A Beginners Guide to Cycling

Road Biking
Nov 2013

You don’t need to don a yellow jersey or be a performance athlete to begin your adventure in cycling. Knowing a few basic biking terms and getting outfitted with the right equipment will allow you to quickly become confident on the road and begin increasing your fitness.

Bicycles first entered the scene in the 19th century and have since become the principal means of transportation in many parts of the world. Yet, if you’ve ever sat astride one of these two-wheeled contraptions, you’ve quickly realized there is more adventure to be had than simply getting from point A to point B. It was that same line of thought that led to the advent of the world of competitive cycling. Even today, as cycling has become more of a minority sport and enriching pastime here in the US, the popularity of the sport continues in other countries as is apparent in the world’s famous bicycle races: The Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España.

Quick Reference of Biking Terms

Saddle: the seat of a bicycle. The narrower the saddle, the faster you can go.

Group Ride: a ride consisting of any number of riders typically lasting two and four hours.

Peloton: the large group of riders in a road bicycle race.

Drafting: Riding closely behind another rider to utilize their slipstream, reducing the effort required to ride at the same speed.

Clipless Pedals: a special cycling shoe with a cleat fitted to the sole, locking the rider into the pedal holding the shoe more firmly.

View a more comprehensive list of terms.

A man crouching next to a bicycle.

The Bike

When you are first starting out in cycling, use the bike you have. There is no need to go purchase something super expensive, when you most likely aren’t yet certain what kind of bike (traditional, cruiser, hybrid, road, touring or mountain) will best fit your lifestyle. If you do purchase a new bicycle, the one splurge you may want to make is on a professional bike fitting. Many local bike shops have a professional fitter on staff or will be able to recommend where you should go. An expert bike fitter will measure your proportions and flexibility and make adjustments to ensure you have the most comfortable and efficient ride possible. There are some easy self-checks you can do on your own if you’re using a bike rental in Scottsdale. Check that the saddle (or seat) is level so it can support your full body weight. To adjust for proper height, try pedaling backwards; you should be able to fully extend your leg straight in the down position and make sure the tires are inflated with no holes or punctures before you begin road biking in Scottsdale.

bike gear you need for your setup.

Preparation and Equipment

No matter how many hours you log at the gym, those new to cycling should start out at a relaxed pace. Biking utilizes different muscles and it will take your body time to adjust to the new routine. Begin with a low mileage goal— between 5 and 8 miles per ride—and add on a little each week. Don’t overdo it, in cycling recovery is as important as riding.

When you hit the pavement, drink every 10 to 20 minutes, aiming for frequency over quantity. For longer rides, it’s a good idea to drink plenty of fluids well before setting out so you start off hydrated. As for equipment, the one non-negotiable essential is a properly fitted helmet. The experts at any Arizona bike rental shop can assist you in finding a helmet that fits you properly. Finally, purchase a bike repair kit. It’s an absolute must for any cyclist. A pared down version (which is all a beginner needs) is relatively inexpensive and includes all the essentials such as a patch, a spare tube and an all-in-one bike tool.

No matter what your motivation to start cycling, using this beginner’s guide will help you achieve the legs, lungs and know-how of a true cyclist.

Ride with Us

Whether you’re brand-new to the sport of biking or a seasoned road-warrior, you’re in excellent hands with the bike shop staff. Our knowledgeable team can organize your dream road biking trip in Scottsdale or help you find the perfect accessories to outfit your Arizona bike rental. Our staff is happy to help with all of your Arizona bike rental questions. Contact us online or call 866-455-1601 to book your next adventure in road biking in Scottsdale!