Kapiti Cycling Club Inc
The centre of the cycling community on the Kapiti Coast
Advice for Beginners
Here are a few pearls of wisdom for those new to cycling:
Typical questions when you're starting out
What cadence is optimal?
Aim for around 85 to 100 rpm'on the flat, but it depends on the situation and personal preference. But is a reasonable aim for starters. If you don’t have a cadence meter then find a rider who has a smooth style and ride behind them.
What front ring should I ride in?
Typically for endurance ride in the smaller ring. To develop more power or on the flat for more speed, ride in the big ring. At the end of the day find what is comfortable and sustainable for you. If you are stuggling up hills or cant go fast enough on the flat then you may need to consider altering your gearing (talk to your bike shop).
What are basic rules of bunch riding?
Stay close, but don’t overlap wheels. Keep your pace (and pedalling) constant and avoid surging. Watch for hand signals, listen to spoken alerts and pass them on to others behind you. Watch and learn. Ask and learn. Get involved and learn.
What distance should you start with?
It depends on your fitness and experience. If you are new to cycling aim for 5 to 10kms then just keep increasing. You will find that you can ride further and it will be easier once you learn to ride with a group. It is fine to go out with a group and once you feel you are struggling, simply let the leaders know that you're turning for home, and head home.
What is the best bike?
It is okay to lust after other bikes and it is often tempting to sell your house, kids and or kidneys to fund a flash bike but it still does come down to the rider (and the bike for sure). If you can’t afford the flash one then start with a good frame and build upon it over time.
Any important gear required for your bike?
Frame, 2 wheels and brakes. Like all things in life it is not the biggest or best looking that matters, it is what you do with it. Lights are important for safety and an odometer (speedo) is useful especially if it shows your cadence.
What frame size do you need?
You really need to get this right. Bike designs are changing and with it the way they measure frame size. Get the right size before you buy. Ask your local bike store for advice. Things such as seat height and stem length can be altered but the frame can only be replaced, so get it right.
What is the general advice about hydration (aka drinking)?
Basic rule is for any ride over 30mins you should carry fluid and learn to take drinks regularly. You are probably best to practise drinking on your bike whilst riding on your own at first, as it does take co-ordination to take and return your bottle to its cage. Do not try it for the first time in a group ride.
What is the general advice about nutrition (aka eating)?
Basic rule is little and often, and definately carry food on any ride longer than 60 mins. Experiment with different foods to find what works for you and suits your digestion. Consult with some of the more experienced riders as they have plenty of knowledge and experience.
What should you carry in your saddle bag?
Your saddle bag is the handy dandy bag strapped under your seat (or saddle). Here you can stash all sorts of things required in emergency, but the essential items are: spare inner tube (or two), a tyre lever (or two), a gas canister and gas-delivery-device (both can be left out if you carry a pump, on your bike or in your back pocket), ID, a $5 note or tyre 'boot' (a piece of old tyre, to put inside your tyre in case you get a gash to your tyre so big the inner tube is unprotected - it happens!). You can carry all this in your jersey pockets (and some do), but then you have little room left for your phone, jacket and food.