A couple weeks ago my Facebook memories showed me a post from 5 years ago. It was a sad moment, I had planned on biking down to a festival but at the 5 km mark I had to stop. I ended up going home defeated with a sore backside.
It was a rough start to re-learning to cycle. To be fair to my 5 year ago self I had made some classic mistakes. I wasn’t wearing chamois shorts and got blisters in my groin. My 20 year old mountain bike wasn’t fit to me. I also had no idea how to effectively use my gears as I mistakenly thought I should mash my pedals in the highest gear I could use.
After that experience Sam reached out to offer riding with her and that was the first step to me re-learning to cycle as an adult.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about things I would tell that past me. If you are looking at cycling more or trying it for the first time you may find these thoughts helpful too.
So, my dear past self, I wish you knew:
- Wear cycling bottoms commando (no underwear). Be nice to your body parts that come in contact with your saddle and don’t worry about how it looks so much!
- Accept the offer to ride with experienced cyclists sooner. They will coach & cajole you into a sport that you can continue a very long time.
- Buy the big bicycle tire pump right away. Don’t run to the gas station every time you need to ride your bike! Air in road tires is VERY IMPORTANT.
- Wear a cycling jersey. It keeps you from getting a sunburn on your lower back/upper butt and is more comfortable than anything else. Honest.
- Buy the gloves. Your hands will go numb and that is no fun. You are working hard on your bike so being comfortable is super important.
- Listen to advice, try it. Not all of it will work for you so keep the ideas that do and dump the rest.
I would never have thought it possible to go from being destroyed by a 10 km ride to doing 100 km in the same year. It really is about time on the saddle and I was pleasantly surprised how much I’ve taken to riding my bike.
Sam has written before about how the fall is a great time to get into cycling and I’d have to agree. It’s beautiful in Canada this time of year. I hope to see you on your bike!