The pace at which cycling has gripped the British public is nothing short of astounding, and after a few decades of relative obscurity, cycling has again captured the imagination of the people. Bradley Wiggins is perhaps the British cyclist who has done more than anyone else to encourage people to get on their bike, and if you are motivated to start riding on two wheels as a hobby, here are some important things to bear in mind.
The Right Bicycle
Like any other leisurely pursuit, having the right equipment is essential, and the most important addition will be the bike. Assuming you will be riding on roads, you might want to consider a basic road machine, which would have at least 15 gears and with disc brakes front and rear, the bike would be adequate for the first few years. Some riders prefer a hybrid mountain bike, which is something that can be ridden on or off road, and is a versatile machine that is more rugged that the road machine.
Riding a bicycle on the public roads does require certain essentials, and with a quality safety helmet at the top of the list, you will also need a cycling jersey and some shorts, and let’s not forget decent shoes, which should be comfortable and offer good grip. One might be forgiven for thinking that any T shirt and shorts would do, and there is no need to buy expensive cycling clothing, but the fabric used is designed to keep the wearer dry and not restrict movement. The shorts are especially important, and the wrong material or size will cause the skin to become irritated, as there is a high level of friction involved in the peddling process.
Some riders like to know exactly how fast they are going, and also the distance covered, and there are small but accurate devices with easy to read LED screens that can even give you an average speed over a long distance. You can also order a device that will measure your heart and pulse rate, which comes in handy if you are interested in such data, and you can even configure Google maps for directions while bike riding, so getting lost is not an issue.
Water Bottles and Lighting
These are both essential, and many riders will fit two separate water bottles to the frame of their bike, as long rides do require that the rider stays hydrated, and with water bottles attached, you can take a drink without stopping. There are reflective strips sewn into cycling jerseys, which help motorists to see you, but you are strongly advised to but an LED front and back light, which are easily attached to the frame.
One should gradually increase the riding distances, to allow your body time to become adjusted, and over a period of a few months, you should be able to manage a 40km ride, at your own pace, of course.