Your goals as a cyclist might probably shift with time. You might start with the idea of leading a healthy lifestyle or just a way to commute and get a bit more exercise or to get into long-distance cycling. It won’t be a surprise when you find yourself surrounded by lycra-clad men and women sipping on ‘cutting chai’ and debating over Shimano and SRAM groupsets. That’s when you realise, you belong here. And this is what you are made for!
But if you are after fitness, then the benefits of cycling are myriad.
Let’s ask a few questions to ourselves before we get into cycling?
1. Why am I riding?
Like we said before, figure out the reason why you want to start riding.
- Is it because you need to start leading a healthy lifestyle?
- Is it because you want to commute and avoid the peak traffic?
- Do you want to get into long distance cycling?
- Do you want to go cycling across India?
Whatever the reason might be, find it and then chase it. But with a plan.
2. What type of cycling should I buy?
Depending on what your goal is, choose a bicycle accordingly. If your purpose is fitness, a basic bicycle under INR 10000 should suffice your need. If you want to get into long-distance, consider looking at these bikes that are good enough to get you started.
3. How much should I spend on my bike?
The answer to this certainly varies from cyclist to cyclist. Your spending will depend on the type of riding you would want to do and how deep your pockets are. There’s a bike for everyone out there and for every purpose.
4. Does my body type affect what I can do on a bike?
Your physical make up plays a major role when it comes to your prowess as a cyclist. If you find it hard to put on weight, (muscle or fat), then you’re an ideal climber. (power-to-weight ratios are key and (thanks to gravity) less weight equals more speed).
If you are an endomorph, you would certainly want to take advantage of your speed. Sprinting and short time-trials are what you just be acing at.
5. Will a helmet save my life?
In a country like India, riding without a helmet is certainly not a good idea. Don’t take us wrong, we love our country as much as you do. It’s just the infrastructure here isn’t at its best for cars or even to walk, let alone cycling. Wearing a good helmet will surely protect your head from getting smashed. Besides, it will make you feel confident too. So ensure to get yourself a good helmet that’s certified and offers safety.
6. Where should I go cycling?
As you’re about to start off, begin with places that are safe and are often ridden by the cyclist. Riding on these roads will also give you a chance to meet other cyclists who you be your cycling buddy.
If you live in Mumbai, here are a few popular spots to go cycling.
If you live in Bangalore, these places are worth cycling …
7. How to go about buying a bicycling?
Make sure you do your research well. Get familiar with a few cycling terms before entering any store. Here are a few that you should know.
- Groupset: Collective noun for gears and brake
- Cassette: Rear gear
- Chainrings/chainset: Front gears
- Derailleur/mech: Mechanism that changes gear
- Deep sections: Wheels that have a deep rim
- Cadence: Pedalling speed (revs per minute).
There are many other terms like Bunch, bonk, sprocket, aero, bibs, fenders, fixies, half wheel and many more. Read them all here.
8. What are the accessories that I need to buy?
As you’re starting off, buying the best of the best won’t make sense. You will need the basics. A helmet, padded shorts and a tail light is a must. Even gloves and cycling glasses. Rest is luxury!
Here’s a list of cycling accessories that you should consider looking at.
9. What should I eat?
If you are going to ride a shorter distance at an easy pace, it’s alright if you head out by drinking a cup of coffee and eating a banana. Just make sure you eat something, no matter how small the ride.
A cyclist usually requires high amounts of carbs for cycling, here are some of the best sources of carbs.
And when it comes to recovery, protein is essential.
Here’s where you can get them from- Check them 0ut!
The best balance is to eat carbs and protein. For instance, porridge and omelette for breakfast. If you’re going on long rides, you can consider eating muesli. Also, consider carrying sports bars and carb drinks.
Click here from some breakfast ideas!
Once done with your ride, have a meal that’s low in fat, with a moderate level of carbs and high in protein. Eggs, fish, chicken are a high source of protein and help you in better recovery.
Sorry, we are hardcore non-vegetarians ;).
10. Should you shave your legs?
There’s no harm in shaving your legs. Pros shave because it’s more of hygiene for massage and when treating crash inflicted abrasions. It also makes a difference of a few seconds. It also adds up to the style.
11. Should I Cross train in the gym?
Honestly, if you are looking for fitness or want to go fast that what you are, cross-training is a good idea. It is also something you would want to do during your offseason. You can run, swim or go to the gym and do ben presses and deadlifts. Cross train an make you stronger, fitter, faster and better.
12. OK, I’m in. Where’s my next cycling trip?
Riding a bike to work will surely give you a decent endorphin boost. However, the beauty of cycling is far more superior and powerful on the roads less travelled. India as a country has some of the best scenic views, lakes, mountains, beaches, food and a lot more.
Here are two cycling trips that are our favourite and should be on your bucket list:-
We hope these questions are enough for you to get into cycling. If you have anything else buzzing on the back of your mind, feel free to drop a comment below.