New to cycling? Start here!

Words by Aaron Scott

on 29/08/2013 14:53:00

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Whether you've decided to get a bike to enjoy the great outdoors, get to work, get a little fitter or have adventures, cycling can be enormous fun. Here are our top tips to get you out pedalling in comfort and style! And don't forget our LoveCycling blog - it's packed with cycling advice and ideas.

What to get

It's possible to start cycling with a cheaper bike, but if you're planning to ride on a regular basis, lighter weight frames such as aluminium, carbon fibre or titanium can help you most.

These days bikes come in many shapes and sizes, but if you're just starting out, we suggest you opt for one of these three popular styles: mountain bike, road bike or hybrid bike. The best option for you will depend on where and how you plan to ride: if you'll be doing all your pedalling on roads, a road bike will get you there quickest. If you prefer going off the beaten track along bumpy trails, go for a mountain bike. If you fancy doing a bit of both, then as long as the off-road terrain's not too uneven, a hybrid bike is your perfect choice.

How to choose the right bike for you

At Rutland Cycling, we're here to help. In fact, we've been helping people discover their pedal power for over 30 years. We'd love to share our passion and knowledge with you - no question is too small or silly! Visit us, call us for advice, or follow our easy step-by-step guide to finding the right bike for you.

One option worth considering is to buy an ex-hire or ex-demo bike from us. Our quality range of hire bikes includes mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrid bikes. We replace our entire hire fleet each season, so you can pick up a nearly-new model, fully serviced, at a very reasonable price.

How to learn

If you live near one of our cycle centres at Rutland Water, Grafham Water or Fineshade Wood, come and join us on one of our regular rides. Novices - and those getting back into the saddle - are very welcome! Our rides are all free to take part in, or you can hire a bike from us at a discounted rate. We organise specific rides for women and 'silver' (aka older!) cyclists. All our ride information, including dates, routes and meeting points, can be found on our Rides and Events page.

Alternatively, consider joining a local cycling group. You don't need to be an expert cyclist, and tips and activities with other people will help you stay motivated and may even help you enjoy the sport more.

British Cycling also organise free Sky Ride Local rides for different abilities: and free Breeze rides for women:

And if you're considering riding for charity, check out our helpful blog posts on how to pick a charity and the 7-step charity bike ride plan.

How to enjoy your ride

Here's a quick checklist to help you increase your riding comfort and avoid common cycling complaints.

  • Stay hydrated before, during and after your ride - check out our range of water bottles and hydration packs
  • Wear a helmet to protect your head (see all our helmets)
  • Change your hand and body positions regularly to prevent stiffness
  • Keep arms loose and elbows bent to absorb the shock
  • Avoiding pedalling in a high gear for long periods of time, to avoid knee strain
  • Ride the correct size bike: come to any of our shops and we'll make sure you're fitted up with the right-sized bike for you. We also offer a full bike fit service in our Giant-Rutland store. Alternatively, see our online bike sizing guides
  • Wear the right clothing: padded shorts are a good start, and hi-vis clothing will help you 'be safe, be seen' on the roads. Read our Guide to choosing the right cycle clothing for more top tips
  • Invest in a decent pair of cycling shoes: whether you opt for standard cycling shoes or a clipless shoe/pedal system, using a shoe designed for cycling will greatly improve comfort...and help you go faster!
  • Invest in a good saddle: we offer a saddle fit service in all our shops

How to look after your bike

See our blog article 'How to maintain your bike' for some handy tips