So you have taken the plunge, headed to the bike store, and a new two wheeled fun machine has been purchased. As the purchasing excitement slowly recedes, to be replaced by a new emotion, trepidation of the reality, that you have to ride it.
No matter what bike you bought, and whether you plan to ride on the road or the trails, for fun, fitness or competition, the first few pedal strokes are much more relaxed with a bit of simple preparation. All bikes in essence are the same, and all have some basic watch outs and must do’s that can make the first ride more enjoyable and more likely to be incident free.
As you get ready for your first ride, what you wear will have a big impact on who comfortable you will be on a ride. Loose and flapping clothing soon becomes a distraction, so target snug fitting active or cycling wear. Your lower back should never be exposed, so ensure the tops and the bottoms at least meet. Too hot or too cold is equally an issue, so jackets, vest, arm warmers that can be taken off and put away are great, and if needed put back on. The first thing you notice once you get cycling is that you generate wind, so a good snug fitting wind breaker or vest is a must to maintain core temperature. On cold days, target a warm set of feet, hands and ears for ride comfort. And if you are riding cycling shorts for the first time, they are to be ridden direct against the skin, try otherwise at your own peril.
If you are riding any reasonable distance, then spares are a must. A basic kit of a pump attached to the frame or in the pocket, tyre levers, spare tubes and a bike tool stored under the seat, can get you out of most potentially ride ending mechanical incidents. Before your ride gently shake the bike to listen for rattles, much easier to catch them here and give the offending bolt a quick tighten. Also check tyre pressure, low pressure in particular leaves you vulnerable to punctures.
Lastly before you push off, are you going the length of ride that needs food and drink, if so make sure you take a little more than required. Anything over 30mins and at least water. It doesn’t need to be fancy high performance products, water and a banana still work as good as they ever did.
Now you are good to go, if you are heading out for fitness don’t overdo the first ride, get a feel for your new bike, and existing fitness levels. Try to maintain a higher cadence and avoid over gearing yourself on climbs or into the wind. Take the time to get a feel for your brakes, as it is likely they possess a great deal more stopping power than when you last rode a bike. When changing gear, try to do so before you need to, such as coming into the stop sign or incline, change whilst you still have some speed, rather than a last minute change under pressure. Slow speed, panicked gear changes apply strain on any gear changing system, sometimes resulting in a ride ending mechanical.
At the end of every ride on a trail or wet day, or when required for dry road riding, finish the ride with a quick bike clean. Hose down your bike, then apply RESURRECTION Bike Degreaser to the chain and moving parts. Brush, then rinse off. Then use a bike wash to clean the frame and components, again rinse and then dry. A bike polish is also a good idea to add a layer of protection and shine to your new purchase. Always use RESURRECTION + SPLENDOR biodegradable bike specific cleaners as they will be all surface safe, and perfect for frequent use. Many automotive and household cleaners contain caustics or solvents that are harsh on your bike and are not recommended.
Congratulations on getting back out on the bike, enjoy your cycling.