Cycling remains the best exercise for most people in these Covid-19 pandemic times. As a rule of thumb, every beginner should ensure they are ready for the ride in all ways. Road cycling for beginners calls for proper preparation to ensure a safe ride.
Before you go out for a ride, make sure to read the beginner bike riding tips. Also, ensure your bike performs optimally. Pump the tires to the correct pressure, adjust the saddle height, and dress appropriately. It is imperative to prepare adequately to avoid cycling-related injuries.
When you get ready, find cycling buddies. Together, map out your cycling path and establish the day’s challenge. Familiarize with cycling rules, and learn elementary repair skills. Bike riding is enjoyable, so let us begin the fun!
1. Road Cycling Posture
Riding calls for a relaxed and balanced body posture. The cycling experience is directly related to your alignment on top of the saddle. A good position is crucial for beginner roadies, although even professional riders still struggle with this skill.
Adjust handlebars and saddle height
For beginners, you must adjust the saddle height and handlebars appropriately. Your feet should stay flat on the pedals throughout the push and pull stages. The knees should track over the pedals and not bow out to the side when you ride.
A relaxed shoulder
Every beginner should learn to bring their shoulders down. Relaxing your shoulders reduces muscle stiffness and neck pains which come with poor riding techniques. It also frees the head, making turns and traffic look-outs easier. You are more alert on the ride with relaxed shoulders.
A relaxed spine
Maintain a relaxed spine throughout the ride by keeping it in a straight line. Your abdominal muscles should remain engaged all along. If this posture is not maintained, pressure distributes to your hands, crotch, and shoulders.
Maintain a straight line from elbow to fingers
A beginner needs to understand the essence of keeping a straight line from the elbow to outstretched fingers. Consult your mechanic if you find it hard to stay in this position. The brake lever or the entire handlebar set-up needs re-alignment promptly.
Bend your elbows
Similar to mountain-biking, bending the elbows when riding relaxes your forearms. Bent arms aid in shock and impact absorption. As a beginner roadie, keep the elbows tucked into the flanks. The posture immensely decreases pressure in your hands and side line shoulder strains.
Bicycles are custom-made for the beginner rider to travel over long distances in an almost always static position. There are many places to place your hands on the handlebars. The multiple handling allows for a change in the centre of gravity and flexibility in body positions. You actively engage different muscle groups in one ride.
A good, relaxed riding posture ensures maximum control of the bicycle. You can shift with ease and reach the brakes on impulse.
Keep your hands on top of the bars
Riding with hands on the bars exposes a beginner rider to various biking risks and minimized bike control. The position is not encouraged unless you have unhindered access to the brakes. Hands-on top of the bars is good for easy breathing and helps the beginner to recover. I discourage this posture while cycling in traffic or when descending.
You should strive to maintain the correct riding posture throughout road cycling. Ensure your bike first goes through a professional fitting to eliminate riding issues. Customized settings complement rider posture for thrilling road experiences.
Proper hand and wrist alignment
Keep a constant check on your wrist and hand alignments. Proper blood flow to the hands and feet is pertinent for ride comfort. Always ensure your core muscles remain engaged to take unnecessary pressure off your hands and shoulders. Road cycling should not leave you with numb hands, a stiff neck, aching shoulders, or injured feet and joints.
2. Road Cycling Nutrition and Hydration
The internet is awash with information on road cycling nutrition and hydration. A beginner is likely to get lost in the labyrinth of the many myths and truths. The information available is either conflicting, intricate, or simply too technical. Sports scientists and professional nutritionists offer concrete advice on the appropriate diet for road cyclists.
Maintain a balanced diet
I have developed a nutrition guide that is plain simple for beginners. Every roadie keeps a keen eye on their body fuel. I have drawn from elementary nutritional knowledge: the relevance of carbohydrates, the importance of proteins, the role of vitamins and minerals, and the need to hydrate.
I recommend every roadie to take small meals before, during, and at the end of every trip. Plain water is a must-have. Take regular sips of water or a sports drink. Your bottle holder comes to good use. Carry snacks such as cereal, fruits, or a nutritious sandwich in the backpack and make regular stops to replenish.
Supplements are important!
A beginner road cyclist will find a rainbow of sports diets and supplements. Energy bars, gels, and energy drinks for cyclists are available for purchase in your local sports shop. I urge you to take what feels most comfortable.
Your lifestyle demands and the average length of your road cycling are vital determinants when calculating overall calories requirements. Avoid lethargy and dehydration on every occasion by eating adequately.
3. Tips for Riding a Bike on the Road
Riding on the roads is a daunting task for a beginner. Your safety and that of other road users rest on you. A bicycle is a vehicle, and the beginner rider is its driver. Adherence to traffic laws is paramount. Flouting these regulations lead to dire consequences or hefty fines.
3.1. Road Cycling Rules - Traffic Rules and Regulations for Cyclists
Flow with the Traffic
Every beginner road cyclist should, at all times, flow with the traffic. Ride in the same direction as other road users. Cycling against traffic not only endangers road users but can also get you behind bars. Use designated bicycle lanes where provided.
While on the saddle, be predictable. Let the road users behind you and those in front get prepared for any action you are about to perform. Being unpredictable exposes you to risks or fatalities. Do not straddle lanes or weave in traffic unnecessarily.
Stay alert all the time you are atop the straddle. Look and confirm before making a turn. An alert rider yields to traffic and other road users whenever it is appropriate. Use hand signals to alert other road users of your immediate cycling intentions.
Brakes and Apparel
Equip your bicycle with an efficient braking system and a functioning bell. The beginner’s bike should bear a reflecting device at the rear and a functional lamp at the front. The pedals need a reflective strip, and some local authorities insist on mudguards.
Hands on the Handlebars Always
To ride safely, beginners must always have at least one of their hands on the handlebars. You contravene traffic rules if you allow other vehicles to tow you. Road cyclists should not push or carry objects that hamper their cycling or pose a danger to other road users.
Pushing the Bike
Whenever the beginner takes a walk or pushes their bicycle while on foot, they automatically become pedestrians. They may, therefore, make use of pavements but not motorways. I strongly call on beginners to check with the local authority for legal road cycling age limits.
Watch out for parked or stalled cars. The path you ride may, from time to time, have temporary barriers. Staying in control of the bicycle and always being alert helps you to avoid possible accidents. Keep enough distance while cycling behind vehicles.
Wear appropriate clothing, securely fastened to avoid pieces of fabric getting entangled or obscuring lights. Go for high visual clothing to ensure you can be seen easily.
Take extra precaution when approaching a bump, bridges, narrow sections, and other traffic slowing features. Overtake when it is safe to do so, and give clear signals in advance. You must not ride in an inconsiderate, dangerous, or careless manner.
Drug Use and Cycling
Beginner road cyclists must not, at any time, drive under the influence of drugs, drinks, or medicinal drugs. Obey all traffic signs and signals, including lights. Avoid cycling abreast long vehicles with a blind spot.
3.2. Road Cycling Terms
The hardest part about cycling for beginners is getting familiar with riding lingo. With little prior exposure, many cannot tell the difference between a derailleur and a sprocket. I am here to save you the embarrassment and put you on a level with the pros.
Bibs are cycling shorts with suspenders instead of the classical elastic waistband. Modern versions come with features such as adjustable straps or clasps for ease of attending bathroom breaks. Traditional shorts were prone to rider discomfort and chafing while the cyclists employed a bent-over posture.
Bonk, or hitting the wall, refers to burn-out associated with poor diet or hydration. When a beginner rider bonks, which is often, they need immediate replenishment. Rest, water, and high-calorie foods fight away muscle cramps or mental fogginess.
Brakes and Cadence
Brakes bring you to a halt or slow down your speed while cycling. Various braking systems exist in the market, including disc brakes and rim brakes. Cadence, or pedal revolutions made for every minute, is determined by the application of brakes.
Cassettes, Chainrings, and Crank Arm
A cassette is the collection of gear cogs placed on the rear wheel. The gears shift the chain up and down depending on the beginner’s riding needs. A cassette works in combination with chainrings, a set of metallic discs located next to the pedals with teeth for the chain. The discs connect to the pedals through a crank arm.
Clinchers and Derailleurs
Clinchers are standard road bike tires with a U-shaped rim and a tube.
The derailleur mechanism changes chain position whenever you shift gears. Most road bikes have two derailleurs.
The drivetrain is the entire mechanism that translates pedalling into motion.
Drops are those lower, curved portions of handlebars on a road bike. Fenders are removable mudguards, and they typically attach to the frame. The frame is the tubing that makes a bike’s skeleton.
3.3. Road Cycling Etiquette
Since the advent of road cycling, beginners have always conflicted with drivers. Sharing the motorway without cycling etiquette causes accidents. I call every biker to conduct themselves with utmost etiquette
Ride on the Road
I caution beginners to ride on the roads, not on sidewalks or pedestrian paths. Where a cycling lane is available, stick to it. If the motorway traffic is fast or the motorable surface too narrow, ride on the sidewalk at the slowest speed possible.
Flow with traffic
Observe the direction taken by other road users. Driving against traffic not only increases your accident chances but also puts other road users at immense risk. Users remain alert to users traveling in one direction. When encountered by an oncoming bike, their actions may not be in good time to prevent an accident.
Use Courteous Signals
Use courteous hand signals. Obscene or derogatory signage does not help anyone, and it may lead to horrendous reactions from other road users. Courtesy diminishes provocative mishaps on roads.
Give parked cars several feet whenever you are riding. Doors opening in a flash become immediate obstacles with the potential to cause a beginner roadie harm. Slow down and watch out for stationary vehicles.
Etiquette dictates beginner cyclists be mindful of their surroundings. Cycling with your popular lyrics thumping out of the headphones may look cool, but it is a recipe for disaster.
Careful Turning and Lane Keeping
Avoid straddling lanes carelessly or making stunt turns. Road cycling for beginners is potent with temptations to ease in and out of traffic whenever there is a snarl-up. Merge with the traffic instead, and keep to your lane despite the urge to be ahead of everyone.
Be consistent and predictable on the roads. It is boring to ride in a straight path and constant speed, but it saves many lives.
4. What is a Good Distance to Cycle for A Beginner? | Beginner Cycling Distance
Beginner road cyclists should learn to progress into longer ride distances. Starting small and growing into long rides is the best approach. Before beginning, it is imperative to select days of the week to get the bike out of the garage. The most appropriate days for beginners are the weekends.
Learn how to handle your bicycle
Dedicate the first two weeks to getting in terms with your bike. Limit the rides to 10-minute sessions on the initial rides, finishing the fortnight on 5-mile trips. Restrict your rides to familiar neighbourhoods where you know the route well. Ride at most six miles on the longer trips.
Increase the distance
Improve the distance gradually in the third week. I recommend you ride for two to three days the whole week while covering more than six miles on each trip. With growing endurance, a beginner should easily tackle 10-mile road trips in a matter of a month and a half. As the days pass, you should try out different road surfaces, terrains, and traffic patterns.
Planning does the trick
Changing from a beginner road cyclist to an accomplished rider needs proper planning and determination. Stick to your plan with religious discipline and make adjustments when necessary. Keep building on distance under diverse terrain, and try out other riding skills progressively.
5. Average Road Cycling Speed
There is no established standard cadence for beginner road cyclists. There exist many variables that influence the outcome. On a flat surface, however, I suggest 10 to 14 miles per hour for starters. Enthusiastic future bikers should start at this figure and increase with time.
Weather and speed
Some areas experience heavy winds or unrelenting downpours. Like their counterparts in extreme heat areas, these conditions leave the average beginner speed slower. The bike used could also hamper average cadence. Heavier versions are slower than their lighter kin.
Group cycling enhances speed
A beginner reports low average road speeds because their legs warm up to a ride just as their trip ends. The cyclist’s age also determines their averages. Pace-line riders also exhibit higher average speeds compared to lone cyclists.
Consistency is key
Due to the short distance beginner roadies travel and their lack of experience, many never make it past 10 miles per hour. I advise starters to maintain a consistent speed and avoid the instant dive into speed biking. Like distance, you achieve cadence over time.
All beginner road cyclists need to understand that a bike on speed is hard to control. It calls for expertise only gathered over time. The risks multiply when a beginner attempts pro speed. Enjoy the initial rides. Speed will naturally come to you with time!
6. How Many Minutes a Day Should I Ride My Bike?
Beginner road cyclists come to terms with their new activity quite fast. The initial days include sporadic ride times. The question remains: for how many minutes a day should I ride my bike? Are 30 minutes of cycling a day enough? Is 1 hour of cycling a day good enough?
Manage your time well
Every ride should start slow, and the first five minutes should act as a warm-up. The main phase is intense action, and the last five minutes should take the place of a cool-down or recovery riding. The length of time on the saddle depends on many factors, including age, health, climatic conditions, terrain, and availability of cycling time.
Gradually increase your time
In a three-day-per-week beginner cycling plan, the cyclist should hit the roads for a maximum of 20 minutes the first week. The orientation to road cycling means ease of burn-out. Ride time should increase gradually.
Cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes in the second week. The third and fourth weeks should find you doing a minimum of 60 minutes on the saddle without a struggle. Space the riding days for maximum effect.
Intensive riding for long as a beginner has its detriments. Take a mixed terrain and try to balance the time spent cycling. Average time on the saddle is an individualistic affair, and nobody should approach it with an aim to outperform another.
7. Road Cycling at Night
The last light of the day should not condemn riders to their beds. Road cycling at night for beginners is a great way to gain much-needed skills. An increasing number of night cycling events come up nowadays. Shed the fear, grab a bike, and let us go riding beyond the twilight!
Riding at night calls for mental strength. The noiselessness primes alertness and solitude in equal measure. With both flanks blanketed in blackness, the rider’s attention solely goes to the path ahead. With little light, even the most used route in the neighbourhood seem different.
Wear appropriate clothing
Night riding needs proper, reflective apparel and a companion. Pick out a route you are familiar with, and carry along a means to illuminate the way ahead. City roads harbour less traffic at night, making them ideal for speed trips.
Fix your rear lights
Rear lights are a compulsory fixture of night road cycling for beginners. Additionally, you can mount a helmet light to complement the front lamp. Reflective patches on hand gloves come in handy while signalling.
Before taking your gem out into the dusk, consider your safety and that of your valuable bicycle. Most bike thefts and cyclist attacks happen in the dark. It helps to inform those close to you of your whereabouts before the trip.
8. Why Do I Find Cycling So Hard?
Cycling belongs to endurance sports. Beginners find it a demanding task. Unless you join it from another sport, beginners express shock at how unfit they felt after the first few days. You will feel somewhat sick and unwell three miles into the trip. The below are some tips for a beginner to get better at cycling.
Mismatching gears is the number one hindrance to a smooth cycling experience. Inclines and rough roads have seen many a poor shifter hop down and push the bike uphill. Headwinds, heat, cold, and poor diet make cycling nastily painful. Pedalling in high gear for a long time makes road cycling for beginners very difficult.
The wrong posture makes riding so tasking. It is an activity physically demanding in nature, and muscle tension for a long time quickly leads to soreness and joint ailments. Out-of-tune bike adjustments contribute immensely to rider difficulties.
Invest in bicycle kits and accessories
Road cycling for beginners comes with a need to buy bicycle kits and accessories every so often. The equipment and kits, plus repair costs, do not come cheap. Many beginners are ready to auction their bikes moments after they receive quotations for kits and spares.
Poor cycling skills and out-of-shape riders weigh down the ease of road biking. The cyclist finds themselves working harder and ranking lower on efficiency. Learning how to drift with the wind, for example, significantly boosts your efficiency, unlike cycling into a headwind.
Road cycling is an aerobic, low-impact, healthy, and quick way to gain physical fitness for people of all ages. The exercise is fun, environmental-friendly, and relatively cheap compared to other activities. It is possible to incorporate healthy exercise, recreation, and sport into your daily routine.
The benefits of cycling include:
- Efficient body-fat burning and boosted cardiovascular fitness
- Decreased anxiety, stress levels, and improved tolerance
- Prevention and management of common diseases
- Improved coordination, joint mobility, muscle tone, and overall body posture
- Cheap weight management and eradication of obesity
- A composite way to undertake daily routine while exercising
- Riding causes lesser injuries and strain than other exercise programs
- Outdoor exercising keeps the hormones piqued, compared to other exercises requiring appointed times and specialized equipment
- The cyclist determines the intensity of their work-out and enjoys endless freedom
- Cycling is easy and calls for minimal physical and technical skills, unlike many other sports
- As a means of transport, cycling removes sedentary habits through engaging in healthy exercise
- Improves overall lower body function by working out leg muscles, hamstrings, quads, and calves
- Cycling is a necessary additive to the management of cancer recovery patients
- Boosts circulation and metabolism levels, making it a good start or the perfect clincher to your day
- An all-weather, all-terrain exercise given the rider dresses appropriately and adapts their bike
- Increases brain power through abetting the creation of new cells in the hippocampus region
- Road cycling improves the male rider’s sex life and suppresses menopause symptoms in women
- Pregnant cyclists experience less complicated labour, improves overall mood throughout their term, and faster recovery after their term
- Better workload management at work boosted motivation, and the ability to deal with job-related stress
- Road cycling eliminates mental blocks and eases decision-making processes
Road cycling became a fundraiser for the less fortunate in the recent past.
It develops a positive addiction and eliminates harmful dependency resulting in a healthier, happier person.
Social road riding widens the circle of friends. Get on the saddle and begin cycling pronto!
10. What are the Disadvantages of Cycling?
Although road cycling for beginners is laden with pros, it has its fair share of disadvantages. The positives outweigh the cons, but I find it necessary to prepare upcoming roadies for them in advance.
Road cycling exposes bikers to hazardous drivers. A beginner may ride cautiously but still encounter a drunk driver. Someone running lights or failing to give way may mean more danger to cyclists than to other motorists.
Minor obstacles on the roads that are barely noticeable by a car quickly turn disastrous to a beginner cyclist. Hazards such as snow, ice, heavy downpours, and strong winds expose cyclists. Prolonged exposure to extreme weather poses a grave danger to road cyclists even with appropriate clothing.
Expenses and Distance Covered
Beginner road cyclists meet unexpected expenses in the name of spares, parts, and accessories. Most road bikes have little storage space, and carrying many items becomes cumbersome. A bike can travel for so long, and long-distance travel is taxing.
Passengers, Riding Lanes, and Lights
Many road bikes do not have passenger-carrying capacities.
Lone cyclists are soft targets for bike muggings.
Many cities and towns lack dedicated rider lanes and trails. Using the open roads is another risk to cyclists. Bicycle lights are dimmer than regular vehicle lamps. It is harder to remain visible, and oncoming traffic poses the risk of glare.
Road cycling for beginners is the next best thing you should consider taking up. I have outlined the requisite body posture, traffic-related precautions, dietary needs, and essential details on night cycling. The health benefits of road cycling for beginners and riding disadvantages place much-needed information on the table.
The beginner bike riding tips are handy before you venture out into the open roads. The cycling lingo and their respective definitions help in understanding technicalities with your new bike. I recommended appropriate cycling lengths to guide newbies in their path to becoming pro riders.
Average cycling speed and night riding techniques propel a beginner to an informed, skilled, and road-ready biker. The incredible knowledge on average road cycling speed relieves cyclists of the pressure to perform. The guide tells beginners all the tricks to make a beginner enjoy and improve cycling.
The guide to beginner bike riding tips is a tool for every aspiring rider. Do get a bike, and meet the rest of your friends on the roads!