The Five Mistakes Every New Cyclist Makes

Riding a bike and becoming a cyclist is often a big step into the unknown. It’s only natural that you would make mistakes when starting out. Here are some of the mistakes that every new cyclist makes to help you start properly.

1. Riding Too Much

As someone newly experiencing the joys of cycling, you might be tempted to ride your bike for as far and long as possible. This isn’t a good idea for beginners. It takes time to build up tolerance and resistance to cycling, such as spending time sat in the saddle and overall endurance. You’ll build endurance better by taking frequent short rides rather than infrequent long ones. Cycling too much hinders your progress and could put you off biking.

2. Getting Too Hot or Cold

New cyclists tend to wear just the one waterproof jacket if the weather gets bad or just a t-shirt when the weather is good. However, layering is the key to maintaining an optimal body temperature for every ride. Start by putting together a base layer to wick away sweat and work from there. Build on the first layer with gilets, jerseys, leg warmers, arm warmers, soft shells, and windproof or waterproof jackets as needed. Wear breathable biking clothes to allow perspiration to escape and add or remove layers if you’re feeling too hot or cold.

3. Buying All Their Kit Online to Save Money

Cycling can be an expensive hobby. There’s nothing wrong with buying some things online, but some things are only worth getting if they fit you and your needs, such as clothes and upgraded bike parts. Instead of saving some money by shopping online, it’s better to get the value of visiting a bike shop and talking to an experienced member of staff who can help. It might cost more financially, but the guidance you get – and the better-quality gear – is more than worth it.

4. Hiding at the Edge of a Road

Have you ever heard the expression that if you give people an inch they’ll take a mile? This applies to road space. If you stick to the side of the road because you are embarrassed, nervous, or scared of other road users, they will try to squeeze against you when they don’t have enough room to do so safely. Hiding at the side of the road is also putting you in danger because other road users don’t expect to see someone that far to the side of the road. They might not notice you. It’s better to ride about a metre from the kerb and have more confidence in yourself.

5. Obsessing Over Being in a Cycle Lane

Being in a cycle lane doesn’t necessarily mean you are safe. A combination of lazy drivers and poorly designed infrastructure means that some bike lanes aren’t fit for purpose. Take a good look at the lane. If it doesn’t let you ride a metre from the kerb and allow cars to pass safely, then avoid it or ride on the outside lane. This forces drivers to give you enough room instead of thinking that it’s fine if they don’t go into the lane themselves.

Lena Patel

I had my first taste of road bicycle racing when I was fifteen years old, now many years later I still get that magical sense of euphoria every time I prepare for a race.

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