I’ve learned so far in the 6 months of cycling I have done so that you will know beforehand what to expect and prepare accordingly.
Note: This will be a brief post and I won’t be going into the mechanics of cycling. If you contradict with any of the below mentions, please leave a comment below. I will be more than glad to rectify myself.
Accessories for Bikes:
When you first start cycling, more than the pain in your legs and thighs (as you would expect) the pain in your shoulders, neck, spine, wrists and buttocks will be greater. If you start taking precautions early, you’ll definitely have a smooth experience.
Considering you will be cycling regularly (long and short distances), you have to buy a couple of things.
* First will be a cycling short. Why? When I cycled long distances the only real bothering was the pain in my butt. A real pain in the ass I mean!
The cycling short adds extra padding to your bottom and helps in preventing discomfort and numbness. It might cost you around 500/- to 1500/- for a good one.
* Your head is your most vital organ. You wouldn’t want to risk its safety. So, take time to buy a helmet. Also, the vents in the helmet help in the air flow and your sweating will be reduced. Remember to put a cloth over your hair to prevent hair damage.
* Next would be to buy a pair of gloves so that your palm wont twinge you. I prefer a biker gloves to bicycle gloves. The only problem with biker gloves would be with removing the glove every time you need to use your hands for say eating, handling phone, etc.
* If you are the kind of person who’s concerned about the tan ( I am!!) you need to buy a pair of sleeves and also a face mask to protect from the sunlight.
* To carry essential things like some fruits/nuts, phone, keys etc you either should have a rider shirt (which has pockets) or a light weight bag.
If you are tight on the pocket, of all the things mentioned above a helmet would be sufficient. Rest of them you can buy eventually depending on your commitment to the sport. I use a helmet, a pair of biker gloves, my laptop bag and a hand kerchief as a face mask.
Cycling Types :
There are different types of cycles suited for different reasons. For starters, hybrid bike would be a good choice and a good one would cost you 10,000 to 15,000 in INR.
* Single Speed Bikes : These are the regular bikes we see. They don’t have gears. Suitable for casual ride and exhausting on longer ones. I presently own a single speed bike.
* Mountain Bikes (MTB) : These are the bikes best known for off roading. It can handle all types of terrains.
* Road Bikes : These are the bikes on which fastest speed can be achieved due to their light weightedness, build dynamics and flatter tyres.
* Hybrid Bikes : As the name suggests these are bikes built for both on road (good surfaces) and off road (uneven and rocky surfaces).
Note 1 : Might be confusing if you never looked at a gear cycle.
Note 2 : 2-7 means 2nd gear on the front and 7th gear on the back.
Moving on now, what you need to know is how to efficiently shift the gears. If you do it correctly, then you can easily cover long distances without any fatigue. This is what helped me. (with respect to 3front gear + 7rear gear).
* Always shift the gears while in pedalling motion. Do not shift when your legs are stationary.
* Never have a higher front gear(3) and a lower rear gear(1,2,3) or a lower front gear(1) and a higher rear gear(5,6,7). This will create a lot of tension in the chain and it might break. But, for the front gear of 2 you can use the rear gear range from 1-7.
* Never shift directly from 3-7 to 2-7. Go down from 3-7 to 3-5 and then shift to 2-5 and then move to 2-7. Applicable vice versa for moving from 2-7 to 3-7.
When it’s Uphill :
Shift your gears down to 2-5/2-6(front gear-rear gear) 10-20metres before the incline.
If you shift early, then you wouldn’t face the extra effort you’d have to put when you shift late.
As you go up the incline shift to 2-4/2-3/2-2 based on your requirement. If it’s gets too uphill, shift the front gear down to 1.
When it’s Downhill :
Shift slowly from 2-x to 3-5 by the top of the slope. From there on, shift from 3-5 to 3-6 to 3-7. Though you might feel like just letting go, cycle hard in the slope. It makes a lot of difference in the pace you maintain. Trust me.**
Other things to remember :
* Always use your rear brake predominantly and use front brake only when it’s completely necessary.
When you use the front brake suddennly shift your body weight on to the rear wheel by moving your lower body to the back positioning it in the air.
* When I ride long distances, I usually listen to podcasts so that I focus on what’s being spoken and this takes away the pain from my mind. I rode 166km on an MTB for the first time with podcasts playing a major part towards the end. ( I love you Tim Ferriss).
* Don’t eat anything heavy before riding. Check for proper chain and air leaks.
Thanks to the Hyderabad Bicycling Club I’ve been cycling consistently for the past 6 months and completed 1500 km. My goal for the next one year would be 5000 km.
So, when are you going to cycle?
Hey there, check out this Youtube channel for proper guidance on cycling. Also check Meetup for cycling clubs near you. If you found this blogpost useful please like and put a comment below and also share it with your friends. Thank You!!
Foot Notes :
* Image Courtesy : Google
** Considering you would want the fastest time.