Advice for a new cyclist?

Well not completely new, I used to have a mountain-bike but gave it up in favour of running because I felt using the bike took much longer to get the same level of fitness.

Due to sickness I’ve taken no exercise for the past four months and was shocked today how out of shape I was when I tried to restart.

So I’m thinking of buying a bicycle to ease myself back into things?

Any advice, that is all, thanks!

Helmet, gloves, hi-viz shirt, lights, pump and patch kit(and know how to use them).

However, be aware that the fitness from cycling will not translate well to running. Your heart/lungs will be stronger but your legs will still not be adapted to running.

i would say to just run, accept your current lack of fitness and rebuild.
You will regain fitness much faster than the first time around.

I am an avid cyclist and was one long before I started running a few years ago, and I have to agree with runner pat - running helps your cycling a lot more than cycling helps your running.

That said, I do think cycling has a place in a runner’s routine - it is great to work out lightly a day after a long run, and it is always good to mix-up your workouts. If you are just getting back into shape, cycling can be really good for the cardio, but you are going to still have to run if you want to get back into running.

Bikes are also good for transportation as well, so I will always encourage people to get a bike!

Get a good pair of bike shorts.

A high cadence is almost always better than a slow one. It is immeasurably better for the long-term health of your knees to spin fast in an easy gear than slow in a difficult gear. If you get a bike computer with a cadence meter, you will be surprised how strange spinning 100 rpm feels if you’re used to 60 rpm. But get used to it if you can. You will want a bike with low-enough gears, such as a third chainwheel with a granny gear, so you feel only a little resistance at a high cadence. Especially if you will be riding in a hilly area.

Thanks for the answers everyone!

That all depends on how hard you ride. I’ve heard people say they don’t get fit riding and that it is too easy. It’s only easy because they are plodding along at a low speed. If you put the same effort in so that your heart rate gets as high as it does when you run then you can get the same cardio fitness improvement in the same time. An hour of interval training on a bike is great for your fitness. I definitely agree that it does nothing for your running muscles though. Cycling and running use different muscles and muscle fitness doesn’t translate well from one to the other.

Advice: Have a good hard think about how you are going to ride and get a bike that suits. If you won’t be doing any trails at all you might like a dedicated road bike, you will go faster which means you can cover a greater distance in a given time and see more scenery. If you will doing a little bit of dirt riding but mainly flat non-technical stuff and you will be predominantly on the road, a hybrid might be the way to go. It’s bit heavier than a road bike but with a less aggressive riding position. I made the mistake a long time ago of getting a hybrid when my riding habits really dictated I should have got a road bike. I ended up buying a road bike a few years later so getting one to start with would’ve saved me money.

Whatever you get, no bike is “easier” than another, they just go different speeds for a given effort level, therefore you can get the same fitness from riding anything as long as you put the same effort in. The ultimate truth for all exercise is that it never gets easier, you just get faster.

You can pay a lot of money for minor increments in bike technology. The law of diminishing returns applies. You will get the best value from mid range stuff. It will be well built, ride/shift smoothly, and last a long time without breaking the bank.

If you find yourself turning into a weight fanatic (paying significant money to lose a few hundred grams from your bike), just remember that you can get the same weight reduction by eating a little less for a week ;).

Find a really good bike shop. You will recognise this because there will be a good variety of bikes from cheap to expensive and from mountain to road. The staff won’t talk down to you because you don’t shave your legs, but they will know what they are talking about. This can be difficult to find but once you find one, stick with them, and support them as well as you can because you will need their expertise from time to time. I buy some bike stuff from cheap online stores that bricks and mortar stores just can’t compete with, but I make sure to make regular significant purchases from my bike shop because I need them to stay in business. In return they give me a good discount and good service.

Whatever you do, don’t buy a bike from a department store.

Agree with the advice to use a high cadence (>80 rpm). however using a low cadence at times can be good for strength training but it is hard on your knees so do it with caution. When climbing hills, sit down and spin primarily, but you might like to standup with a lower cadence every now and then to use different muscle groups. If you do this, click up a couple of gears to make up for the lower cadence you get when standing.

Get clipless pedals and shoes, they are great for increasing your efficiency. This applies whether you get a mountain bike, hybrid, or road bike. I would suggest that over anything else that serious cyclists do (eg wearing lycra, drinking lots of coffee, shaving your legs.)

If you aren’t into the lycra look you can get “shy” shorts that look like normal shorts externally but have lycra and padding on the inside.

If you get padded shorts don’t wear underwear with them. The primary purpose of the padding is to wick sweat away and help prevent saddle sores, underwear interferes with this.

What kind of bike this time, mountain or street? If rode on the streets, don’t wear headphones, have a rear view mirror, be extra vigilant for cars, drivers are more distracted than ever before, especially the drivers on their cell phones.

And a Leatherman, or at least a knife. You may have to cut pants or socks out of your bike chain, or your bike out of something tangly and a screwdriver comes in handy if you have to tighten or loosen or otherwise adjust something.

Also, make sure you have your cell phone on you if you have to call for help, and if you intend to go mountain biking or riding in otherwise rural areas, a GPS can save you if you get lost or you need to tell someone where you are. In fact, I have a friend who was running on a nature trail at a state park. She stepped in a hole and broke her ankle. She used the GPS on her phone to tell the ranger exactly where she was, which saved a LOT of time in getting her to the local ER.

[quote=“Richard_Pearse, post:7, topic:680244”]

Get clipless pedals and shoes, they are great for increasing your efficiency. This applies whether you get a mountain bike hybrid, or road bike. I would suggest that over anything else that serious cyclists do (eg wearing lycra, drinking lots of coffee, shaving your legs.).[/QUOTE’v

I have spent several years in the cycling industry, and IMHO everything Mr. Pearse has written is right on the mark.

A few things I would add that I don’t think have been mentioned. If you are getting a road bike, the absolute most important thing is fit, so finding a shop that gives a free fitting with a road bike purchase might be a good idea. Unfortunately getting a proper fit is not as simple as telling a salesperson your height; there are several measurements that come into play - especially leg and torso length. Also, there are many kinds of road bikes - touring, cyclocross, race, triathalon, so the ideal size may be different depending on what kind of bike you get.

As for as bikes go, I wouldn’t get overly hung up on brand; as far as I know, a few factories in china and Taiwan make the frames for almost every major brand. At the mid level oftentimes the only difference between brand A and brand B is the paint and decals.

Please be aware that when you first start using clipless pedals you and the bike WILL fall over, so, if you are easily embarrassed you may want to practice alone in a parking lot. In the same vein, you may want to avoid elitist cyclists for a while, they can just make you depressed or irritated; please try not to become one also.

Beginners often start out with a triple crank, but a compact road crank might also work well for you. If you get serious you would really be better off with a double crank.

Have fun!

“Ride lots.” – Eddy Merckx

Almost all of this advice is good, especially about finding a LBS! About the only other thing I would recommend over and above upthread is a decent hydration pack, not only because thirst can catch up with you, but also gives you a lot of pockets for things like a spare tube/ or a patch kit, bike tool, change and a $20 bill, and also some have a dedicated spot for your phone. A good pair of glasses for riding are also indispensible as I’ve caught more than a few bugs and dust when I haven’t used them. I used to spend megabucks on Oakleys/Killer Loops/Smith and such, but now I use Uvex safety glasses. Better adjustment, the same lens clarity (and UV protection), a variety of styles and $20.
I would also say to have a look at cyclocross bikes; almost road speeds and you can still use them for light trail use. Kona and Specialized both make some nice ones below the $1k mark.