As a beginner cyclists I made three mistakes that nearly ruined bike riding. I’ll share these three common mistakes to avoid when biking, as well as some tips to improve your riding experience.
Whether you ride your bike for fun, fitness or competition, cyclists of every riding level will benefit by avoiding these mistakes. These three beginner cyclists tips will get you excited to ride a bike.
Preparing For A Bike Ride
The biggest mistake I used to make, and its a mistake I see other cyclists making too, is failing to properly prepare for your bike ride. Preparation involves eating right and hydrating before your ride, and making sure you have everything you need for your ride.
For a pre-ride meal you need something light with protein and carbs. I like to make scrambled eggs with a small glass of orange juice. Scrambled eggs have plenty of protein. its a light meal, but it will make you feel satiated for your ride. A small glass of OJ isn’t enough hydration, so make sure you drink plenty of water before your ride too.
Once I’ve properly fueled up and hydrated I check the weather forecast and dress for my ride based off the temperature throughout. For example, often times it is very cold in the morning even on what will become a hot summer day. That means starting off with a light jacket. When the temperature increases you will need somewhere to store that jacket for the remainder of your ride. A road biking jersey will have pockets to hold a small jacket, but I prefer to use a large saddlebag to stuff the jacket into.
I use the large Topeak Aero Wedge saddle bag (Check Price on Amazon) because it holds my spare jacket, a flat kit, GoPro batteries, and nutrition. Make sure your flat kit is in your saddle bag before you leave too. I’ve left without mine numerous times. I don’t usually get flats thanks to my tubeless setup. However, getting stranded without a flat kit is awful, and it will ruin your cycling experience.
Preparation is the best thing you can do to ensure you have a good time on your bike.
Nutrition While Riding
But what about while you are on the ride? Running out of energy is a common problem when riding a bike, especially on longer rides. That’s why its extremely important to pay attention to nutrition while riding. The amount of nutrition you need will depend on the amount of time and effort you spend riding your bike.
I have two ‘go to’ items I take on every ride I expect to last longer than an hour. It’s Clif Bloks for some carbs, and hydration mix in one of my two water bottles.
The Clif Bloks have 8 grams of carbs per Blok, so popping in two or three of these will give you a quick burst of energy. The hydration mix is used to replace electrolytes lost in sweat. Both of these items taste amazing and give me the boost I need to keep going. I always buy Clif Bloks on Amazon because they are cheaper than my local bike shop, and you never have to worry about your favorite flavor being sold out. All the Clif Blok flavors are found here on Amazon.
The most important piece of proper nutrition is eating it before you need it. I usually eat one Clif Blok every 20 minutes whether I am running low on energy or not. The worst possible thing that can happen on a bike ride is bonking.
For those that don’t know; Bonking is when your body runs out of energy and you are stuck on the side of the road or trail unable to continue moving forward. Imagine a time in your life when you felt physically exhausted and just need to lay in bed. That feeling is similar to bonking, except with bonking you are on your bike far from the comfort of your bed.
Pay Attention To Recovery
Finally, the biggest mistake I see people make is not paying attention to recovery. Its different for everybody, but in general you should consume protein immediately after a ride, and continue to hydrate. Doing so will help reduce the sore feeling in your legs and core the next day.
I have a chocolate protein mix and a vanilla protein mix. Depending on how I feel, I make a chocolate smoothie or a fruit smoothie after each ride. For those times when I have no time, a protein bar works too. I’ve found the powders have more impact on my body. I get my protein powder from Costco because its the cheapest I’ve been able to find.
Recovery rides are a big piece of the pie too. A recovery ride is a low intensity ride for 30-60 minutes. Because everyone’s ability level is different, don’t focus on mileage. For me, a recovery ride is 10 miles in 45 minutes or so. For a beginner it might be 6 miles in an hour, and an advanced rider might go 15 miles or more in that same hour. Regardless of the distance you ride, keep it low intensity. These low intensity rides keep you prepared for your next long ride without putting too much stress on your body.
Mistakes To Avoid Biking Recap
To Recap: The mistakes to avoid when biking are failing to prepare properly, not having adequate nutrition while riding, and not paying attention to recovery after your ride. Paying attention to these three areas on every ride will quickly put you on your way to a better biking experience.
Share your beginner cyclist tips in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed my tips on the three biggest mistakes to avoid when biking, you will also like: