New to the cycling world? You’ve come to the right place…
Ireland is booming as far as cycling is concerned – whether for work commutes, leisure or general fitness purposes, more and more people are getting in the saddle.
We have a wealth of beautiful backdrops and routes for people to explore and we’ve got better over the years in ensuring cyclists are safe and respected on the roads. All we need now is better weather – but even climate change couldn’t fix that one!
Anyway, if you’re getting serious about getting on your bike, you’re about to be absolutely bombarded; with training advice, information on supplements, the bike you should get, the smart watch you need to get, and lots more besides.
To try to streamline matters, we’ve put together a simple list of things to take your cycling to the next level without overcomplicating things – or leading you to financial ruin!
The first questions you’ll face ask is how much training you should be doing. How many days a week should you be out on the bike? What sort of rides should you be undertaking? Do you need a supplementary weights programme in the gym? The list goes on…
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but the first thing you need to prioritise is your time. Ask what you can realistically commit to, and then stick with that plan.
And while you can hit the gym to develop stamina and power in your legs, but most advice will tell you that the best way to improve your cycling is – drumroll – cycling. Yeah, it’s that simple.
An extra session or two a week will make a huge difference if you’re only beginning, and you can build from there to work on your speed and endurance – this will be where you’ll see your progress.
We’ve covered some aspects of nutrition ( link here), but the bare bones will always be that a healthy and balanced diet won’t steer you far wrong. Fear no food groups, but instead see your food as a fuel source that directly affects your performance on the bike.
Using apps like My Fitness Pal will help track your intake, and point towards where you might be able to improve food habits. Also, hydration when you’re out on the bike is key, but generally improving your water intake will benefit you in many other ways too – so go gung-ho on the H2O!
Bikes and accessories:
Avoid the temptation to spend huge money on a new bike if you’re very new to the game – if there’s nothing wrong with the one that you have, then stick with it until there’s good reason to make a change.
The same goes for accessories, where the clue is in the name; we’ve compiled a list previously of things you need (link here), but most gizmos and gadgets are just optional additions. What is imperative is safety; your helmet, appropriate lights and reflective clothing, and a bell.
The last word is all about the last thing you do every day – hit the sack. Avoid the temptation to over-exert yourself and completely ignore rest and recovery; they’re as important as your training, and cycling when you’re not in shape to do so won’t help anything.
Knowing when you’re physically and mentally tired – as opposed to feeling a little lazy– can be a learning curve, but listen to your body and heed the signs. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day; consistency and sustainability will get you long-term results – and you’ll continue enjoying your cycles too!