If you are a beginner in cycling or wish to start riding soon, then congrats for a decision you will be proud of. At this stage, you are probably wondering whether cycling is for you and let me tell you that the higher odds are it is! You will not only build your stamina, strength, and fitness but also improve your mental and psychological health.
A common question during this time is ‘how long should a beginner cyclist ride’. Well, there is no exact answer because every individual has different levels of fitness, stamina, and skills. On average, we suggest 30 minutes of daily cycling using a beginner’s road bike at moderate speed. You may then try and increase the speed to 45 minutes as you increase your stamina.
If you plan on using a bike to commute to college or work then you don’t have much choice because you will want to cover that fixed distance. For those who wish to start cycling to improve fitness, lose fat, or for recreation purpose then there’s no fixed limit. However, we suggest that you avoid over-exerting your body as this can be bad for your health.
Each Cycle And Cyclist Is Different
You should also consider the amount of beating your bike can take. Not all bicycles are equal. Some are built to cover longer distances in the smooth and clean city roads, but they can’t fare well in the rough terrains. Mountain bikes, on the other hand, are designed to take on the rough, rocky, and bumpy roads with equal ease.
As a beginner, cycling may feel a little overwhelming but as you get comfortable you will realize there’s so much adventure in store. In this post, I am going to share some useful tips that will make riding less stressful and more fun for beginners. Later in the article, I will also explain how you can boost your stamina, improve your speed and increase the distance you cover.
Beginner Tips That Make Cycling More Fun
#1. Adjust the seat height
A new cycle comes with default settings that need to be adjusted based on your requirements. If you get pain on your knees from cycling then probably the seat is too low and your knees under-extend while pedaling. A wrong saddle height can not only cause pain in the knees but also put you at risk for potential injury.
You will know you’ve got the right height when your knee bends slightly when you are at the bottom of the pedal stroke. The pedal movements should not rock your pelvis area. If you still can’t figure out the right height, take your cycle to a local bike shop and they can help you adjust the saddle. You may ask the staff to lean the handle bars towards the side where you prefer to put the foot down.
#2. Don’t go overboard with the gear
You don’t need to stress on a fancy gear to become good at cycling. While the modern equipment and gears are useful and fun too, not all are meant for beginners. When you are starting off, we would suggest that you get good quality basic level cycling shoes if you plan to ride within city.
If you wish to take the rough terrains, spend slightly more for a good pair of mountain biking shoes and sturdy helmet. Fancy clothes, expensive shoes and other things can wait until you are more confident and street-smart.
#3. Are you comfortable?
A new bike needs some break-ins and adjustments to ensure that it fits you well. If you are not comfortable, you will not enjoy your time on the saddle and chances are you will not have many ‘happy days’ with it. The two most important things for comfort are seat height adjustment and proper reach. We have already discussed the former in the first tip.
For better reach, ensure that your torso and arms make a 45-degree angle on a beginner’s road cycle (this may change slightly for other types of bikes). Anything more will have your back stretching extra to reach the handlebars . Less than 45-degrees will have your knees too close to the arms, resulting in an uncomfortable ride.
#4. Taking care of your bike
You have to be a professional to know how to take care of your bicycle. With routine maintenance and care, you can increase the life of your bike and it’s various components. Lubing the chain yourself will save a lot of money and headache. Maintaining the right amount of air in the cycle tires will also make riding easier and more comfortable.
Maintaining your bicycle isn’t that hard and there are a few things that can help you make less trips to the repair shop. Stick a tape around the seat post to ensure that the saddle stays in the same height. Clean and grease the seat post at least twice every season. Remove the dust and dirt from the chain, lubricate the chain, between the side plates, and under the roller.
#5. Pick your bike wisely
If you are a beginner or learning to ride a bike, we would suggest that you practice in a second-hand or old cycle. The market is full of an array of different bikes to meet the specific needs of diverse users, so you will need to consider many things. Your age is an important factor and although we think you are as young as you feel, getting an age-appropriate bike will give you better control on rough terrain.
You should also tune the cycle correctly according to your height, riding style and so on. Adjust the position of pedals and handles accordingly. The pedals should be correctly aligned so that your feet can rest easily on them without slipping. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. The seat should also be properly cushioned if you wish to cover a long distance.
#6. Don’t forget to carry a patch kit
If you planning to go on a trail, always carry a patch kit (see Amazon) to ensure that you have an uninterrupted ride. Tire punctures have usual timings and there seems to be a flat tire problem just when you were beginning to have the time of your life. With the right tools such as a mini-pump, tire levers, a spare and a patch kit, you will be able to get back on road without wasting much time.
#7. Always remember to ride upright
Beginners often struggle to get this position right. To keep the bike balanced you need to maintain an upright back position and your muscles need to work harder for this. This may lead to muscle fatigue in longer distances. Hence, we suggest you to focus on building your stamina and be aware of your position while riding.
#8. Avoid steep inclines
When you are a beginner, we would suggest that you practice on roads that have slight inclines. Make sure you never push yourself hard through roads that have steeper inclines and always avoid heavy traffic areas when practicing.
#9. Be consistent
If you wish to improve your game, remember to be consistent with your practice. We suggest that you practice moving around obstacles such as stones, trees, and even the traffic cones to gain more confidence. You should also maintain a training routine and ride regularly to gain confidence and improve endurance.
How You Can Increase Your Distance
As mentioned earlier, beginners need to start with a 30-minute ride and take things slowly without rushing to build stronger stamina. Once you get used to the bike, get more confident with balancing and maintaining speed, you may then consider increasing the distance. Make sure you do this gradually and adjust the speed slowly.
On day one, ride fast for about two minutes and then slow down to a more comfortable level. On day two, try to maintain a fast speed for 5-10 minutes and then get to your comfort zone. In the following days, you may try increasing the ‘fast speed’ window but gradually. Remember to slow down as soon as you feel your body getting tired.
We also suggest you to try cycling on different terrains to build up your stamina and skills. Riding on a smooth city road with less traffic and obstacles allows you to cover a distance quickly. When the traffic is high and roads not that smooth, things can get a little bumpy. Similarly, riding on a rough and mountainous terrain is a different ball game altogether.
What to look for in a beginner’s road bike?
When you are just starting off, we suggest that you look for the best bike frame and fork combo in your budget. You may also want to consider the groupset or gruppo, but this is not essential. You don’t need to worry much about the tires, wheels or spare parts as they will eventually be replaced. Just get a good lock for security and a pair of cycling shoes to ride comfortably.
What is the good range for a beginner’s bike?
You can find a quality road bicycle for less than $300 if you have a tight budget, but this lack some useful features. Some of the expensive models may go over $1000 but when you are starting off, we suggest getting a low-cost bike. For a starter road bike, we suggest you find a sweet spot between good quality and reasonable price.
Which style of bike is best for a beginner cyclist
If you are learning how to cycle, we would suggest that you get a basic road cycle like this. The mountain bikes are harder to pedal on road and they are slower on the pavement. Their biggest benefit is that you can use them on a variety of surfaces and enjoy a comfortable ride on various surfaces. The hybrid bikes are faster and easier to pedal like road bikes, and they have the versatility of a mountain bike, so you may upgrade to these once you improve your skills.