It’s easy for people to take a cynical approach when getting into cycling. After all, buying a bike for the first time can be a costly venture, let alone all the gear, tech and tools to go with it. With around 10 years under my belt of doing it the wrong way, and then eventually the right way, I’ve come up with 10 top tips to avoid being branded with the ‘rookie’ stick.

1. Look pro, go slow

Formally known as ‘all the gear, no idea’, I’ve come to realise this statement is often based on jealousy more than anything. Personally, I flip it on its head, looking like a pro enjoying riding with no care as to what others think, particularly about my ability.

Look Pro Go Slow

Photo: Szymon Nieborak (Delayed Pleasure)

2. Match-up where you can

Match your kit accordingly, even with your bike if possible for extra kudos! Okay. This is a bit of a conflict of interest as personally, I believe socks don’t often count, however, it does look super cool if you can match your socks, bibs, and jersey up altogether.

3. Matching bottles

A concept often overlooked – if you’re riding with twin bottles, make sure they match.

4. Caps not hats

Hats are overrated. It’s all about the cycling caps in my eyes! Caps, in my opinion, are one of the best cycling accessories.  They keep the sun out of your eyes on the bright days and your head warm & snug on the colder days.

I never cycle without one plus, with a plethora of designs from all sorts of different brands, there’s bound to be one that suits your style!

5. No pro kits

If you’re going to wear full pro kit you’re going to need the 9K bike and all the bells and whistles that come with it. Personally, it’s a no from me and generally points out the rookies from the true pros!

6. Avoid saddle bags

Bikes are beautiful objects, and adding a saddle bag often disrupts that beauty! Practical yes, and in winter when more tools are necessary then this is forgiven. However they are a bit unnecessary when you can carry your tools and pump in your jersey pocket!

7. Learn how to fix your bike & don't forget your tools

There’s nothing more embarrassing than being stuck at the side of the road with a mechanical that can be easily fixed but you either don’t have the tools or the ‘know how’ to do it yourself. This happened only a few weeks ago when I stopped to help a fellow cyclist who told me he never carried a puncture repair kit on him! He was very embarrassed.

There will always be someone willing to give you a hand but save yourself the embarrassment and learn the basics like fixing a flat tyre before you head out. ­

8. Join a cycling club

What better way to pick up tips and tricks as well as riding with like minded people? When I first moved to Leeds, joining a cycling club was one of the best things I could have done. I was relatively new to the cycling world and wasn’t all that confident or knowledgeable.

9. Learn basic cycling etiquette

This comes hand in hand with joining a cycling club. Learning simple etiquette such as indication around parked cars or calling out potholes mean riders are notified before they get to that section. Even riding safely in a large group sounds easy, but if you’ve never done it before it’s more difficult than you think.

10. Learn how to track stand

Possibly one of the more difficult tricks to learn on a bike but once mastered, you’ll never be viewed as a rookie again! Used at velodromes, the track stand enables the rider to balance by using his or her balance to keep stationary on the bike without unclipping. For me, without looking like a show-off, it’s sometimes a more convenient option than unclipping at lights!

Bikmo

Not having adequate cycle insurance needn’t be a rookie cycling error you make. Think theft, accidental damage, 3rd party liability and worldwide travel cover as just some of the superb benefits that can be covered with Bikmo.

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