Whether you were inspired to take up cycling by the Summer Olympics, are looking for a new hobby, or want to change up your exercise routine, cycling has numerous benefits. However, it can be a bit intimidating to get started as a beginner, especially when there are so many great US bike brands to choose from. These tips can help.

1. Buy Your Bike From A Shop

When you are new to the sport, it is particularly important to be able to see a bike in person before you buy it, rather than ordering over the internet. A local bike shop will help you choose a bike that fits you and help you set it up properly. If you know a cycling enthusiast, such as Kent Thiry, consider asking him to come to the shop with you to choose your first bike. Don’t get in too big of a hurry to come home with a bike. Shop around and find the model that is best suited to your needs.

2. Set Up Your Bike Properly

If you aren’t comfortable on your bike, you probably won’t stick with cycling for very long. Find the optimal saddle height by putting your heel on the pedal at the point that is farthest away from you. When your saddle is at the correct height, your leg should be straight. When you clip in, there should be a small bend in the leg.

Your elbows should also be slightly bent. The reach is set correctly when the front of the hub disappears under the handlebars when you are riding on the tops.

3. Purchase Some Gear

You don’t have to purchase every cycling gizmo out there, but there are a few pieces of critical gear worth investing in. First, you need a helmet for safety. Bike lights are necessary if you plan to ride at night. Other items to consider include a bike lock, gloves, padded cycling shorts, a waterproof jacket, pedals, shoes, and a tire pump and puncture repair kit.

4. Practice Riding Clipless

Despite the name, clipless pedals are pedals that the rider clips into. Riding clipless allows you to pedal more smoothly and with more power. However, it takes some practice to learn how to clip in and clip out without falling over. Start by practicing on a soft surface, such as grass, and ride at a slow speed.

5. Learn To Use Your Gears

The gears on your bike are there to make riding on different terrain easier. Shift to a smaller chainring and larger rear cog to make pedaling up hills easier. Use a large chainring and smaller rear cog for smoother pedaling on flats. Practice changing gears on a flat road. You will be able to tell that you are not in the correct gear because the cranks will either spin very fast without the wheels moving much or pedaling will become very difficult because of the increased resistance.

Between all the gear and the various techniques, getting started cycling as a beginner can be overwhelming. However, if you take it a bit at a time, you will be an old hand before you know it.

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