Cycling Tips for Beginners – How to Keep Your Rides Fresh

Published by Darron Toy on


We all love riding our bikes, but if you’ve
been cycling for awhile, you may find yourself getting a bit bored when out on your bike,
or lacking the motivation to even get out of your house. Over the last few years, I’ve collected
a number of tips that should help you fall in love with cycling again, and make you eagerly
anticipate your next ride, no matter what type of cyclist you are. These are my ten tips I use myself, and they
broadly fall into two categories – where you should go cycling, and what you can do while
cycling, so let’s start with that first. Don’t you wish you could safely listen to
stuff when out on your bike? Well, with Bone Conduction headphones, you
can! These are my Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones
and I’ve been using them for a couple of years now … quite honestly, I can’t ride
without them. Now these bits, at the end, they vibrate,
and when you place them over your cheek bones, like so, sound travels via bone conduction,
directly to your inner ear. Now you notice that my ear canals are wide
open, so even if you’re listening to music, you can still hear, very clearly, everything
that’s going on around you – you don’t lose spatial awareness. So you won’t be caught off-guard if … I
should say when, a bus, truck, motorcycle or even rickshaw shows up dangerously close
to you. Some of you use regular earphones, and you
place the earbud in just one ear. But that still makes you less sensitive to
sounds coming from one side, and come on, in Indian traffic, that’s still dangerous,
I wouldn’t recommend it. Using a loudspeaker is fine, buton a group
ride, for the love of God, don’t make me listen to Mehbooba Mehbooba for the entire
trip. What’s equally important though, is what
to listen to. I find listening to audio books, or podcasts[a],
is much more entertaining than listening to music, especially on long rides. It’s like reading a book while riding a
bike … what more could you ask for? Now In heavy traffic, you probably won’t
be able to hear an audio book with these headphones[b], and I wouldn’t be able to focus on a story
anyway, so I switch to music. If you aren’t recording your rides with
Strava yet, you really should start. Arguably one of Strava’s best features is
its segments. T hese are predefined, smaller sections of
your route, in a fixed direction. Strava will report segment times distinctly,
so you can easily see how you’re improving, or not, as you ride those routes, especially
climbs, repeatedly. When you next ride that route, you can challenge
yourself by trying to beat your own best time[c] or, if you’re feeling competitive, beat
the overall best time for that segment, taking the King or Queen of the mountain spot. The Eddington number is an interesting measure
of how far you typically cycle. I’ve cycled at least 47 km on at least 47
days[d], so my number is 47. My goal for this year is to increase it to
50, and this chart shows that I’ve ridden 50 kilometers (or more) on only 42 days, and
this is where the stat gets interesting – if I do 8 more rides of at least 50 kilometers
this year, I’ll hit my target. The same concept can be applied to time on
the bike, or elevation gained while riding, so there are eddington numbers for those stats
too. If you just ride leisurely, you can make things
more interesting by getting some training in. For instance, interval sessions, where you
ride at max effort for a say, half a minute, then ease off for the next minute or so before
repeating, is a great way of becoming a faster, stronger rider. Track stands, bunny hops, endos and manuals
are skills you can pick up if you’re more adventurous. But first, make sure you know how to properly
ride a bike. Riding with upgrades is always fun, whether
the upgrades are on your bike, like new tyres, a new cycle computer, or pedals. Or upgrades to yourself where you buy yourself
new kit, or shades. Upgrades make me want to drop everything and
go riding almost immediately, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of not being excited
about riding unless you have something new to try out. My recommendation is to set yourself cycling
related goals and only get upgrades if you reach those goals. Let’s move on to the next category of tips
– where you can ride Riding the same routes, to the same destinations
can get really old, fast. One of the best ways in which you can improve
your cycling experience would be to try a new route or destination. There are dozens of ways in which you can
find new routes, but it could be as easy as joining your city’s Strava club to see where
everyone else is riding, or finding scenic locations on Google Maps, and well, just navigating
to those points. Hills and ghats are almost always worth it,
if you can manage the climb. Don’t be overly stuck up with starting and
ending your rides at home – rather than distance, focus on quality miles. If you want to get somewhere that’s outside
your normal reach for the time you have – consider using a car to drive part of the distance. Or, when you’re done with the main bits
of your ride – chuck your bike into a rick or a tempo to get home. Using a support vehicle in this way would
open your rides up to dozens of new destinations. If you’re always riding regular roads, try
riding some trails and gravel routes instead. These can be easy routes that run across hills,
through urban forests, or on unsealed roads that you will find scattered around the countryside. Gravel riding is a completely different experience,
there’s typically zero traffic and you’re much closer to nature. It’ll truly take you to places you can only
get to on a bicycle. Off roading doesn’t have to mean intense
downhill riding, but if you’re feeling adventurous, that’s something you could try too. The reverse is also true – if you’re only
an off roader, with typically limited trails that are available in our cities, you’ll
find yourself riding the same trails over and over again. If you start hitting the road, even with your
mountain bike, you’ll enjoy riding new routes and getting to new destinations. Since you’ll be able to cover much more
distance on road, you’ll be able to reach, and experience parts of your city, or areas
surrounding your city you would normally never get to. This is Veloviewer’s Activity map showing
all my rides around Pune – yes, I have been riding around a fair bit. Now if we turn on “Explorer Titles” and
zoom out a bit, it divides the map into square tiles, colored red if I’ve ridden through
them. Now the idea is to build as large a square
as possible from adjacent red tiles – that’s your explorer max square. Mine is 7, because even though I have 9 columns
covered across the map, I only have 7 rows covered top to bottom. To take it to 8, you can see that there’s
just one tile that I haven’t covered here. I can zoom in, and plan my next ride there
– what this has forced me to do is – ride some new roads, in an area that I’ve never
been in. If I want to take my max to 9, I can see that
there are two titles I haven’t ridden through. Things get interesting if I want to take it
to 10 – this is a hill, and as you can see, there are no roads marked in it. To get this checked off, I’ll probably have
to go off road – if we switch to the satellite map, we do see some trails here that I could
ride. Over on this side, this square does have roads,
but you know what – these are private roads of the National Defense Academy – if you’re
not in the armed forces, you won’t be allowed to ride here. So to get this tile, I need to either join
the Army, or … maybe find a way onto this hill. As you can see, increasing your explorer max
square can lead to quite a bit of adventure If you feel you’re ready for the next level,
you could challenge yourself by riding Brevets – which are endurance rides of distances ranging
from 200 km to 1200 km or even higher. Brevets aren’t races, they do have cut off
time for the entire route and for checkpoints along the route. On the other hand, you could take part in
casual cycling events, actual races or time trials. Whatever you choose, training for these evenings
can get quite intense, the rides are always challenging, and they are a great opportunity
to ride new routes and meet fellow cyclists in your city. If you typically ride alone, find a group
to ride with. With a group, you should enjoy the ride a
lot more as you get to shoot the breeze with other like minded people, during the ride
and, of course, at the chai stops! There are disadvantages to group rides like
not being in complete control over the route, destination, and when to stop, but, on the
other hand, group rides are typically safer, you’ll find new routes and experts to guide
you along new trails if offroading. Most groups will definitely help you become
a better rider overall. I hope this collection of tips has given you
some new ideas on how to keep your rides fresh. I’d love to hear what you think and better
still, if you have suggestions, please leave a comment below. To ensure your bike is ready for your next
adventure, check out my video on essential bike upgrades, and my playlist of cycling
routes in India for some destination inspiration. Thanks for riding along, and until next time,
keep exploring!


5 Comments

The Indian Cyclist · December 5, 2019 at 7:29 am

Do you ever get bored on your bike? How do you combat boredom when out cycling, what keeps you motivated to get out there again? Do leave a comment below, would love to know what you think!

Dragoniel Iskaliri Silverwing · December 5, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Spot on. This veloviewer looks like a really interesting concept. I need to get on this. I like exploration rides. Bring a drone along – lots of fun!

kalandarpatel · December 5, 2019 at 3:35 pm

Good contents i have a request please make hindi videos as well for people who dont know English language, thank you

Sanjay Oswal · December 5, 2019 at 4:31 pm

Thanks for Nice info & valuable tips about cycling,
We have peddle pushar group in pune ,
Will live to know new route around pune you explored,
Thanking you …Regard

Aman Ahmed · January 4, 2020 at 9:38 am

Hello from KSA,Brian 5:55…where's this?

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