Whats the best way to get into cycling?

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17/09/2013 at 01:17

Up about 2 months ago I couldn't ride a bike (blame the parents!). At 24yr ord I finally brought a bike (mountain, bought off someone on gumtree) with the help of my then boyfriend and learned to cycle. We used to cycle a couple of hours every couple of weeks and I really enjoyed it. we broke up a few weeks ago and I'm now at a loss about the bike. I know nothing about bike maintenance. This is important now as my types are flat and the bike has been sat untouched for a week Because I don't know what to do with it. 


anyway, to the point, I really enjoy cycling, and would really like to become a confident cyclist. I dont feel confident going out on my own onto the roads (safety and fear of falling under a car). I've looked at cycle clubs but reading the website details feels like they're speaking another language- aero bars, slicks etc! so I don't feel good enough to go to a club (I  know some swim clubs have a minimum standard). 


Whats the best way to approach this? 

thanks in advance

17/09/2013 at 07:39

Hey, I would do what your doing here, drop an email to contacts at a local club and if you're ok with it, tell them your not confident on your own- try get someone to stop by and meet you- everyone has a starting point .. I've just started running again from April and always gone on my own- now built up confidence to run with a club after a few emails .. As for feeling safe- that may come with more experience in the road- however I do feel its super unlikely for an accident to occur..

17/09/2013 at 08:14

Hi Laine,

Have a look at www.goskyride.com you'll be able to find buddies and rides - all free.  I've found a local women and girls training session through the site and got a lot out of that. 


17/09/2013 at 08:17

Hi Laine, ask at your local bike shop for a maintenance sesion, our local offers basic bike maintenance, they may be able to recomend a local club too, I find once you start asking around in cycling, swimming, running and triathlon circles, people generally are more than willing to help out. Try and pester a mate to go cycling with you too, I know its hard joining a club when you are inexperienced, but a lot of people are in the same position, see if you can pop along for a chat first, once youve made that first step and have met a few of the members its a lot easier to join a session.

17/09/2013 at 08:48

Re the flat tyres lots of how to videos on youtube showing what you need to do. I learnt to change a flat with bike in front of the laptop, pausing it every so often to do what I'd just been shown. Or, as mentioned most local bike shops would be happy to teach you if you pop in when they're not too busy. 

Also , some CTC rides are friendlier, use quieter roads and less pressured than club rides if you're nervous. I went on a ride with a bunch of older chaps that involved stoops for elevenses, pub lunch and afternoon tea. Very sociable, and good for getting confidence up when starting out. 

Cheerful Dave    pirate
17/09/2013 at 08:58
DTB Ultra Cake Pimp wrote (see)

I went on a ride with a bunch of older chaps that involved stoops for elevenses,  

Blimey, how old were they?

But to the OP and your flat tyres, youtube is your friend.  Learn to change the flat inner tube for a new one first, then you can learn how to patch the hole in your old tube at your leisure.

17/09/2013 at 09:20

My club rides ALWAYS stops for cake and tea!  That's half the point of going out 

cougie    pirate
17/09/2013 at 09:32
Surely you have mates that can change innertubes ? Ask them round. And it might be just that the tyres have leaked air rather than had a puncture - have you tried pumping them up ?

Also check out sustrans - they have got a lot of bike paths round the country now - some of them are excellent. Some are crap mind you.
17/09/2013 at 09:54

Cycling is a very old sport with history, traditions and as you say a language of its own. This is not helped by the fact that the Americans have their own language that is now interchangeable!

Have a look at 'The Rules' http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/ these are a bit of fun. But will give you an idea of the traditions and language of the sport.

Something else that may help is reading a few books, like 'Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder' by Dave Barter.

Not being able to fix your own punctures is a serious 'crime' but is not complicated, chose your tyres carefully as some are easier to get on and off than others. And do not forget to check the inside of the tyre for thorns before you put the new inner tube in!

The pace of club runs is another thorny issue! Make sure of the standard of the other riders before you start. Bigger clubs will have rides of different standards. Good luck!

17/09/2013 at 11:01

Laine, have a look into Sky Breeze rides (google it), these are aimed at novice female riders so would be ideal for you.

Re. Clubs, they vary but many of the big ones like mine will cover the whole range from half decent racers through to relative novices - though the website might not give you that impression as inevitably most cycling club members are relatively experienced cyclists.   So I agree with the above advice to try some local clubs and tell them what you told us.   

As far as fixing a puncture goes, get a repair kit, couple of spare tubes, plastic tyre levers and a pump and then you can learn off youtube or something.  What to do is really easy, doing it can be tricky if the tyres are tight and your fingers aren't strong but  correct technique does make getting the tyre off and on  a lot easier.  If you telll us whereabouts you are someone may be able to suggest a suitable club.

Edited: 17/09/2013 at 11:03
Cheerful Dave    pirate
17/09/2013 at 12:30

Or, take your bike into the road outside your house and put it upside down.  Sooner or later a cyclist will stop and ask if you're OK, then they'll fix it for you.

17/09/2013 at 12:57
Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

Or, take your bike into the road outside your house and put it upside down.  Sooner or later a cyclist will stop and ask if you're OK, then they'll fix it for you.

The damsel in distress method of puncture repair, works every time 

17/09/2013 at 13:01
Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

Or, take your bike into the road outside your house and put it upside down.  Sooner or later a cyclist will stop and ask if you're OK, then they'll fix it for you.

That's probably true!

The club I belong to has a "novice" ride on the first Sunday of each month.  Other Sundays they have a variety of groups - social, touring, training, etc., so you can pick the one that suits you.

Large clubs will probably have several groups - contact your local clubs, see what they do in terms of groups.  

17/09/2013 at 13:18

Might be worth looking at local clubs and shops to see if any of them are running a bike maintenance course. They're usually run over winter and take you through everything you need to know to keep your bike on the road. Usually you work on your own bike at the workshop too so you'll have hands on experience and a working bike when you finish it.

17/09/2013 at 17:22
Cheerful Dave wrote (see)

Or, take your bike into the road outside your house and put it upside down.  Sooner or later a cyclist will stop and ask if you're OK, then they'll fix it for you.

Lol that's brilliant! might try that!

ill be in cardiff. I've looked at the cardiff tri and Ajax cycling clubs but both look quite intimidating.....

M...eldy    pirate
17/09/2013 at 17:30

Serens the person you want .. she is Cardiff way and regularly cycles with old men  

The Sky Ride and Sky Breeze sound exactly what you want and the Sustrans groups

17/09/2013 at 17:38

just scanned through the thread - definitely look up the breeze network - aimed at novice females and you might find they will help with the maintenance as well. Evans do a maintenance class - although I went to one a year ago and have forgotten most of what they said. I can manage a puncture though

17/09/2013 at 19:15

I'm only over in newport and don't mind giving a helping hand if you have any problems. Also welcome to come out with me my part partner on rides if you feel like it. We are no waor intimidating or go very quick, just a putle in the country side if you fancy it

18/09/2013 at 15:24

Thanks Rocco, I might have to Take you up on that when I get to cardiff


thank you for the advice. Sky breeze looks good, aren't many in cardiff, all the results are in Bristol. Will prob try a few while I'm in manchester

TheEngineer    pirate
20/09/2013 at 19:41

Welsh girl, in her twenties, single, likes to ride bikes... 

...how did I miss this?! 

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