Getting Started In Cycling (Advice From ESB CC Chairwoman Roisin Kennedy) Adamstown Cyclist and Former International Roisin Kennedy is the current Leinster Track Champion, Multi National and Provincial Road and Track Medalist, and a Recognised Cycling Ireland Coach & Child Protection Officer. Here she outlines some advice for new riders trying to get into the sport:
What do I need to get?
Bike in good working order Use ESB’s bike-to-work scheme if you are purchasing a new bike
Get your bike serviced or use an ESB staff bike / Dublin Bike
Your position should feel comfortable for you
Helmet and clothing
Don’t wear anything that could get caught in your chain or spokes
Padded cycling shorts are a must if you cycle regularly
Food and drink
Bring some of these with you –
Cereal bar, banana, small packet of raisins, fig rolls, brack, Turkish delight, jelly babies
Use a proper cycling bottle that will not fall out of your bottle cage
Puncture repair equipment
Spare tube, tyre levers, pump
Phone (with credit and charged battery!) and a couple of euro for emergencies
Where will I go?
If you want to get started, but don’t own a bike, arrange to borrow an ESB bike to see if cycling is for you. Or try hiring out a Dublin Bike to try out cycling at lunch time, or to help quicken your commute to your bus or Luas stop.
If you have your own bike, start by cycling around your neighbourhood. Use your bike on short trips that have a purpose – go to the local shops / post box / call in to friends or relatives. Go slow and easy, don’t worry too much about distance and speed. Every so often goa bit further or a little faster. You are building up your base miles, so use easy gears and spin the pedals. If you are getting sore or uncomfortable, get your position checked out at your local bike shop, or invest in a pair of mitts or a more comfortable saddle and shorts.
There are lots of parks with good cycle tracks now… take your bike to the Phoenix Park or try a local cycle lane (there is one along the Grand Canal from Adamstown to the city centre, and another from Dalkey Village to Dun Laoghaire). Corkagh Park is just off the N7 near Citywest, and has an enclosed bike track. Bring your kids along too (on bikes / skates) and do a couple of laps together, or let them off ahead, safe in the knowledge that they will be in your view at all times.
Keep your hands on the handlebars, and don’t use earphones so that you can listen out for traffic. Don’t ride in the gutter either, or you are more likely to get a puncture. If you are totally new to cycling, do three outings a week for two or three weeks, or until you feel relaxed and confident travelling on two wheels.
Now it’s time to get training!!
The most common mistake riders make when starting out is to leave the house on a Sunday morning, travel out until they get tired, then turn around and struggle home. It then becomes harder to motivate yourself for the follow up training spins.
Your first task is to find a safe achievable route – the size of the course depends on how out of shape you are. The first thing you have to do is measure the distance of your course with either your car, the computer on your bike or a website like www.maps.google.ie
You will start by doing laps of this circuit. Start your spin and count the laps until you begin to get tired. If you think about it – from tired – you are never more than half a lap from home. This will be the distance you should do for the next two or three weeks in order for your body to condition to exercising. After then you can start to increase the distance. You should be working up a light sweat on your cycle, but still be able to have a conversation.
Remember, your first training spins need to be long enough that you are getting some benefit from it, but short enough that you can enjoy it enough to want to do it again!
If you begin to get tired at 10 miles or less –
Complete your laps until you feel tired and then head home. Do this three days a week, with rest days in between (e.g. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays). Getting out regularly is key. It is much better to do little and often rather than one long spin a week. And remember that every less-than-ideal ride that you do will do you a lot more good than the perfect workout that you don’t do!
If you begin to get tired at 10 to 20 miles –
A rider at this level should be riding 40 to 50 miles a week:
Alternate longer spins with shorter spins. Don’t forget to plan some rest days. If most of your free time is at the weekends, plan your long spin for Saturday. That way, if the weather is bad or something unexpected crops up on Saturday, you can move your long spin to Sunday! If you skip a training spin, don’t double up your miles on your next spin to try and make it up. Just swap around your rest days or take an extra rest day and continue following your plan.
If you begin to get tired at 20 to 40 miles –
Follow a plan with a similar pattern to the one above, with your weekly mileage hitting the 60 to 70 mile mark. A 20 mile spin should be your longest one.
Saturday 23 June 2012 – 10km, 66km, 108km or 162km
Joe Daly Memorial Cycle, Dundrum (Orwell Wheelers)
Sunday 24 June 2012 – 25km
An Post Meath Heritage Cycle Tour
Sunday 29 July 2012 – 11km, 50km, 100km or 160km
ESBI O2O Charity Cycle
Friday 15 June 2012 – Dublin to Cork in one day – 265km !!!
Contact if you need any help with selecting a target. Some leisure events are cheaper if you are a member of Cycling Ireland. You can become a member of CI by joining ESB Cycling Club.
What about other areas of my life?
As well as getting out on your bike a little more, look at the other areas of your lifestyle that you could improve. Rest and Recovery are as important as Training. Get to bed a little earlier. As Sean Kelly would say – Don’t stand if you can sit, and don’t sit if you can lie down! Eat and drink better – keep yourself hydrated and give your body the right fuels.