If you’re interested in giving cycling a try you might be battling some apprehension.  As a sport, cycling has a bit of a split-personality; both welcoming and intimidating.  These personality traits can make it difficult to know exactly how to get started.

My goal is to get you off the fence and onto a bike.  From a fat-burning spin class to a competitive road race, life is better when you’re riding.  Once you’ve made a commitment to ride I think you’ll agree.  Here are a few guidelines to help get you started.

Get Ready to Spend Some Money

  1. Cycling is more expensive than you think.  Expect an initial investment of at least $1500 for a quality road bike and accessories.  Remember, it’s not just the bike.  You’ll likely need pedals, shoes, helmet, and cycling specific clothing.
  2. If you’re looking to save money your best bet is to purchase a used bike.  Have a cyclist friend help you search on Craigslist.  Most cyclists love to bring others into the sport.
  3. A used bike might save money, but it’s tough to beat the warranty and service of a local bike shop.  Many new bikes also come with free tune-ups and regular maintenance discounts.  If you want to keep things simple, find a local bike shop you trust and buy new.

Get Familiar With Strava

  1. Open a Strava account.  It’s free and amazing.
  2. Strava turns your smartphone into a dynamic cycling computer.  Location, speed, elevation, and distance ridden are all tracked and pushed to the cloud for free.
  3. Strava makes it easy to search for new places to ride.  Plan new routes with confidence.
  4. Strava acts as a social network for cyclists.  Keep track of your friends while checking out where and how hard they’re riding.
  5. Strava lets you compete and measure your progress against others.  Their virtual leader-boards are incredibly fun and motivating.

Join a Local Club

  1. A cycling club connects you to local riders that will accelerate your learning curve in the sport.
  2. There’s a cycling club for every level of experience, age, and gender.  Whatever your goals, you’ll find a club that fits.
  3. A cycling club provides external motivation to keep riding.  There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to keep you showing up to an 8AM ride.

Sign Up For An Event

  1. Road race or half century, signing up for an event will give you an opportunity to push your limits.
  2. Motivation will always ebb and flow.  The positive pressure and energy that comes from anticipating an event will keep you on track and looking ahead to long term goals.

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Nate Dunn, M.S.
Data Driven Athlete

Written by Nate Dunn M.S.

Nate Dunn has spent his entire career in education and coaching. As a former teacher and now founder/head coach at Data Driven Athlete, he is most excited about helping cyclists discover their potential as they experience more great days on the bike.