If you’re new to cycling, there’s a lot to learn and it can all be a bit daunting at first. Here’s a collection of the most frequently asked cycling questions to get you started.
I’m buying my first bike, how much should I spend?
Not much. If this is your first time riding, get a fairly basic bike and see if you like it. Any where between 20 and 100 million bikes are sold each year and a lot of those get ridden once and then sit in a shed for 20 years. If you do enjoy cycling and upgrade your first bike soon after, you’ve lost a lot less money than if you buy a high-end bike, ride it once, and then have it never see the light of day again. If you’re buying brand new, you can expect your budget to comfortably stay under approximately $1000 for a road bike or $1500 (AUD) for a mountain bike.
Do I have to wear tights?
No, but give it a month and you’ll want to. Riding lycra makes a ride more comfortable. Padded shorts with fewer friction points means less skin chafing and therefore a far more enjoyable time. What they won’t do is make you ride faster.
Do I need shoes that clip into the pedals?
As above. If you plan to ride seriously, or for more than 10 kilometers at a time, clipped in shoes make your pedal stroke more efficient, but again, it’s not an essential.
Is it dangerous to ride on roads?
Yes, it is. It’s best to avoid riding on roads whenever you can. Bike lanes or wide footpaths are much safer alternatives, especially for new cyclists. If you do plan to ride on roads, opt for roads that have a wide shoulder, stick as far to the left as you can, and ensure have plenty of lights so you can easily be seen by drivers in any conditions.
Do I need a helmet?
Yes. A $20 helmet will save you a fine from the police (helmets are compulsory in Australia, but not everywhere – check your local laws), and possibly crippling medical bills, and could even save your life in the case of a serious accident.
My bike is making a strange noise, what do I do?
If you’re new to riding, and if you have a front derailleur, there’s a good chance you might be cross-chaining. Cross-chaining occurs when the chain is at a large angle from the chainring to the cassette. The chain rubs on the derailleur, making an awful racket and wearing out your components at a rate of knots. To prevent this from occurring, keep your chain in as straight a line as possible. If you have two chainrings and a 10-speed cassette, stay in the big chainring for the first 5 or 6 cogs, and if you still need to make it easier, then swap to your little ring. Don’t go through the whole cassette and then change the chainrings. If this doesn’t help with the noise, take it to your local bike shop to get checked over.
How much pressure should I have in my tyres?
This depends on how wide your tyres are. If you’re riding a road bike, you need a lot more pressure than you do for a fat bike. For thinner tyres, this is Schwalbe’s recommendation:
For mountain bikes, anywhere between 30 and 40psi, depending on the terrain, is a good start. If you’re running tubeless tyres, you can go as low as 23psi.
Have we missed anything? If you have any other questions, leave them in the comment section below!