Bicycling is an excellent way to exercise and lose weight. But if you’re not accustomed to riding bikes for exercise, then you may need to learn a few things about it before making it a staple of your normal exercise routine.
Even though most of us learned how to ride a bicycle at a young age, biking for exercise or even as a means of commuting is a horse of a different color.
For example, whereas you might have started cycling as a child in the suburbs, you may live in a city or large town now, where it’s significantly more difficult to find a safe place to ride your bike.
You may also no longer have a bike ready and accessible that you can use on a regular basis.
So let’s discuss how to start cycling to lose weight, along with a few tips on how to stay safe on the road or cycling paths.
Hopefully, we will inspire you to rediscover your job of bike riding and encourage you to make it a major component of your typical workout routine.
If you’ve been looking to get involved with running as well, you should check out this helpful guide as well.
Start Out with a Stationary Cycle
If you live in a large city, then it may be a good idea to re-enter the world of cycling by first starting out with a stationary exercise bicycle.
These machines can range from less than $100 to several hundreds of dollars for more advanced models that include interactive screens and pre-programmed workout routines.
But if you have enough room in your home or garage for an exercise bike, then it’s likely worth the investment.
Having one nearby can offer you a great way to get some exercise even when it’s too rainy, snowy, or dark for cycling out in the real world.
And if you haven’t biked seriously for several years, then an exercise bike is a great way to get your legs back into shape and ready for some real cycling.
Find a Bike That’s Right for You
The next major step will be to find a bicycle that will perform well on a variety of surfaces.
Depending on your personal budget, your options may be fairly limited. But there are certain basic features that you should look for before purchasing.
One of the main features you should look for is gears. You’ll want a bike that has at least five speed settings.
These setting will help you adjust your pedal power for different inclines and road surfaces.
While fixed-gear bikes (only one gear) are suitable for certain city environments that don’t feature many hills or slopes, most environments call for multiple gears.
You also don’t need to limit your search to brand new bicycles. Instead, feel free to look for a bike on reselling websites such as eBay and Craigslist.
We will urge you, however, to see a bike in-person before purchasing so that you can make sure that it’s still functioning and that it hasn’t been mistreated over the years.
Whether buying a new or used bike, ask the seller whether you can take the bike out for a quick spin before finalizing your purchase.
This will give you the chance to gauge the bike’s weight, it’s shifting capabilities, as well as how the bike feels and whether you’re comfortable when riding it.
Find a Safe Place to Cycle
When it comes to cycling on a regular basis for exercise, finding a safe place to ride your bike is half the battle.
Cycling on public streets can make for many different challenges, and cycling on sidewalks is illegal in many states and cities.
Try to look for nearby bike paths online and see whether it would be convenient to drive out to these sites on a weekly or even daily basis.
Cycling on a designated path allows you to focus on the cycling itself instead of giving hand signals and making sure that you’re not blocking traffic.
Popular paths can also give you a great way to meet other cyclists in your area.
Regardless of whether you’re riding in the street or on bike paths in nature, always be sure to wear a bike helmet and outfit your bike with reflectors or safety flashers.
Even if you’ll only be riding in the daytime, these devices can go a long way toward keeping you safe in the case of a collision with cars, other cyclists, or pedestrians.
Make it Part of Your Routine
The next major step is to make cycling part of your normal workout routine.
And while this doesn’t mean that you need to ride your bike every single day or even every other day, you should try to take your bike out at least once a week.
It may seem like a lot of effort at first, but you’ll soon realize that cycling can be a very enjoyable way to get some exercise while also taking in some fresh air.
Set modest mileage goals for yourself at first, then steadily increase those goals as you become more comfortable on a bike.
Join a Cycling Club
When it comes to motivating yourself to continue biking for exercise, joining a cycling club can be a huge help.
Most clubs simply set a day each week or each month when they get together at a predetermined location to ride bikes as a group.
Riding in a group is safer than biking alone and also gives you a chance to meet new friends in your area who are also trying to be healthier and lose weight.
Enter Cycling Charity Events
A cycling group may also motivate you to enter some cycling charity events.
These events follow the same basic structure as a charity fun run. The course is set ahead of time, for a certain mileage.
From there, each entrant asks friends and family members to donate a certain amount of money per mile traveled during the event.
You’ll have the chance to get some great exercise in a safe setting while also contributing to a charity of your choice.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved.