If you’re used to riding a bike everywhere you can find yourself taking for granted how easy cycling is, when the reality is that other people really struggle with it. When you’re a kid and you’re put on a bike for the first time it usually comes with stabilisers and before long the stabilisers are removed. You have no problems riding around everywhere because it’s the only form of transport you own and you’re undaunted by the prospect of falling and hurting yourself, which isn’t the case when you decide to take up cycling again as an adult.
Usually, your bike falls out of favour as soon as you can learn to drive. Once you are able to drive and you have access to a car, you no longer require your bike and so it usually ends up buried under a load of junk in the garage. However, there will come a time in your life when you realise you’ve put on a few pounds and you start to worry about the health implications of leading an inactive lifestyle. Thus, you decide to get fitter and opt for the cheapest and easiest ways you can think of to get fit. Cycling is often high up on the list.
However, it is quite a different experience riding your bike as an adult, as when you’re a kid you just cycle around the park a couple of times. When you’re an adult, though, you have to contend with roads full of pot holes and dangerous drivers; you need to plot a course in advance and it can be hard to know what kind of distance to cover. Clearly, if you’re new to cycling and you don’t really know how fit you are, you may end up trying to do too much too soon and suffer as a result.
You may encounter ‘the bonk’, something which all cyclists will experience at some point, where your body is completely depleted of energy and you can barely turn the pedals. It is important to take food and drink with you when you intend to go for a ride, but sometimes you don’t think about these things, especially when you’re just starting out.
It is important to feel comfortable on your bike and so you need to ensure you have a comfortable saddle that is at the right height and that you’re wearing a pair of padded cycling shorts. However, no matter how comfortable you are it is still going to be a challenge to climb all those hills, since there are few courses with no hills at all. Your legs will hurt and you will get out of breath and you may be desperate for more gears when you’re wobbling all over the place. You do feel good afterwards, though, when you finally manage to conquer a climb that you thought impossible.
Riding a bike may be difficult, but the whole point of exercise is to exert yourself and the many benefits of cycling definitely make up for how hard it is.