You don’t need an expensive bicycle to start cycling, you don’t need to look like a pro rider, you can keep it simple.

What you need is a plan, motivation, determination, patience and learn how to stay safe.  All you really need is a bike, basic safety equipment and the desire. The rest makes the process a little easier, but if you have those three, you can start and just build up.


   1. You will need a bicycle  whether it’s borrowed, used, or new, you need a bike. I was renting a bike, when I started and trying different saddles and positions. Make sure the frame size is right and that the handlebars and the  seat is set up for good body position/geometry. Most reputable bike shops have people certified to fit the bike. Lots of info is on the web concerning fit but I recommend you get an experienced cycle person (bike shop mechanic, salesman or fitness coach).  Does it have to be a fancy,  road bike? No. Many good riders started on something much simpler than what they ride now. Try first and make  sure  that cycling is asport for you and then you can invest in a good  road bike.  I could see it fulfilling another purpose as well. If I knew someone who was thinking of taking up the sport of cycling, I would recommend them to rent it first, to see if cycling is a sport they really liked before dropping a ton of cash on it.


 2. Cycling shorts or bibs. These don’t have to be expensive if you shop around and catch some sales. Could you get away with riding in some regular shorts? Yes but why would you want that pain?  If you don’t like the Lycra look put loose shorts on the top. If you ride a lot, you’ll appreciate the comfort, and protection, that padded cycling shorts give you. A cycling specific jersey isn’t absolutely necessary but can be handy because of the rear pockets and zippered front. You can have loose fitting top or the athletic type workout T-shirts. They work pretty good but don’t have the pockets. You can use seat bag to make up for not having pockets.


3.  A helmet. I’m not going to go into the debate if you should wear a helmet or not. My stance is that you should wear one. If you’re involved in an accident and want to protect yourself wear a helmet. Some places like Mallorca have laws requiring you to wear one so it’s not a choice. Make sure you try many before you decide which one fits the best. I don’t recommend to by one from sale, because the date helmet was made is important. You should replace your helmet every 5 years.  


4. Gear and knowledge to change a flat tire . You’re going to get a puncture, for sure. It may not happen on your first ride, or even your tenth, but it’s going to happen. When it does you need to be prepared. Some bike shops sell a seat bag that has everything you need to fix a flat tire – Spare tube, tire levers & CO2, which is great but buying that seat bag doesn’t get you the knowledge. To learn the basics you can watch a youtube video. Nothing’s as good as hands-on experience though. I recommend you take a wheel off your bike (the back since it’s harder due to the chain), deflate your tire, and practice changing tires at home. If you can, have a knowledgeable friend there to help your first time. You don’t want your first time changing a flat to be out on the road miles from home.


5. Basic cycling skills and knowledge. If you don’t know the basic skills then you’re not only a danger to yourself but to others as well. Some of the basic things you need know include: how to signal, how to ride in traffic, how to pass other cyclists and pedestrians, and local cycling laws. I also think it’s important that you know how to handle your bicycle before getting out on the road or near others. Things like emergency stopping, riding with a partner, and cornering  . Some of this stuff requires time on the bike but learning on your first group ride or on a busy street isn’t the right place.That is why I am starting a beginners camp using safe roads in Mallorca. 


6. A plan. Know where you are going, what you are riding on. How far you want go are you going to need water, and or food? What the weather might bring, the list goes on. To join an organized cycling tour is  great way to delegate all these worries, just get on the bike and let others to do the planning.   Everything we do you need some level of desire to accomplish it and cycling is no different. For some of us the desire is weight loss, for me is love sport,  love for cycling. Others  turned to cycling for low impact., because of injury or body limitation . To get out there and ride when you don’t feel like it or when the weather is bad,  you need goals and/or following a plan will certainly help with desire.

7. Shoes. When cycling you have three contact areas with the bike. The handlebars, the saddle and most importantly the pedals. This is where nearly all the force goes through to drive you forward so it’s important to fully understand why and how you can achieve maximum power through your pedals. If you are bigger, working on better balance, don’t worry about cycling shoes, trainers will do for while. Your time for clipless shoes and pedals will come.

Clipless pedals are a two part system for your bike. A small locking mechanism pedal that attaches to your bike, along with a cleat that attaches to the bottom of your cycling shoe. It may seem a bit scary at first having your feet attached to your bike but becoming confident with clipless hardly takes any time at all.

What are the benefits of wearing cycling shoes? There are many benefits of wearing cycling shoes rather than ordinary trainers along with pedals. The first of which is the stiffness produced through using cycling shoes. Trainers have a flexible sole that when pushed against the surface area of a pedal bend, this causes a lot of the force you’re using to be lost within the shoe flex. Over time this can lead to exhaustion and fatigue within your calves.

Cycling shoes provide a solid sole across the whole of the foot meaning the force through your legs is not lost in a shoe flex but is transferred straight through the pedal powering the bike forward. Cycling shoes will keep your foot in place, no slipping, more control , your feet are working against each other in order to keep contact with the  pedal. This can be particularly useful if you struggle with hill climbs.


8. Socks you will need socks, if you use cycling once or sport socks , long or short , is up to you. 


9. Gloves . I wasn’t sure why I really needed gloves before my first accident and landing on my hands. Cycling in Mallorca can be hot and sweat and your hands are slipping from the handlebars. For better comfort and safety get cycling gloves. 


10. Sunglasses.  I wear glasses when cycling mainly to keep the bugs (and other crud) out of my eyes. I have sunglasses for when it’s sunny to protect my eyes and for better visibility in certain light conditions. If you go for good or ugly look is up to you. 


11. Cycling computer. You don’t need a computer but they are nice toys to have. You can start with a really simple speed/distance/average speed. Basic function computers are pretty cheap. You can monitor your improvement, it is always nice to see how fast you are going and what distances you have covered. 


12. My last one is smile. You don’t need it, but you will have much nicer experience if you chose to smile and enjoy the ride. 



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