First time round it was easy. There were wide open spaces everywhere and cars went slowly. You know it would be good for you – getting back into bike riding or perhaps you’re considering learning to ride for the first time. The fresh air and sunshine, the exercise and companionship are a recipe for good health and staying young.
So whats holding you back?
I’m too old for this
I’m too unfit
I have no time
My joints will ache too much
What if I get a puncture – how will I fix it?
I’ll feel silly because everyone else will be better than me
I don’t know where to start
My husband was going to buy me a bike but now he’s gone
Large people don’t ride bikes
What if I fall off?
I don’t know where the trails are or which ones to go on
Do any of these excuses sound familiar? Well it’s time to stop.
If having fun, being safe, feeling comfortable and a doable ride sounds like you then it’s time to get back into bike riding (check out our story “How to have a ‘Great Day’ on the Bike” it has some really useful information). As you begin to ride again, or for the first time, try to think of your riding as a way of life, just something that you do, rather than a sport or exercise program. Here are some more tips and suggestions to make this new experience as smooth and easy as possible.
- as slow as YOU need to be. Small distances are fine (to the end of your street). Think about start and stop points and combining a ride with a bus/train trip or parking the car. Getting off on a hill is OK if that’s what you need to do. Be patient, make it fun not another task you have to achieve. Think small steps leading to significant gains.
- It’s not only pace but place. Think about the types of terrain you would enjoy riding on and the sights you would enjoy seeing. If traffic scares you only ride on cycletrails or shared patheways to begin with. Begin slowly with easily obtained goals, let your body adjust and become used to the bike. Nobody is watching you and judging, we are all different and we all have our own challenges to overcome.
- one of the greatest pleasures you can find from riding is how easy it is to share with friends and family so let them know what you are planning to do and get them involved. You will be amazed at the time that has flown by while you’re chatting – safely – with a friend. It’s totally fine if all you’re doing to being with is nodding in agreement while focusing on breathing – don’t be scared to stop for a rest, you’re with friends.
- organised groups – look for community notices, bike club events or start a group of your own. If you get involved with a diverse group of people who enjoy riding there will always be someone planning something or wanting to go try something new. You can get inspired by this and then inspire others with what you would like from your riding.
- consistency is important. Schedule rides and make them a priority in your day and week. Shorter rides more often is better for you than one long ride in the weekend. Look for opportunities where you could ride your bike rather than take the car.
- friends and family can help. It’s always harder to cancel a ride when you are letting someone else down.
- don’t let the weather scare you off completely. Make plans around it or get good protective gear – layers for warmth, a jacket for the wind & rain, sunglasses/sunscreen, gloves & socks for the extremities…
Get some help
- try a community centre learn to ride program or community/bike shop basic maintenance course. Extend your confidence with a coaching session e.g. learn to ride off road with Wheel Women – for Nelson/Tasman ladies. Your local Sport Trust could be running learn to ride programs or Women’s Only rides. Get in contact with them and find out what’s being offered in your region. They will know who is doing what.
- learn a bit about your bike and the tools that go with it. It can be simple, start here, our resources are designed for beginners just like you.
- think about other exercise that could support your riding. Building endurance, strength, flexibility and balance work will all improve the experience you have on your bike. Good examples are yoga and weight training. Read more about your body position on a bike with our Chi Riding Series.
Set a goal
- rethink your horizons, focus on health, well being and learning a new skill or using new equipment/tools. Riding should become a part of who you are leading to you naturally choosing to ride more places, more often.
- think about where in your community, region, country or world you would like to explore by bike. Get some ideas from reading our Women’s Profiles or ‘Great Day’ on the bike stories.
- enter a women’s only event – there’s nothing like a deadline to scare you into riding…e.g. Spring Challenge or a women’s triathlon.
“It’s not what YOU ride but that YOU ride
It’s not how fast YOU go, it’s about enjoying the ride
It’s not when YOU started riding, but continuing to ride each day”
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider. Related goRide Resources: goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way.
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
Related goRide Resources:
goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way.