Arleigh Jenkins, Bike Shop Girl, wrote "10 Things to Know as a Beginner," and at the end of the article asks, "This list could be 100 points long. What are the things you know now that you tell beginner cyclist?"
I normally would not post an article in it's entirety for the purpose of encouraging you to link through to the source, but this list is so concise, it really belongs here! (But please, click through to Bike Shop Girl's blog, it has a lot of good information and motivation.)
1. You do not have to ride a women’s bike just because you are a woman
2. Don’t wear underwear under your bike shorts – it will cause chaffing and can trap in moisture
3. Bike shorts will feel like diapers, the more expensive they are, the better they will fit, and the longer they will last.
4. Do not put a gel pad on top of your bike seat, you are putting a band aid on a bad fitting bike or saddle
5. Wear a helmet you idiot. It won’t save your life if your head gets run over a car, but most of my accidents it has kept me from getting a concussion, broken nose and in some states it can be looked at as negligence if you are hit by a car without a helmet and have head injuries.
6. You do not need to feel uncomfortable while buying a bike. Just like a car, find a new shop, or in the beginning tell your fears or worries so the bike shop can address them.
7. Bike shops can not read your mind. Tell them to the best of your abilities what you want to do with your bike, what your longer term goals are and what your budget is.
8. As fast as humanly possible, find a group to ride with. It will make you a better rider and you will feel safer.
9. It is okay to be scared and have fear. Learn to harness it and “push” through things. Always try to conquer your fear, if you can’t manage the hill or rock garden, get off but at least try. (I forget this one at times!)
10. You do not need to have a fancy bike to enjoy riding a bicycle.
It looks like Arleigh wants to go into the points in depth and the points above will become links, which I'm excited to read about.
What would I add to the list of 10?
- I have an addition to #8: "Learn the rules of the road." After learning the basics, ride with a group as soon as possible, and figure out what your style is, how to ride together, and how to apply the rules to different situations. Groups can push you when you want to be pushed, help you learn, encourage you. I love this piece of advice.
- Carry enough tools, a spare tube, patch, tire levers and a pump! Bike maintenance might seem intimidating if you aren't familiar with bikes, but if you learn it a little at a time pretty soon you will be confident in your skills and abilities to bail yourself out of at least minor mechanical issues.
- The gear does not make the rider. Become a strong rider on whatever (functioning, safe) bike you have, and worry about upgrading your machine and gear later. Gear is highly personal so try lots of things and understand that sometimes people are going to insist that "their way" is "the way." I suggest taking their recommendations under advisement but ultimately doing whatever you personally find best.
What would you add to the list?