Start cycling? Avoid these common mistakes
If you're just getting into cycling, you may already have read up on things like what kind of bike you need and how to set it up. Yet there are things that almost all novice cyclists forget to take into account. We've already made the mistakes so you don't have to. Therefore chosen symbolically; the thirteen biggest beginners mistakes in a row.
1. On an empty stomach
It is true that it is better not to exercise on a full stomach, because your body is still busy digesting the food. This can lead to cramping and nausea. However, what is also dangerous is exercising on an empty stomach. Especially since cycling is an outdoor sport where you are far away from home (and therefore cannot walk to the kitchen in between), it is important to have a good meal before you start. Wait an hour after eating before cycling.
2. Bringing too little food for the road
It is therefore important to go out with a good basis in your stomach. But especially if you drive a longer ride, it is important to also take food with you. A muesli bar is not enough to give you energy when you exercise for three hours. So make sure you bring some sandwiches, for example, for the strong appetite on the way. Of course no heavy meals, so you don't have to take a long break before you can continue cycling.
3. Do not carry a spare tire
Nothing is more annoying than a flat tire. And a racing bike is not the same as a city bike, a flat tire is unfortunately just that little bit more common. So make sure you bring some extra wristbands so you don't have to walk back home for hours. You can also save yourself an expensive taxi ride or an awkward phone call.
4. Go cycling with the wrong cycling clothing
It is important to wear the right clothing while cycling. Choose quality so that you are comfortable. It is also important to keep an eye on the temperature. Below 18 degrees it is strongly recommended to wear arm warmers. If it is too hot for you, you can always take it off again.
5. Not cleaning your bike properly
A good road bike is an investment. And although you may not feel like cleaning your bike after hours of cycling, it is advisable to do this regularly (every ten rides). You want to prevent wear and tear as much as possible so that you can enjoy your bike for longer. When it rains, for example, it is important to clean your bicycle chain . Saves you a lot in the long run.
6. Braking too hard on your road bike
It may sound logical, but a new bike always takes some getting used to and as mentioned before, it's not the same as a city bike. Your racing bike is much lighter and your brakes may also work a little more sensitively than you are used to. The center of gravity of your racing bike is in the back, so it's generally better to use your front brake just a little more than your rear brake to avoid skidding. However, use both brakes and not just the front brake, because if you only press that you run the risk of flying over. And of course we want to prevent that.
7. Cycling without a helmet
If you do fall off the bike, it is extremely important to wear a helmet. You drive hard, so unfortunately you also fall hard. It may take some getting used to such a helmet, but nothing is worth risking your health. It is not (yet) mandatory to wear a helmet on a racing bike, but we strongly recommend it. Make the helmet part of your cycling outfit and always cycle safely.
8. Not taking the sun into account
To elaborate on the subject of safety; don't forget to wear sunscreen on summer days. You are active outside for a long time, so you can burn quickly. Even if you naturally have dark skin, it is always important to apply sunscreen when you are in the sun for a long time. The advice is to lubricate every two hours, so be sure to take a small bottle with you on a really sunny day.
9. Start too fanatically
You are probably super excited to start cycling. That's great, of course, but take it easy building up your ride. Trying to set the fastest time every time is not the best way for your body to get in shape. In fact, you can actually only cause injuries. The best advice we can really give you here is to use a training schedule and build up your training gradually. Don't forget the wind, because although the way there may go smoothly, the way back can sometimes be disappointing.
10. Cycling in the wrong gear
Although (or perhaps precisely because) the Netherlands is generally nice and flat, many cyclists still ride in too heavy a gear. This causes unnecessary exhaustion, so you get tired sooner and may be inclined to stop earlier. Therefore, always check whether you don't cycle more comfortably in a lower gear.
11. Wear underpants under cycling shorts
Perhaps quite ordinary, perhaps totally surprising; you should not wear underpants under your cycling shorts. This is not comfortable because the fabric of your underpants will rub. And we've mentioned it before, comfort is important. So leave the underpants at home!
12. Forgetting to unclick when getting off
The first few times it always takes some getting used to that you have to click out when you want to get off your racing bike. The Dutch are of course so used to cycling that getting off is unconscious. However, if you do that when your feet are still stuck on the pedals, you will fall sideways very quietly. So keep it in mind when you see the traffic light coming in the distance.
13. Consuming alcohol before (or during) cycling
Alcohol and sports don't mix. You are much less fit, which means that you perform worse, and in addition, your reaction time deteriorates, which means that you are more likely to end up in an accident. So save the beer for afterwards! And although a beer after cycling should be fine, alcohol also hinders your recovery. So think about your progress and drink in moderation.