We asked our hugely-experienced professional riders from the CAMS – Tifosi team to ask for their top tips to share with novice or returning bike riders. So, if you know someone who is getting back on a bike for the first time in a while or has decided to make a change to their lifestyle, please share this with them.
Staying off public transport is recommended government advice as we all try and bring an end to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Please share this advice with anyone you think might benefit and we’d love to hear your own advice too.
Find a quiet route where you can be comfortable riding if you are new to riding or coming back to the sport. Search for routes on ridewithgps.com or on komoot.com. Even if it means putting your bike in the car and driving to the route, it’s worth it for the quiet roads.
Knowledge is power when it comes to bike maintenance and how to fix your bike if you were to get a puncture at the side of the road. Once you are comfortable with how to make basic roadside repairs it gives you a big confidence boost and means you can ride comfortably alone if you wish. A lot of local bike shops run beginner friendly bike maintenance evenings where you can learn these skills. Some even run women’s only evenings. If there are none near you, Global Cycling Network (GCN) online maintenance videos are pretty good too!
Also, find other people to connect with such as at your local British Cycling Breeze rides, or local cycling clubs often have a beginner or novice, focused group.
It’s a big help to start out riding with someone and if it’s a nervous rider coming back from a crash then the same thing. Lots more fun, motivating and safe to head out with a friend or family! Also stick to simple, safe routes if you’re just starting out as you don’t want to end up on a busy road which can really put you off…(speaking from experience!)
My advice for something nervous starting would be to join a group/club. Go out with others (as soon as we are able to safely do so in these current times) for security, advice and support. It also makes it a sociable experience which can take away some of the anxiety or fear as you’re too busy talking about what cake you’re going to have at the cafe.
Going on some technical trails on the mountain bike really helped me. You feel safer on an upright mountain bike and normally you are going slower so it’s good to get back into it.
Buy a Tifosi bike of course! Always take an emergency energy gel. If riding in a group, push the bike forward as you stand up so you don’t take out the person behind. Have someone you can contact anytime in case you have a mechanical
Start off staying local and riding routes close to home. This way if there are any issues then you can always get home. Riding on bike paths rather than roads may help too. Especially if riding in traffic makes you feel nervous. The Taff trail in Cardiff is where I used to ride when I was younger and not so confident on the roads try to ride with a more confident/experienced friend or family member that can encourage you and help you feel more confident.
It’s worth investing in comfortable clothing for a comfortable ride. Find some nice peaceful roads and enjoy the view and try to find a good local club run, a good network of like-minded riders to help you along the way.
Peter Hudson – team psychologist
Start with something very easy- ideally quiet, flat traffic-free route away from other traffic/pedestrians, and practice getting on/off, starting stopping, emergency stop, turning right and left. Be able to ride one-handed in order to make turn signals. Have someone more experienced with you if possible for moral support. Make sure position especially saddle height is correct for safety, and obviously make sure bike is well maintained and safe.
Get used to keeping balance and be able to stop and put your foot down quickly if needed. This will build confidence for busier situations. Again have someone with you if it helps. Then gradually step by step increase exposure to pedestrians, traffic other bikes etc. but only when you are confident at the level you are at. If cycling on road a quick look at highway code not a bad idea with regard to positioning at junctions, traffic islands etc for those who haven’t ridden for a while.
Would advise bell or other warning systems as likely to be lots of pedestrians/dogs on cycling routes. Do whatever else feels helpful for confidence, for example, hi-vis riding gear or a crash helmet.