Real riders offer their essential tips for beginners

Cycling Plus's Facebook fans dish out words of wisdom to new riders for Get Britain Riding

Every cyclist, at some point in their life is a beginner. In fact, many of us are beginners more than once. Sure, we learned how to ride when we were kids so we don’t need stabilisers as adults, but many of us lapsed when other aspects of growing up got in the way of riding a bicycle.

And that means that when we do swing our fully grown legs over a top-tube for the first time in years we are really starting again. If that sounds like you then read on, as we asked Cycling Plus’s Facebook fans if they remembered the first time and the best advice they’d give to new riders.

“Don't over complicate things. Get as good a bike as you can afford from a reputable dealer, but then just enjoy it. Don't think you've got to buy hundreds of pounds worth of kit just to get out and enjoy the countryside. Keep it simple!” Ian Chedzey

“Have fun! Whether it's purely for fitness, to ride sportives, race or even commute, never forget to smile, wave, respect other road users and enjoy yourself.” Tomas McCabe

“No matter where you go, what you do, how quick you are, or what you ride, remember, riding a bike is one of life's simplest but greatest of pleasures.” Stephen Clark

Ride what you like, when you like, as far as you like, as fast as you like

“Practice clipping and unclipping from your pedals and unclip to avoid an embarrassing fall in the public (been there, done that).” Mani Juhu

“Be prepared to replace your entire wardrobe, because after a year or so everything will be too big everywhere except for around your thighs!” Phil Keymer

“Find a comfy saddle then break your arse in gradually; remember to look up and enjoy the scenery; you don't have to spend a fortune on kit and look out for thorns and broken glass.” Jonathan Buckley

“Don't expect to ride too fast to begin with. You'll get there, see it as a journey and enjoy it.” Jeremy Phillips

“Ride what you like, when you like, as far as you like, as fast as you like. Just ride and enjoy it and everything else will follow!” Mike O'Driscoll

“When you first start cycling it's hard. It feels like it's never going to get easier but trust me it does eventually.” Lynette Hutchins

“Don't wear boxer shorts under bibshorts!” Julian Pickles

"Build things up very gradually. If you go hell for leather you'll end up injuring yourself and hating the bike. A low and slow approach is crucial to building your biking muscles again." Ruth Armstrong-Buisseret

Can you help us get more people on bikes? Whether you’re a keen cyclist or a complete beginner, we’d love you to get involved in our Get Britain Riding campaign, which we’re running in association with B’Twin. Click here to sign up!

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Rob Spedding

Editor-in-Chief, Cycling Plus, Cycling Plus Magazine
Editor-in-chief Rob has been pedalling Cycling Plus since 2007. His first proper road bikes were a Raleigh Sprint in the early 1980s and then a Trek 1000 in 1999. A former competitive runner, Rob has repeatedly threatened to become a competitive cyclist in every discipline from time-trailling to hill climbing to bike polo. We're still waiting.
  • Discipline: Road. Mainly commuting but with the occasional mountainous sportive that he'll complain about/fail to complete. Enjoys cake stops. Will never, ever do another triathlon after a bad experience in open water.
  • Preferred Terrain: Gently undulated roads – he's more of a rouleur. Likes gravel.
  • Current Bikes: BMC Alpenchallenge, Viner Perfecta, BMC Granfondo GF0, anything shiny that Warren Rossiter will allow him to ride
  • Dream Bike: Bianchi Specialissima, Raleigh Banana
  • Beer of Choice: Innis and Gunn Original
  • Location: Bath, UK

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