If you have been inspired by the 'Tour De France' and considering taking up cycling, then read these top tips written by Loren Ward, Head Coach, from Passion Fit Coaching. Passion Fit coach athletes from novice to professionals, including the current Ironman Lanzarote champion and bike course record holder. So, you know you are in good hands when reading these top tips...
In Loren's own words;
"Inspired by the Tour De France to take up cycling?
Here are some of our top tips to get you started:
When making the decision to take up a new hobby, taking the appropriate steps to ensure you are set up for success, and more importantly enjoyment, is key to your consistency and sustainability. This guide should help you do just that:
1. The right equipment!
It’s crucial that you spend a little bit of time researching or seeking the advice of an expert to ensure you are investing in the right equipment choices for your individualised goals or purpose. For example, buying the bike that the tour de France cyclists ride might look really cool and be really fast but may be extremely costly, impractical, unnecessary and uncomfortable for most people’s needs. We recommend visiting your local bike store or recruit the help of someone like Lydia Dant from ‘Passion Fitting’ who can give you professional advice and guidance specifically for what you are after! Whether you’re looking to simply commute to work, compete in a triathlon, a road race or time trial or to ride offroad – these would all require a different types of bike and set up.
2. Plan Your Route
One of the biggest barriers and challenges I hear from people is their nervousness to ride on the busy UK roads. There is nothing worse than accidently ending up on a busy road with impatient drivers rushing to work. So, my advice would always be to plan your route. Something so simple. Plan your route to avoid busy main roads, especially at typically busy times of the day. You may be amazed how much more confident and calm you feel having it clear in your mind what route you’ll take, where to go and that you’ll be able to avoid these stressful situations.
3. Fixing a Puncture
The last place you want to find yourself is stranded on the side of the road with a puncture. So, ensure you spend some time understanding how to fix one (or have someone on standby to collect you!). You can invest in some low cost, simple equipment you can keep in your pocket to help make this process even easier. We would recommend a few basics such as:
- A tyre plug (Used for tubeless tyres)
- A C02 canister & adapter
- A small pump
- A spare inner tube (if your wheels are set up this way)
Practice repairing a puncture at home before heading out for your first ride. Being clear in your mind what you’d do in this situation can reduce a lot of stress and anxiety.
4. Basic Bike Maintenance
Keeping on top of some basic bike maintenance can make all the difference when it comes to the running of your bike and having to spend money to replace worn parts. By following a few simple steps at the end of each ride, you can avoid that additional time and costs:
- Rinse and wipe away any mud, dirt or dust from your bike with warm soapy water after each ride.
- Make sure you dry your bike with a cloth or towel afterwards to avoid any parts of the bike rusting by leaving it wet.
- Once the bike is dry, use a bike specific chain lubricant to re-lubricate the chain.
There is a lot more you can add to this process but, this is a great start point.
5. Fuelling Your Ride
If you are planning to head out for a ride, taking the appropriate fuelling with you is a must and completely controllable. Depending on the length and intensity of your ride as well as how well fuelled you were prior will depend on how quickly you burn through your energy and therefore how much fuelling you need. Hilltop energy gels are an easy, practical and all natural way of helping to avoid the dreaded ‘bonk’. So why not keep one (or more!) in your pocket to prevent this happening."