20 steps to become a pro-level cyclist
Cycling is so much fun. Riding fast, attack the corners, the fly-over, and sprint for your life to the finish line you keep in mind. But buying a bicycle doesn’t make you a cyclist. In 20 steps, we will tell you how you can become a cyclist. Let’s go!
Check your bicycle first. Just look at it. Sounds like yoga, right? But seriously, just look at it. That thing against the wall, that bicycle, it’s yours. Together you will create a dozen of adventures. Make a connection with your bike. Give it a name and shout it when you need that extra energy when sprinting or climbing up a mountain. Believe me, it works. (Our bikes are called Lando, Addison, and Andy).
Be sure that the setup of your bike is perfect. Feel 100% comfortable with your bike. You are the next winner of the UAE Tour or the Heroes MTB race. But that will take some time. Be sure your saddle is not too high but also not too low. If your bike fit shows you 70cm, but you feel uncomfortable for the first time, put it slightly down. You can always raise the saddle at a later moment.
If you are used to a competitive fit, a racy position on your bike isn’t a problem. But if you’re new to cycling, don’t make your new friend too racy from the start. Just take a slightly more upright position, and put an extra spacer under your stem. Let your body get used to its new position.
If you ask the specialist, your bike needs to be perfect in terms of fitting. For your first bike, this can be different. You have to get used to the position on the bike. Get comfortable. First, make two or three rides, and discover your preferences. Get to know your bicycle. Does it not feel right, make some adjustments, try a more competitive position, just try. Ask your mechanic to make the adjustments. Or let them teach you how to do it yourself.
Find your fit? Take the measurements and write them down on paper or on your phone. Take notes of the height of your saddle. The distance between your steer and the tip of your saddle. Close with the distance from the middle of your steer to the ground. Tip: Place a little piece of tape where your Seatpost goes into the frame. If your Seatpost needs to go out of the frame. You can easily reinstall it in a good position.
Now we’re really getting started: Your first ride. Start off with an easy spin in the neighbourhood; make it, let’s say, one hour. This can feel strange and uncomfortable, but no worries. This feeling will make place for joy very soon. But if you really want to become comfortable soon. Read Step 7.
Look for a friendly and quiet place to do a lap with only right corners. Why right corners? In that case, you don’t have to cross roads.
Your first time with cleats can be terrifying. What would happen if you’re not able to click out? Don’t worry, you will get used to them very soon. Just start easy. Get on your bike next to a wall. Use the wall for stability, click onto your pedals, and Click in and out several times. Now go try to cycle. Keep a point in mind where you want to brake and click out. Now get on the bike, click in and try again and again. You see, piece of cake!
Just another essential fact, nutrition. Drinking is vital during cycling in the UAE. But grabbing your water bottle can be tricky and challenging. Looking down to find the bottle, one hand off the steer, drinking while keeping an eye on the surroundings. Practice makes perfect. Just look for a quiet road or an empty parking lot. Try to grab your bottle a couple of times. Now try to take it without looking. If you need to open the bottle, use your teeth while still looking forward.
Start your cycling experience with the use of the same track. There is so much you need to learn. Having the surprises of a new route will not help you find your joy. Get comfortable with the bike. Learn how to brake, steer, shift gears, ride with the pack, and drink out of this water bottle you need to grab from below. No worries, this will get an automated routine, but having an environment you know will make this much more manageable.
You can learn the cycling techniques. An empty parking area or a quiet road are good places to start. You can go there to practice your braking or shifting gears.
Start to cycle on your own or with one cycling buddy. Don’t start riding in a group. Too many people can cause tense situations. They will distract you and also demotivate you while you are in the process of getting to know your bike. Riding with a pack while you cycle for the first time will create unnecessary risk for you and the others.
Try to find some differences in height during your rides. So you can practice shifting gears and stand-up cycling. You can also practice the downhill. Brake a bit; using your rear brake, try to balance your braking.
If you are on flat roads, make use of the front brake. But never pull them to the max. Ensure your weight is behind the front wheel so as not to flip over. Practice this; it’s like riding a motorcycle. Try to learn how your brakes react while pulling it. Learn how hard you need to brake to make a stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re using rim brakes or disk brakes. If you’re going downhill, you use your rear brake. But braking too hard will result in a blocked rear wheel.
Do you understand your bike and feel comfortable riding it? Time to go with the pack. You will experience a new joy with cycling because riding in a group will make you go faster and more efficiently.
Riding in a group will make you learn new skills. You need them because you ride very close to others in a peloton. This requires practice. You can read this post 100 times, but the real work is happening outside. Cycling indoor? Good for your stamina, but you don’t learn how to steer.
Look for new tracks. Something a bit more challenging. More corners, more climbs. Change Meydan for Al Qudra or go to Jebel Jais or Jebel Hafit.
Riding an hour is better than no riding. But when you feel comfortable, you can extend your time on the bike. Go for longer rides. Increase the speed and the distance. Don’t jump from 40km to 160km in one go. Small steps will have a better result.
Don’t aim too high regarding goals in your first year. Consider it a year of learning. Try to keep cycling the entire year. In winter, go outside, ride long hours, and do some tours. In the summer, switch to short and early rides or go indoors. You can also try new disciplines of cycling. Gravelling or mountain bike, for example. So you learn more skills while still riding a bike.
Take good care of your bike. But the most essential part; ENJOY. You can cycle. It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride, as long as you are riding. Just start your cycling. You won’t regret it.