5 beginner cycling tips from an Olympian and Australian Mountain Bike rider

Apr 7
3
 min read
5 beginner cycling tips from an Olympian and Australian Mountain Bike rider

If you’re just getting into riding, you’re probably getting a lot of advice.

To help you through the overwhelm, we asked Olympic mountain bike champ Bec McConnell for her top 5 tips for when you’re just starting out.

1.   Wear a helmet

Like, every time you’re on your bike. No excuses. I’m blown away by the number of people who still don't wear a helmet. Given all the current knowledge and research about concussions, it’s crazy to think you don’t need one. Ultimately, it comes down to image, and you need to put your ego aside.

A friend of mine recently crashed her bike cruising the beach bike path. Her casually riding amongst pedestrians, checking out the view and not paying attention is probably a higher risk than me taking on a World Cup MTB circuit because mistakes happen most often when you’re not focused on what you're doing. And if experienced professionals are wearing helmets, then what makes you think you’re more qualified to go without?

2.   Choose your outfit wisely

Think carefully about the clothing and equipment you’re using. Always wear enclosed shoes. The last thing you want is to slip a thong and end up with your toes in your spokes or crunched in your chain.

Purpose bike shoes with cleats are good for more intermediate to advanced riders, but whatever shoes you wear for day-to-day walking are fine when you’re starting out.

Make sure your clothes are practical too. Choose fitted clothes, so they don't get in the way of your pedalling or moving around the bike if you're going off-road. If you’re planning to get into a bit of riding, the first item you should invest in is a good pair of bike shorts with a chamois (the padding you sit on). They will change how you see that bike seat, and you won't get any chafing. And no, you don't wear undies underneath them!

3.   Get the right bike

If you’re looking to cruise up and down the beach, around the lake or on the bike paths, there are a variety of bikes that suit your needs, from commuter bikes, townies, road or mountain bikes. If you’re looking to get more into one kind of discipline, you need to choose more carefully. If you’re looking to go mountain biking, make sure your bike has suspension and suitable tyres. Don't take your townie or commuter bike onto the trails, it won't end well.

It's also important to make sure that your bike is the right size and is set up to fit you well. Can you get on and off safely? Can you reach the brakes and change gears? Your local bike shop can help you get this right.

4.   Start with a ride at your level

Pick a relatively flat ride if you're not feeling super fit and you’re just starting out. Don't overdo it on day one. Go somewhere familiar where you’ll feel comfortable. If you’re heading out on the trails for the first time or you don't have much experience, familiarise yourself with the trails. Most places have a map online and trail information through the bike park or local riding club. Understand the different levels of trails, from the easier blue and green trails to the double black diamond trails for experienced riders.

5.   Go with a friend

Riding a bike is such a fun and social experience. I’ve met most of my best friends through our shared love of riding bikes. It's also an empowering and great sport to do alone. But when you are starting out it's safer to go with a friend in case anything goes wrong. You can learn, encourage and challenge each other and share in the fun and joy that bikes bring. It's also nice to stop for a coffee, drink or meal at the end of the ride. Very cycling culture!

Ready to ride?

We hope that Bec’s tips have got you pumped to get out and feel the wind in your face and experience the pure joy of a cycling high. And if you want extra peace of mind while you’re a cycling noob, check out Flip’s accidental injury insurance. Get cash payouts up to $20K if you come off your bike or just trip over the dog on your way out the door. Learn more here.

 

5 beginner cycling tips from an Olympian and Australian Mountain Bike rider

If you’re just getting into riding, you’re probably getting a lot of advice. To help you through the overwhelm, we asked Olympic mountain bike champ Bec McConnell for her top 5 tips for when you’re just starting out.

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Tell me more about Flip? 

Drop us your email and we’ll tell you about the latest ways Flip is helping people do more of what they love.

Privacy: Flip collects your personal information that you provide in this form for the purpose of providing you with information about Flip products, services and promotions. If you don’t provide your email address, Flip won’t be able to contact you about these matters. How Flip collects, uses, discloses (including overseas) and keeps and secures personal information, how to request access to and correction of your personal information, how to complain about a privacy breach and how this is handled, and how to opt out of direct marketing, is explained in the Flip privacy policy.
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