Getting the most out of your new bike
Hopefully you’re out enjoying the great British summer on your new bike! Here are our top tips to help you get the most out of your shiny new steed, including advice on clothing, nutrition and maintenance.
1.Eat and drink plenty
When you’re cycling regularly, your energy and fluid requirements increase, so you’ll need to eat and drink more (even if you’re cycling to lose weight). Drink little and often – water is best, or use an electrolyte sports drink if you’re cycling in the heat. Remember to drink plenty before your ride, and keep sipping afterwards, too. A couple of water bottles that fit to your bike frame are a handy way to carry enough water for a longer ride.
Check out our Ultimate Hardware Alloy Bottle Cage - £0.49 and Cycling bottle plus cap – White - £0.49
Food-wise, porridge and pasta are good, healthy pre-ride foods to keep your energy up. During the ride, top up your energy levels with a piece of fruit (bananas and apples are good and can be slipped into the back pocket of your jersey), cereal bar or energy gel.
Browse our large selection of energy food and gels.
2. Stay comfy in the saddle
If you’re packing in the miles on your new bike, it’s fair to say that you might find yourself with a sore bum (even Wiggins gets it!). Here are some cycling wardrobe essentials that will get you riding in greater comfort and safety.
Ask any cyclist – a good pair of padded shorts are a vital part of your cycling wardrobe. Padded shorts make a huge difference to saddle comfort (even more so than a gel saddle). Padded cycling shorts protect your cheek bones with a thick layer of gel so you’ll feel like you’re riding in an arm chair.
View our high quality and optimum comfort Alturas Progel Shorts – Black - £35.99
These are really important to stop your hands going numb and keep them protected. Gripping onto handlebars can be tough on your skin and on the nerves that run through your hands. A nice pair of padded gloves helps to prevent against this. They’ll also keep your hands warm as you speed down the hills!
See our Gelert Challenge Fingerless Gel Mitts - Black - £3.99
Helmets are an essential and invaluable piece of kit – despite what they do to your hair! But did you know that cycle helmets lose their strength over time, and should be replaced every 2-3 years? You should also replace your helmet if it’s been in an accident. The good news is that the only difference between a £15 helmet and a £150 helmet is comfort – there are some excellent deals out there on good-quality, good-value helmets that will keep you safe without breaking the bank.
Have a look at our Giro Skyline Helmet - £12.99 and our 2013 Specialised Sierra Women’s Helmet - £29.99, Both of which offer fantastic comfort, durability and style.
A good soft-shell (lightweight, breathable, windproof and shower proof jacket) is a wise investment, even in summer months. Made from Gore-Tex-type material, a softshell allows perspiration to wick away from the body, while keeping rain out. Many also have venting options such as pit zips, vented backs and even removable sleeves to help you maintain a comfortable temperature during a ride.
And if you’re riding in traffic, go for a hi-vis softshell so you can ‘be safe, be seen.’
Browse our extensive range of softshell jackets by following this link
3. Look after your bike
Getting a new bike is an exciting time; the bike feels tight, responsive, smooth, and easy to ride. However these characteristics can fade over time if a bike isn’t maintained properly. Here are a few quick steps you can take to keep your bike running smoothly.
1. Keep your tyres pumped up.
A compact hand pump is great for emergency repairs on the road but only a proper track pump will get your tyres to the right pressure. Did you know that an underinflated tyre will make your bike slower to ride, less responsive and more likely to get a puncture? We recommend keeping road bike tyres pumped to 80-100psi and mountain bike tyres 30-40psi [hybrids will sit somewhere in between, depending on where you’re riding].
Spend a moment looking at our Birzman Zacoo Mini Pump (12cm) – £12.99 and Beto Steel Track Pump/ Bicycle Floor Pump- £12.99, which are specifically designed for quality and ease of use.
2. Keep all the moving parts cleaned and lubricated
If your gears get dirty and grimy, all that dirt will gradually rub into the gears and wear all the components out, meaning they will need replacing much sooner. Dirt will also mean that gears don’t shift as smoothly and will crunch, grind and jump. If you haven’t already, it’s worth investing in a basic cleaning and maintenance kit – £44.99 to help you maintain your bike.
Browse products that combine reasonable cost with incredible cleaning power: The Muc-Off Nano Gel Bike Cleaner Concentrate 500ml - £8.99 and The Ultimate Hardware Bike and Chain Cleaner Kit - £3.99
3. Service your bike regularly.
Much like a car, a bike needs a regular service to keep it in good, smooth riding condition. Did you know that every time you use your gears or brake cables, they stretch slightly? This means that over time, they will get clunkier and less responsive. Regular servicing will keep gears and brakes tight and in good condition, and all parts will be checked, cleaned and lubricated. We recommend a service 1 month after purchase and then every 6-12 months after that, depending on use.