Most of us are introduced with the skill of riding a bicycle as kids, but this skill can turn into a hobby, a passion, and even a sport. Cycling is a great way to have fun and stay in great shape so it’s important to know where to start, and how to begin.
There are a lot of possible reasons why you would want to start cycling. It might be because your friends encouraged you to do it, it could be because you developed a fascination with bikes, or maybe you just really want to see what the hype is about.
In any case, it’s important to know as a beginner what type of bike you want to get. Many types of bicycles exist, but mainly people start cycling with either a road bike or a mountain bike. If you're a nature lover, and a thrill seeker- a mountain bike is perfect for you since it's best for off-road cycling but can also be utilized in roads, it's flexible that way. But if you want to cycle for speed and prefer riding in smooth pavements and tracks, a road bike would be a great partner to start with.
Here’s where to get your first bike if you’re in Pampanga: link
The most important thing to have available if you want to begin a hobby or passion in cycling is of course, a bike. Next thing that follows is a great helmet. It’s really important to invest in a good helmet that will last and keep your rides safe for a very long time.
Starting can cause others to rush into buying and completing cycling gears such as carbon parts, bike shoes (cleats), jerseys, etc. Budget wise, it would be better if you start to borrow bikes and other equipment at first, just so you can get a proper feel of cycling. Once you really get into it, that’s when you can properly start investing your money into the sport.
You should think of buying a bike and your gear with the long-term in consideration to avoid unnecessary upgrades and purchases in the future. Shop with the idea that you can satisfy your cycling needs for a long time.
Remember that it’s okay to start with what you have and what is available, then eventually you can start to invest in more of these equipment. It would be wise to learn to love the hobby first before actually spending too much.
Some important question you want to ask before you start cycling,
"Why do I want to cycle in the first place? Is it for health or is it purely recreational?”
With the right goal in mind, you can set your pace and motivation better.
Knowledge is highly important. Cycling can be pretty competitive if you want to introduce it to yourself as a sport, so learning as much as possible will really help you find your way to the top, and of course into the heart of cycling. Just don't forget to use that knowledge responsibly, because if you get too obsessed with data, it could lead to information overload or losing interest overall.
To avoid this, you can start with the basics and garner more information overtime. Road courtesy and road safety are some of the basics you should really learn. Since accidents and errors are no stranger to cycling, learning certain basic maintenance and troubleshooting skills for your bicycle such as replacing a bike tires, cleaning, right amount of tire air, using the right chain lubricant, and more, could really save you a lot of money and trouble, especially when you’re riding alone. But of course, these can only help you so much. Don’t forget that you can always consult experts in shops and have your bike checked, that is totally normal, even for veterans.
Here are common misconceptions and mistakes that beginners usually don’t avoid.
Patience is very important, but sometimes it can get pretty challenging to stay patient when we are excited, especially when you see your own progress. As someone who is just beginning, you should always know your limits.
You must avoid comparing yourself to others in terms of speed and performance. Stick to your own pacing, and steadily rack up your speed overtime. After all, we don't want to reach an early burnout and get tired of cycling earlier than expected. As the Vice President for Internal of TriClark-Scania, Peng Garbes Ng, said:
“Take it slow, relax and learn to enjoy it first, find your comfortable spot.”
Although cycling can be a very fun group activity/sport, it’s alright to practice alone at first instead of having to keep up with veterans who can ride a 100km with ease. It’s healthier to start practicing by yourself than to feel left behind and pressured. Don't be obsessed with improving your speed in a short span of time. Keep in mind that even professionals took their time in attaining what they can do now. Focus on being realistic and avoid having such high expectations from yourself. Being competitive is great but keep it real.
“Rather than being a fast cyclist, focus more on being more realistic” - Vice President for Internal of TriClark-Scania, Peng Garbes Ng 2022
It’s very important to keep your progress in check, you can do that by downloading certain athletic apps that are able to accurately track your development. Strava is popular now and is highly suggested for this kind of purpose. It's very user friendly and it even incorporates social network features that would be great for you and your fellow cyclists.
It’s also important to figure out where to actually start cycling as a beginner. You want to avoid challenging tracks and roads at first, especially when learning to start with certain bike types and gears. It’s recommended that you start with a smaller, safer and a more confined space such as villages and housing subdivisions. This way you can avoid heavy motor traffic and other busy road hazards such as people crossing, bystanders, etc. Once you get the hang of it, you can start exploring more and try new challenging tracks, such as off-roads, highways, downhill/uphill tracks, and more.
If you're residing in Pampanga or just looking for a great place to ride, Clark, Pampanga is one of the best places you can try. It's bike friendly, it has a lot of routes with great views and destinations, a lot of places you can rest and eat for stops and breaks, and the roads are generally safe because of the well implemented traffic rules and conditions. It's so safe that even young cyclists can ride in it.