A guide to cycling

Published June 29, 2014

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Before you get on a bicycle to start riding, there are a few essential steps you need to take to get off to a good start. Be sure to invest in a bike that will support your training. A road bike is a likely option, but if you want to be able to take it along mountain trails too, you can talk to your local bike shop expert about hybrid options.

Once you have the right bike, you’ll need to set it up specifically for your body – this includes adjusting the saddle so that your feet can only just touch the ground when you’re upright. Too high and your hips will quickly become sore with the extra movement, too low and you won’t be able to use your muscles efficiently. It can be trial and error so adjust the seat until the level feels right.

Make sure you have the right safety gear too. A decent helmet, reflector lights and hi-visibility clothing are all important out on the roads, especially for those cycling at dawn, dusk or during low visibility. Don’t forget to pack a basic repair and medical kit to look after yourself and the bike if you take a fall.

The next step is to simply get on and ride, remembering to use hand signals on the road when appropriate. Depending on what you’re working towards, start with shorter trips and work your way up to longer distances over planned intervals.

Bone health, strong muscles and a balanced diet full of vitamins and essential nutrients such as calcium are key to building up the strength and stamina you will need to improve your ability to cycle further each time.

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