Getting back on the bike

Sometimes cycling is not ‘as easy as riding a bike’. Perhaps you never learnt to ride or haven’t pedalled since childhood? Or maybe you experienced an incident that has left you scared to try again? Regardless of your skill level, cycling doesn’t have to be intimidating – these tips should ensure you get on your bike safely.

Nerves are normal
As with anything unfamiliar, you are bound to experience some initial fear, so it’s important to have realistic expectations. It may take a little time and practice to feel comfortable and capable – and you may even fall – but your perseverance will pay off.

Start small
This comes back to adjusting your expectations. While you’re still learning or practicing, it’s best to stick to quiet, unoccupied areas with level surfaces, such as a car park, cul-de-sac or secluded bike trail. Avoid riding in areas with traffic until you’re more confident.

Ask the experts
Many Australian cities have companies offer cycling lessons for all skill levels, whether you want to commute or ride for recreation. These include Bicycle Network, Bikes at Work and BikeWise. Most bike shops are staffed by well-informed cyclists who can advise you on the best model for you, as well as any safety, equipment and maintenance requirements.

Practice makes perfect
Once you have dusted off the cobwebs, you’ll need to keep riding to maintain and improve your skills. You may feel more motivated to continue by joining a social riders’ group, through one of the organisations mentioned above, or perhaps even via Meetup. You never know, cycling may even lead to some new friendships!

Safety first
If you’re planning to ride on the road, among traffic, you’ll need to know the rules. Each Australian state and territory has its own regulations, so head to your relevant government transport website for details. It’s also vital to invest in protective gear, such as a helmet and light. Bicycle Network offers 10 top tips for new riders, which may help you to prepare.

Are you a cycling enthusiast? Do you have any advice you would like to share?

Related articles:
Cycling in Australia and NZ
Getting started with exercise
What to do after a cycle accident

Written by Louise Baxter

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