Getting started with cycling
If you read our last blog about the many different cycle routes in and around Garstang, you might well fancy getting back in the saddle.
But where do you start?
How do you take up a hobby that you may not have tried since childhood?
Where do you get a bike from?
And what is the best way to get started safely?
In this blog, we’ll help you get back on your bike so that you can enjoy the many health benefits, and the great pleasures, that come from taking a ride.
Why should you cycle?
Cycling is great exercise, especially for older people, because it is non-weight bearing, so it is gentle on your joints. Nonetheless, cycling can still be a great workout, playing a part in your recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. Regular cycling can help prevent heart disease and strokes and can even help you avoid chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes. Fresh air and exercise are also great for the mind, with all those endorphins keeping you feeling young, healthy and happy. You can read more about the benefits of cycling on the NHS Livewell website and Change4Life pages
Choosing a bike
If you are not sure about cycling, it’s best to start with a second hand bike, rather than jumping on to an expensive new one. Just remember to get it professionally checked and serviced before you hit the road to make sure everything is safe and working as it should. Alternatively, you could borrow a bike from a friend or hire a bike to try it out before you commit.
Once you have decided to take up cycling, it’s best to buy your bike from a specialist cycle shop. They will be able to give you all the advice you need on style, size and price. Most shops will have staff who are used to beginners, so you won’t be dazzled with jargon. You get what you pay for with bikes, so make sure you set your budget beforehand or you could get carried away.
You can find advice on buying a bike on the WhyCycle and BikeRadar websites.
If you haven’t been on a bike for years, then there’s no better place to start than the quiet roads and cycleways of Woodlands. You’ll soon get your confidence and be ready to head out onto the local lanes. It’s best to build up slowly, or you’ll know about it the next day, but give it time and you’ll soon be heading off to the rolling roads of the Trough of Bowland.
Before you set off, always check your bike thoroughly to make sure it is safe. Check your tyres are fully inflated, your chain is well oiled and your brakes work, both front and back. You should also put together a small emergency pack to take with you to make sure you don’t get stranded, including a replacement inner-tube or puncture repair kit, and tools to get your tyres off.
Even on the quiet country roads around Woodlands, safety is still top of the list for all cyclists. It is best to wear a helmet and make sure you can be seen by wearing bright clothing, or better still a reflective jacket or bib. You should also check that your bell is working, so you can alert pedestrians who may not hear you coming on a quiet country lane.
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