How to safely get back into cycling

Getting back into cycling after a long break can feel a lot like riding your bike uphill—difficult, long, and painful.

But whether you stepped away because of an injury or life demands, getting back on the bike is within your reach.

And here you’ll find tips on how you can get back into cycling, even if it has been years since you’ve been in the saddle.

Let’s get started.

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How to safely get back into cycling

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HOW TO GET BACK INTO CYCLING AFTER A LONG BREAK

If you’re getting back into cycling after a long break, here’s some good news…

You’re not starting from scratch.

Some studies 1 2 suggest that your muscles retain their adaptations to training for quite some time, which can mean a faster return to cycling.

You’ll still need to be conservative with increasing your cycling workload so you don’t get injured, but you can expect to regain your fitness faster than someone who’s never been on a bike before.

Returning to cycling after a long break? Ease back to cycling

Before you get impatient and frustrated with your current cycling fitness, remember, your mind may be ready to pick up where you left off, but your body is probably not on the same page.

Getting back to cycling requires time—time to rebuild your cycling fitness and strength.

Start with short 20-minute easy rides two to three times a week before extending your time on your bike.

You could handle more or less, depending on how long your break was and your overall experience as a cyclist—it’s all up to you.

But ultimately, your cycling routine depends on 3 things: your cycling goal, your schedule, and whether you’re injury-prone.

  1. What’s your cycling goal? Do you want to ride your bike three times a week? Or do you have a goal ride you’ve got your eye on, such as a century ride?
  2. What’s your schedule? How much time do you have to ride every week?
  3. Do you get injured easily? If you do, you may have to adjust your cycling workload to avoid an injury. You’re your own best resource on what’s working and what’s not.

Get back to cycling with this cycling motivation tip

If you don’t feel like cycling today, get your gear together…slowly. Sometimes, a lack of motivation comes from tossing and turning all night or excessive stress—and there’s a whole separate set of cycling tips for when this happens.

But if it’s none of those culprits and you’re just facing a massive wall of resistance, try gathering your gear as slowly as you can.

You don’t even have to corral all your gear at once. Start with filling one water bottle. Then, do the next. After that, check one tire. And so on…

You may still feel resistance, but doing these tasks at a relaxed pace may feel more like a game. And the great thing is, you’re gaining forward momentum, even at a snail’s pace.

Want to give up because the resistance is too strong? Don’t—the more resistance you experience, the slower you move.

The result after finally gathering your gear? It’s a good bet you’ll want to ride because you won’t want your efforts to go to waste.

Getting back on the bike when you don’t feel like you’re making any progress

Keep a ‘wins’ journal. A ‘wins’ journal helps you keep track of all the great things that have happened so far with your return to cycling.

It doesn’t have to be a long journal entry. An entry only needs to be a sentence, but it must be consistent for you to get the most from your ‘wins’ journal.

Set aside a minute at the end of every ride to note one good thing that came from getting on your bike that day. One minute, one good thing.

Anytime you think you aren’t making progress, or need a dose of motivation, flip through your ‘wins’ journal to review the good things that have happened since your return to cycling.

You can get back to cycling if you build your cycling fitness slowly and steadily. But the cycling tips don’t have to end here.

If you want extra cycling motivation tips, grab the freebie below where you’ll find 3 more ways you can boost your cycling motivation today.

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How to safely get back into cycling

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How to get back into cycling

How to safely get back into cycling

I started cycling many years ago, but never what you would call seriously. I’ve always looked upon it as a way to try and keep fit, something that is constantly on my mind as the 50’s loom ominously ahead.

I’ve often looked at ways of getting fitter on malehealth, but have never favoured activities such as running or football, but the idea of some sort of challenge has always appealed.

A friend of mine mentioned a while ago, the Pedal for Scotland cycle run that he had done a couple of years back, then when it came round this year he suggested a few of us do it. There was my ‘get fit’ plus a challenge in one go. So five of us signed up for the Pedal for Scotland Challenge bike Ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

With a distance of 51 miles, for your average non regular long distance cyclist, I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park (so to speak). But it would be achievable with a little preparation, I told myself.

I got out in the evenings for around 45 to 60 minutes two or three times a week and I was soon definitely feeling the benefits of it fitness wise. We tried various routes and went for a twenty six mile ride the weekend before the cycle. We were lucky as we live in the country and the ride was beautiful – though extremely hilly!

Two days after the event, how do I feel?

Remarkably good actually. I can feel that I have been doing exercise in my legs, but I don’t feel wrecked. The training obviously worked. Yes I feel fitter and I certainly don’t feel as lethargic as I can do in my sedentary position in front of a computer.

The ride itself was excellent. It started in the centre of Glasgow and gradually worked it’s way out to the East, heading into suburbs, then country roads through villages. Although I have often travelled from Glasgow to Edinburgh, I can honestly say I had previously seen none of this route at all.

There were five feed stations along the route where you could stop for refreshment, plenty of food was laid on for you to help yourself to and that all important water.

The official lunch venue was Linlithgow Palace and a glorious place to stop and rest / refuel for a while. Unfortunately, I had just had a puncture in my back tyre and was more concerned with checking my bike over and making sure I had put everything back on the right way, than enjoying the food, or the lovely lake that the feed station was set up next to.

The last ten miles of the fifty one were, inevitably, the hardest. Coming up to Edinburgh, the course diverted from mainly roads to a cycle track which took us through the leafy suburbs of Edinburgh. This route met with (what seemed like at forty one miles in) some serious hills that really made you remember that you did have legs attached to your torso after all. The training on the hills nearer home definitely paid off here.

Eventually, a change to a pleasant cruise for the last stretch to the finishing line, where I had a very pleasant realisation that I had just cycled from Glasgow to Edinburgh, from the west of Scotland to the east.

Could you do this cycle ride?

I saw people of all ages doing this ride. There were children and people much older than me. Men, women. Cyclists who obviously rode regularly in clubs and competitions. There were very expensive bikes and bikes that were making such serious mechanical noises that you avoided them like the plague, for fear of seeing a part of their bike just a little too closely. There were people who were small and svelte, lots of slightly overweight people and some who were very overweight, but giving it a go (respect to them).

What would I do differently next time?

I would put a little more training in – that is I would start earlier and probably try and do another (second) long run before the day.

I took a rucsack, not a large one, with a hydration pack, tools and food in. I might think about not taking the food and hydration pack and really being careful with what I take on a future run, as the muscles in my shoulders and neck became very sore towards the end. I would definitely take plenty of water, but perhaps on my bike, not my back, besides, there is also plenty of water supplied at the feed stations.

I took spare inner tubes with me, which made it much easier to deal with my puncture, but my friends didn’t. I would recommend taking at least one spare!

If you fancy getting out on that bike that has been sitting around for a while, there are some tips below on how to do it.

The ride can be done as a charity event and I did my ride in aid of cancer charity Maggie’s.

Peter’s top ten tips

  1. Start by going out on short runs on the bike, perhaps down to a local park and back. Then ride around the park as well, then twice, three times etc, building up your stamina.
  2. Check out a map of your area and spot what look like good routes, especially if they steer clear of traffic.
  3. As you build up the length of your routes, try and increase your speed a little as well – keeping within the confines of what you are happy with.
  4. Try and find yourself several routes to stop yourself getting bored. Try finding lots of small routes, then when you are happier with going out on longer routes, combine the smaller routes to make a longer route.
  5. Learn to use your bike gears effectively – a lot of people don’t. Use them as you would a car’s – change up when going faster, down when going slower. Use them to power you up hills.
  6. Wear lycra cycling shorts. Yes, really, do. Put a pair on under a pair of ordinary shorts if you like, but your credentials will be cushioned and will thank you for it!
  7. Check out the Sustrans website for their national network of cycle tracks and good cycling advice.
  8. Drink lots of water. Yes, lots. It can be deceiving how much water you are losing as you cycle, as the wind as you ride quickly takes surface moisture away.
  9. Most important of all, enjoy it. Don’t race if you don’t want to. Do stop if you want to. Take all day if you have the time. Stop when you feel tired, have a rest and then carry on.
  10. Sign up for something to challenge yourself and give yourself a goal.
  • More on getting back into cycling from the NHS.
  • Photo: Tejvan Pettinger

Pete wrote this for malehealth in 2010 – and he’s still cycling.

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.

Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men’s Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we’re the only UK charity doing this – please help us.

Did you love zooming around on your bike as a child, but find that cycling in adult life consists of little more than the occasional ride on a hired bike when on holiday?

Whatever your reasons for wanting to make cycling a solid habit – fitness, sociability, or just to enjoy a bit of ‘you time’ – it’s a great activity to be involved with and one that can be enjoyed in many different seasons and settings.

So if you want to make cycling a regular habit but aren’t sure where to start, here are five ways you can get, quite literally, back on your bike.

1. Commit to a group ride

In partnership with British Cycling, HSBC UK runs traffic free Let’s Ride events all over the UK, so you can simply show up, and get riding. From city centre rides to urban rides, the Let’s Ride events are open to the whole family and always great fun to be a part of.

Can’t make any the Let’s Ride events, British Cycling have a whole network of Women’s only Breeze Rides, Guided group rides and Ride social – so if you’re keen to go out with others, there’s no end of options!

2. Set yourself a challenge

Whether it’s a personal goal or training for an official event, setting a specific target to work towards is much more motivating than a vague intention to ride ‘more often’.

If you’ve got a goal to reach, you’ll have to put the hours in to meet it. For inspiration and motivation, British Cycling’s digital training guides are a great place to start.

3. Make it the start and end of your day

Swapping a crowded train ride or traffic-heavy car journey for a bike ride not only gets you on your bike more often without sacrificing precious free time, but also bookends your day with exercise to make you feel great. Just make sure you’re road-savvy and keeping safe.

There’s lots of useful advice to help you commute with confidence on your bike here.

4. Become a member of the British Cycling community

If you’re serious about getting back on your bike, why not make it official?

If you are a customer of HSBC UK you can get free membership to British Cycling, where you can get access to discounts on cycling gear, priority access to tickets for major events, great deals on insurance and loads more.

Plus, you’ll be the newest member in a community of more than 125,000 people of all ability levels who are passionate about getting on their bikes and improving conditions for cycling in the UK. What could be more motivating than that?

5. Try a special style of cycling

From the smooth, steady glide of road cycling to the unpredictable thrill of mountain biking, there are lots of different styles and activities that will bring biking into your lifestyle. And for those of you who want to try something really exciting, there’s always para-cycling.

Bounce back from hard rides even stronger and faster.

How to safely get back into cycling

How to safely get back into cycling

If you like to ride hard, you need to make recovery a priority. From fueling right to adjusting your postride routine, here are eight easy ways to help you bounce back quickly from a tough training ride.

How to safely get back into cycling

Take a few minutes to spin easy after you’ve thrashed your legs with a hard ride. The blood vessels in your legs expand while you’re hammering away, and if you stop abruptly, and the blood pools down there. This not only makes you lightheaded, but also limits your ability to get fresh nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood in and metabolic waste out—two keys to muscle repair and recovery.

How to safely get back into cycling

You probably don’t travel with a massage therapist, but you can travel to races and events with a massage stick or mini foam roller—or even a couple of tennis balls. Whatever works for you, bring it and use it.

Massaging your legs helps push out the fluid carrying the waste products of muscle breakdown, and it encourages fresh blood to flow in and help rebuild. Research shows that massage following exercise can improve circulation up to 72 hours later. It also breaks up muscle adhesions (knots) that can form from overuse, so your muscles work more smoothly.

How to safely get back into cycling

The research on how much compression wear improves performance is still fairly equivocal, but studies indicate it can help reduce swelling, fatigue, and muscle soreness after intense exercise. If nothing else, slip on some compression socks. The soleus (calf muscle) is called your second heart because it shepherds blood back to your chest. Compression socks accelerate that process, which in turn improves blood oxygen levels and subsequent recovery.

How to safely get back into cycling

Dehydration can delay the recovery process because your blood essentially turns to sludge. So stay hydrated as best as you can during hard efforts and chase a hard ride or race with a bottle of your favorite recovery drink (and we don’t mean beer… save that for afterwards), be it chocolate milk or something fancier.

How to safely get back into cycling

People used to believe that dosing up on antioxidants like Vitamins C and E could stave off free-radical damage done during hard exercise and accelerate healing. Today, we know the opposite is true: Research shows that during the acute recovery period immediately following a hard workout, antioxidant supplements can counteract the beneficial effects of exercise and keep your muscles from recovering appropriately.

In head-to-head comparisons of muscle damage and cell rupture between supplement users and those who go without, those who popped antioxidants appeared to experience more muscle injury and slower recovery. Some studies have found taking C and E after exercise can also counteract the insulin-sensitizing effects of exercise, which is a fancy way of saying your muscles won’t be able to pull in the glycogen and nutrients they need to restock and repair.

How to safely get back into cycling

Branched-chain amino acids found in protein have been widely shown to decrease exercise-induced muscle damage and promote muscle building and repair. You can buy branched-chain amino acid supplements, but eating high-protein foods like beef, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, and legumes will also get you what you need. Get a high-protein snack, shake, or meal in your system after you crush a ride to kick-start your muscle repair.

How to safely get back into cycling

Hard rides blow out your carbohydrate stores. You body is most primed to replenish them within about 30 minutes of a vigorous workout, so eat a carb-rich snack within that window. Plus, that protein you’re also eating speeds up glycogen restocking as well as muscle repair. A nut butter sandwich or some Greek yogurt and fruit are ideal postride recovery foods.

How to safely get back into cycling

Sleep is healing. Muscle-building hormones surge during shut-eye, while those hormones that break down muscle decrease. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night or sneak in a 30-minute power nap, which research shows can also help lower stress-hormone levels and promote recovery.

How to safely get back into cycling

We’ve all been there. One minute cycling is everything, the next we realize we haven’t pulled on our cycling gear in months or sometimes years.

Whether you got tired of one rainy commute too many, or suffered an injury that made cycling a struggle, there are lots of reasons people fall out of the riding habit.

The good news is, there are lots more reasons to fall back into the saddle – and we have the guidance you need to get back to riding a bike after many years of a break.

Start Slow

This kind of goes without saying if you’ve been out of any exercise for an extended period of time, but it’s always wise to pace yourself. Go too hard too soon and you might end up straight back out of the habit again.

Try a few short bike rides two or three times a week on quiet roads or in the park. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you notice progress. On top of this, you’ll also (hopefully!) remember how fun it is, and how much better you feel for it.

Choose the Right Bike

Who feels enthusiastic about riding a bike after many years but now they feel unsafe or uncomfortable? Choosing the right bike for what you need is important. There’s a massive range of bikes out there made to suit your needs and experience level.

How to safely get back into cycling

If you’re coming back to cycling and your bike has seen better days, do some online research or head to a reputable bike shop to ask for something that is easy to ride and comfortable.

Road cyclists can also check out our blog, The Best Beginner Road Bikes for Under $1000 for affordable, well-reviewed road bikes. If your bike is still going strong but just needs some attention, follow our guide to fixing common bike issues so you can hit the road again with confidence.

Cycle with Purpose

It can be easier to get back into the swing of things when you have a time-sensitive end point. If you need to get to meet an appointment across town, for example, or arrive at work by 9am.

By committing to riding to work three days per week, you can more easily track your progress. What once took you 45 minutes could quickly become 40, and so on. Starting off like this is a great way to motivate yourself and get back into the routine of commuting on two wheels again.

Mix it up

The most common reason for quitting something is because we no longer enjoy it. If you’re a road cyclist but are ready to try something new, challenge yourself with a different type of riding. Whether it’s gravel riding, mountain biking, seeing what the e-bike trend is all about or heading out on some fat tires, sometimes keeping it fresh can be the key to rediscovering your passion for cycling.

Ready to Start Riding a Bike After Many Years?

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The California Vehicle Code contains the state laws that specify where and how bikes must operate. For the most part, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. (CVC 21200).

There are some specific rules. Below, for your benefit, we summarize the key sections of the law that relate to cycling.

How to safely get back into cycling

WHERE YOU CAN RIDE

If you’re moving as fast as traffic, you can ride wherever you want.

If you’re moving slower than traffic, you can “take the lane” if it’s not wide enough for a bike and a vehicle to safely share side-by-side. The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. (CVC 21202) Unfortunately, some motorists and even police don’t understand cyclists’ right to “take the lane.” If you have a legal problem based on this understanding, consider calling one of the bike-friendly lawyers we identify on our “Crash Help” page.

Use the bicycle lane. On a roadway with a bike lane, bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane except when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazardous conditions, or approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. CVC 21208

You don’t have to use the “protected bike lane.” Once a bike lane is separated from moving traffic with posts or car parking or anything else, it’s no longer a “bike lane” according to the law; it’s a “separated bikeway.” CVC 21208 does not apply. You may ride outside of the separated bikeway for any reason. (SHC 890.4d)

Ride with traffic. Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic, except when passing, making a legal left turn, riding on a one-way street, riding on a road that is too narrow, or when the right side of the road is closed due to road construction. CVC 21650

Mopeds and high-speed electric bikes are not like regular bikes. Gas-powered bicycles and type 3 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 28 mph) may not be used on trails or bike paths or lanes unless allowed by local authorities. They may be used in bike lanes or separated bikeways adjacent to the roadway. CVC 21207.5 They require helmets and may not be operated by people under age 16.

Low-speed electric bicycles are almost like regular bikes. Type 1 and 2 electric bicycles (with top assisted speeds of 20 mph) are allowed wherever regular bikes are allowed unless a sign specifically prohibits electric bicycles.

Bike path obstruction: No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path. CVC 21211

Sidewalks : Individual cities and counties control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks. CVC 21206

Freeways : Bicycles (including motorized bicycles) may not be ridden on freeways and expressways where doing so is prohibited by the California Department of Transportation and local authorities. CVC 21960

Toll bridges : Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted to do so by the California Department of Transportation. CVC 23330

EQUIPPING YOUR BIKE

Brakes : Bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. CVC 21201(a)

Handlebars : Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. CVC 21201(b)

Bicycle size : Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and start safely. CVC 21201(c)

Lights : At night a white headlight visible from the front must be attached to the bicycle or the bicyclist. CVC 21201(d) and CVC 21201(e)

Reflectors : At night bicycles must have the following reflectors:

  • Visible from the back: red reflector. You may attach a solid or flashing red rear light in addition to the reflector.
  • Visible from the front & back: white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles
  • Visible from the side: 1) white or yellow reflector on the front half of the bicycle and 2) a red or white reflector on each side of the back half of the bike. These reflectors are not required if the bike has reflectorized front and back tires. CVC 21201(d)

Seats : All riders must have a permanent, regular seat, unless the bicycle is designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat. Bicycle passengers weighing less than 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts. CVC 21204

OPERATING YOUR BIKE

Helmets : Bicyclists and bicycle passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when riding on a bicycle. CVC 21212

Head phones : Bicyclists may not wear earplugs in both ears or a headset covering both ears. Hearing aids are allowed. CVC 27400

Cell phones : Unlike motorists, cyclists are permitted to use a handheld cell phone while riding. Be careful!

Alcohol and drugs : Bicyclists may not ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. CVC 21200.5

Hitching rides : Bicyclists may not hitch rides on vehicles. CVC 21203

Carrying articles : Bicyclists may not carry items which keep them from using at least one hand upon the handlebars. CVC 21205

Pedestrians : Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Bicyclists must also yield the right-of-way to totally or partially blind pedestrians carrying a predominantly white cane or using a guide dog. CVC 21950 and CVC 21963

Parking : Bicyclists may not leave bicycles on their sides on the sidewalk or park bicycles in a manner which obstructs pedestrians. CVC 21210

It’s just like riding a bike – even after all these years!

How to safely get back into cycling

Karen Jenkins photographed in Randolph, NJ. Photo by Brian Branch Price.

Whatever your age, grab a bicycle and ride! If you are 60 or older, and do not ride a bicycle, let me convince you to ride.

Bicycle ridership among those 60 years and older is growing the fastest according to data collected by the US Department of Transportation. Between 1995 and 2009, the rise in cycling among people ages 60-79 accounted for 37 percent of the total net nationwide increase in bike trips. Canada, countries in Europe, Australia, and Japan report a similar trend.

Fifteen years ago, my brother surprised me with a heavy, three-speed, step-through bicycle. I was 45 and hadn’t ridden a bicycle since childhood. The gift sat unused for seven years until serendipity intervened and pushed me down an unfamiliar path. Now I ride my bicycle nearly every day and I am the (Director Emeritus) of the League of American Bicyclists, which at 135 years, is the oldest bicycle advocacy organization in the world. Every day, I smile broadly and laugh loudly as I ask myself, “How, at my age, did this happen?”

Getting Started – Find a Community of Bike Riders

First, don’t be afraid of riding a bike. Find a nearby program that teaches adults to ride and the skills to ride in traffic. In the US, a good source of information is the League’s website. Type your state and you will find a wealth of information about the Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) program.

Listed will be bike shops, clubs, classes, events, and bike instructors in communities throughout your state. Don’t overlook your local and state advocacy organizations, which at the grass roots level are working to make their communities safer for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. I am confident you will meet knowledgeable and friendly people eager to see you riding a bicycle safely and with joy.

How to safely get back into cycling

Can Everyday Biking Keep Us Young?

Get a Bicycle

Decide how much you can afford to spend and don’t forget to budget for accessories like a helmet, lights, and a lock. If you are fortunate to live in a city with a bike share program, rent one before deciding to buy. There may be a bicycle recycle program in your city where you can purchase a bike for very little money.

For a new bike, go to your local bike shop and have fun looking while asking lots of questions. Most important is to test ride all the bikes that interest you. A good bike shop will help you find an appropriate bike for your budget, the correct size and style for your needs, and make final adjustments for maximum comfort.

Carefully Consider Your Physical Needs

As we get older, our agility decreases, no matter how physically fit we are. Many manufacturers now offer bicycles that are specific for women, seniors, and those with physical limitations. If you are learning to ride or have not ridden in a while, a road (racing) bike may not be the best choice. City bikes are made for comfort and transportation, and with their upright positioning are very manageable to ride. Consider a tricycle if you find balancing on two wheels a challenge.

If lifting your leg over a bicycle frame proves to be challenging then look for a step-through bike which can be handy for all genders. I am now looking for a bicycle with wider tires and a deep step-through.

How to safely get back into cycling

Karen demonstrates how to fix it yourself with her Trek step-through bike at Marty’s Reliable Bicycle in Randolph, NJ. Photo by Brian Branch Price.

Finding Easy and Accessible Places to Ride

Riding your bicycle should provide hours of healthy, stress-free, physical activity outdoors that will allow you to enjoy the scenery and the company of friends. Take time to find places to ride that are easy and where you feel safe from traffic. Look online for bike maps of your area and ask your local bike shop for suggestions. Organizations that offer bike education classes may offer easy group rides, usually free of charge. Be on the lookout for community bike rides, many of which close the roads to motorized traffic.

What to Wear on your Bicycle

Wear whatever clothing you have that is comfortable when moving and feels good. There is no need to purchase special clothing. But you should be aware that wide leg pants can get caught in your bike chain, especially if there is no guard. Use reflective ankle straps to clinch around the bottom of your pant leg. Wear shoes that protect your feet and avoid flip-flops. Natural fibres like wool are excellent to moderate heat while “tech wick” shirts wash and dry quickly.

Learning to Maintain Your Bike

A bicycle is a sturdy vehicle with all the parts easily visible and fixable. At a minimum, I encourage you to learn to clean your bike and change a flat tire. Through bike shops, Park Tool offers a basic one-day bicycle repair course that is well worth your time and money. Ask your bike shop or lookup “Park Tool School” online to find classes near you. The course taught me the value of keeping a clean and well-maintained bicycle and to bring it to the shop for conditioning and repairs beyond my capability. Most importantly, the day-long course gave me confidence to get on my bike and not worry about being stranded. Adding a tire repair kit and a multi-tool to your bag will cover most road-side repairs.

Staying Physically Fit with a bike

At the time I started riding a bicycle, I did not know it would be the best investment I would make to maintain my health as I grow older. The benefits of regularly riding a bike include weight loss and preventing serious diseases such as stroke and heart attacks. Riding a bicycle is low impact, an important consideration for keeping active if you have arthritis in your lower joints.

I now take my bike almost every time I drive to visit a museum, go to a meeting, or visit friends. With my bike, I no longer worry how far I have to park from my destination. Often, I will park several miles away and ride my bike. Because I have arthritis in one knee, I am no longer able to walk as far as I would like, but I can ride my bike for miles.

I have looked at my community in ways I never noticed in a car. Most surprising was the physical strength and tenacity I discovered which I did not know I possessed.

Riding a bicycle is for everyone no matter their age!

Karen Jenkins is the Director Emeritus for the League of American Bicyclists and a League Cycling Instructor. She rides every day in her hometown of East Brunswick, NJ and loves to take the long way home under sunny skies. This article originally appeared in 2015.

How to safely get back into cycling

Doesn’t everybody wish that they had access to a personal coach for their questions about training and fitness?

Road Bike Action recently caught up with Johnathan Edwards, M.D. Dr. Edwards is a practicing sports doctor and anesthesiologist in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has been a sports doctor for American cyclists as well as in Europe. He is a USA Cycling certified level 3 coach and has worked with athletes during the Paris Dakar rally. As a former professional motocross racer and current Cat 2 road racer, he understands the health and training needs of cyclists of all levels.

Cycling and Lower Back Pain

I am 25 years old and often get lower back pain while cycling. What can I do?

This is a common problem in cycling that is seldom discussed. There are many causes of back pain in young cyclists.

To answer the question, lower back pain in a young cyclist without any other problems or history of back pain is often due to mechanical factors (versus intrinsic problems inside your body). The most common is bike fit, then bike fit and then bike fit.

In my experience, many cyclists are riding bikes that are too big for them and many cyclists lack proper flexibility and/or their core strength is lacking. Take the time and have your bike fitted to your body. Back pain can also arise from anatomical causes like leg length discrepancy or misalignment of your spine.

So much of what cyclists do is hunching forward—working on computers, riding bicycles and eating at dinner tables all contribute to bad spinal health. Poor spinal health is common in young cyclists and often due to bad posture (on and off the bike) and injury. If you favor one side of your body or the other due to injury or poor posture, your back eventually takes the strain. An imbalance in the spine will cause overuse of the lower back.

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How to safely get back into cycling

Photo: Michael Hession

Peloton now charges a $250 fee for delivery and setup of the Peloton Bike. Delivery and setup is still included in the base price of the Peloton Bike+.

If you thrive on the competition and camaraderie of studio cycling classes and are intrigued by the idea of replicating that experience at home—where many people have moved their workouts these days—a Peloton Bike could be for you. Becoming a member of the Peloton pack is an investment: roughly $2,300 for the first year and nearly $500 each year thereafter. And that’s for the base model. But for a set of indoor-cycling devotees, these recurring costs for live-streaming and on-demand classes make financial sense. Namely, those who typically take four or more Peloton-like studio classes a week may find the at-home bike and classes to be a superior value in as few as four months.

If you have never considered a Peloton but are unsure whether an indoor-cycling class at the gym or a studio appeals right now, you may be weighing all your at-home options. People who love the Peloton love the Peloton. (So much so that the company introduced a second model—the Bike+, an upgraded version of the original—in September 2020. We review it here.) Peloton struggled to keep up with demand for its equipment during the pandemic, but demand has begun to wane as people return to the gym. Once-lengthy delivery times have shortened: The projected delivery window for the Peloton Bike and the Peloton Bike+ is currently two to three weeks.

But Peloton is no longer the only connected-indoor-cycling story. We've also tested nine Peloton alternatives that promise a similar overall experience, plus an alternative way to use the Peloton app (or any indoor-cycling app). After assessing those bikes, taking dozens of classes, observing even more, and absorbing myriad motivational mantras, we’ve concluded that if you have your heart set on a Peloton Bike and all that comes with it, you’ll be happiest with a Peloton. It is excellent equipment overall, and for the indoor-cycling devotee, it is possibly a good value or even a bargain. (Still, you have to make and enforce your own good habits, and the bike becomes a shadow of its former self if you stop paying the $39 monthly membership fee.)

There are other options that may better fit your budget, style, or goals. To decide, you need to know yourself, what you want out of your bike and your workouts, and—perhaps most important—what you’re willing to go without.

Expand your bike handling skills with others who are at your skill level. Basic Cycling Techniques is for electric or traditional bike riders who know how to ride but who would like to become more comfortable and confident. Do you want to become a pro at taking your hands of the handlebars to signal, or to stop quickly and safely in an emergency, or to shift your gears efficiently? The class allows you to practice bike-handling techniques and culminates in a ride in the park to solidify what we’ve learned by riding on low-traffic streets nearby.

Learn how to:

  • Check your bike for safety before each trip
  • Properly fit a helmet
  • Check your bike fit
  • Start riding efficiently
  • Stop elegantly
  • Ride in a straight line
  • Turn gracefully
  • Identify traffic and hazards
  • Signal your intentions to other road users
  • Shift gears
  • Ride safely in a small group
  • Apply basic principles of traffic safety

Small class sizes and low instructor to student ratio allow the content to be tailored to your level.

This class is for adults. Students under 18 may be able to register for the class, but must have a parent or guardian attending the same class as a registered participant. Please contact us to discuss before registering your child.

Pre-requisites: Sign up for Basic Cycling Techniques if you can:

  • Student is able to ride in a straight line for at least 100 yards
  • Student is able to turn the bike to the left and to the right with control
  • Student is able to stop using both brakes while maintaining control of the bike
  • Student is able to make simple gear changes and knows which hand controls front and rear shifting

If you have difficulty with any of these skills, please consider joining us for our Learn to Ride lessons.

Class Size: min 5, max 8

Price: Member $60, Non-Member $65

Financial assistance is available HERE

Duration: 3 hours

How to Prepare: Bring a traditional or electric bike in good working order and a CPSC approved helmet. Bring water and be sure to wear weather-appropriate clothing.

Location: Cascade Bicycle Club, 7787 62nd Ave. NE Seattle, WA 98115. We are located right off of the Burke Gilman Trail at Magnuson Park.

Bike Parking: Bike racks available outside the building as well as limited indoor space.

How to safely get back into cycling

Exercise after Covid is proving to be no (socially distanced) walk in the park for many who have fought off the virus, and with the number of cases on a steep rise thanks to the highly-infectious Omicron variant, getting moving again is an issue that’s affecting more people than ever.

Of course, returning to exercise after recovering from any illness can be difficult – but anecdotal evidence suggests that many have found returning to the mat/road/bike after Covid particularly tough.

Keen runner Francesca Menato is no different. She was well into marathon training when she contracted Covid-19 in March 2020.

‘I was without a doubt, the fittest and the fastest I’ve ever been in my life at that point,’ she says. She was on track for a sub-3:30 marathon when she started experiencing symptoms.

Thankfully, she recovered without needing any additional medical help. About a week and a half later, she was feeling well enough to attempt easing back into running – but it turned out to have been far too soon. ‘I was still in that marathon plan mentality, and I just couldn’t accept that I needed to take a longer break,’ she admits.

No matter how slowly she ran, her heart rate would skyrocket. ‘I slogged through a few runs, hating them, until I made peace with the fact I was going to need more time out.’

She took several more weeks off before she felt ready to begin a new running plan. While she feels better than before, it certainly hasn’t been easy going. ‘My body just felt like I had no energy – every new run felt like I was coming off that back of a really intense training week. It’s crazy.’

As is the case with any infection, pushing yourself too far too soon may slow your recovery, says Dr Folusha Oluwajana, a GP and fitness instructor with a BSc. in Sports and Exercise Medicine.

‘Deciding when to start exercising again after having Covid-19 can be tricky as the recovery period can be very variable between individuals,’ she says. ‘We are still learning about this novel virus and road to recovery is not always clear or straightforward.’

If you’re here, you probably don’t need telling how crucial exercise is for both physical and mental well-being. You’re anxious to get back, we know – but understand that your return to your former glory may take time. Gains and PBs don’t trump overall health.

With that in mind, here are 9 things you need to know about returning to exercise after recovering from Covid-19.

Can you exercise with Covid?

First things first: what if you’re still fighting off the virus? If your Covid symptoms are anything but *very* mild, chances are you won’t feel like lacing up your trainers at all. But what about those with minimal symptoms or asymptomatic cases?

How to safely get back into cycling

How to safely get back into cycling

How to safely get back into cycling

‘Mild symptoms indicate that your body is experiencing only a low inflammatory response to the virus, so your exercise capacity is unlikely to be significantly affected,’ Dr Oluwajana says.

But – and this is a big but – just because you still feel up to that lunchtime workout doesn’t mean you should.

‘As a sports’ medic, I’d definitely advise resting, for a full week at least,’ says Dr Rebecca Robinson, consultant in sports and exercise medicine at the Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP).

‘We do see even asymptomatic people with confirmed Covid getting Long Covid, so for a week of rest, it’s not worth the risk of pushing through.’

If you’ve had a mild case, Dr Robinson advises at least 10 days off, or until all symptoms have gone.

Is exercise safe after Covid?

‘Exercise in some form will be safe post-Covid,’ says Adam Hewitt head of clinical at Ten Health & Fitness, who is heading up their Covid Recovery Programme.

‘Start slow and avoid the temptation to compete with your [pre-Covid] self. This is a vicious virus that affects major parts of your body. With that, it is still new in the medical field, and with that in mind, a slow and measured approach is certainly advised.’

The BMJ affirms that exercise can be safe after Covid, providing that you take a progressive approach (basically, don’t push it – more on this to come), and have rested for the advised amount of time above.

If you’ve battled with severe symptoms or were hospitalised with Covid, your doctor should be your first port of call when it comes to guidance on getting back to exercise.

How long should you wait until you start exercising after Covid?

According to the BMJ, you should stick to the following advice:

  • Rest for at least 10 days after the first day you begin to show symptoms, whether they’re mild or not.
  • Rest for 7 days if you’re asymptomatic.
  • You should also be symptom-free (if you showed symptoms in the first place) for at least 7 days before thinking about exercising again.

So, if you’re experiencing symptoms for 10 days, then rest for 7 symptom-free days, that’ll mean 17 days off exercise. Dr Amal Hassan, a sports and exercise medicine consultant, shared a handy round-up of the most important points to keep in mind.

How to safely get back into cycling

New to cycling, or getting back into it? Make sure your bike fits you properly, that you can control it comfortably and it is roadworthy.

Get your bike assessed by a local bike shop if you are unsure how to do a full check, or join one of the regular ‘Dr Bike’ sessions for Cambridge staff and students, held periodically around the Univeristy estate. Visit our events page or see upcoming events in the bar to the right of this page.

If you’re not sure how to check your bike is safe to ride, follow these steps to carry out a quick M check:

  • Mechanical Conditions Are all the parts tight and in good repair?
  • Frame Check that the frame fits you
  • Tyres Are they fully inflated with plenty of tread and no bald patches?
  • Wheels Check spokes are not broken or loose and that both wheels run freely.
  • Chain Is the chain oiled and not too loose or too tight?
  • Brakes Do both brakes stop the cycle with the minimum amount of pull on the brake levers?
  • Brake Levers Are the brake levers positioned so your fingers curve easily around them whilst the palm of their hand is on the grips?
  • Saddle Is the saddle straight, roughly horizontal and the correct height for the rider?
  • Seat Post Is the saddle the correct height for you with the seat post tight and not over the maximum limit

There is a handy video from Sustrans showing you how to give your bike a basic M-check if you are not sure.

Training can improve your confidence when cycling on the roads and can help you to position yourself correctly on the road and around other vehicles. Even if you’ve cycled for a long time, a one off lesson can help you improve your skills.

Outspoken Training offer free 1:1 sessions of 2 hours for both staff and students , which can be started at a whole range of destinations around the city. The sessions are aimed at all types of cyclists, from those just starting out and hopping on a bike for the first time, through to experienced riders who might be new to the city. There is also bespoke training for cargo bike riders, those with adaptive bikes or electric bikes, and riders wanting specialist advice on riding with a child sitting in their child seat. Book your session online.

Whether cycling to work or at work, follow the guidelines below to help you stay safe.

  • Be Safe Be Seen. When cycling in the dark, make sure you have two lights on your bike, a red one on the back and a white one on the front. Download our Be Safe Be Seen poster in the Materials section of our website for more information.
  • Reflectors are important so make sure they are fitted to the back of your bike, your pedals and spokes for extra visibility, especially when cycling in the dark.
  • Dress to be seen so wear reflective high viz clothing.
  • Always be prepared to STOP. Make use of the bell to alert other road users if required.
  • Get geared up. If you’re cycling during the colder, wetter months, wear gloves and water proofs to make your ride more comfortable.
  • Wear appropriate footwear which wont fall off when your cycling.
  • Use panniers to carry luggage or a backpack, rather than carrying bags on the handlebars.
  • Ride about one metre out into the road, not in the gutter. This avoids drains and grit, makes you more visible and prevents cars passing where there is not enough room. Make eye contact with drivers when crossing the road to let them know they have been seen.
  • Signal in plenty of time and avoid hesitant or sudden manoeuvres.
  • Always obey traffic regulations they are there to keep yourself and other road users safe. See the cycling section in the Highway Code for more information https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82.
  • Keep looking and listening. Look out for pedestrians crossing, cars pulling out, car doors beginning to open and hazards in the road surface.
  • Make eye contact with other road users to make sure you’ve been seen.
  • Stay behind large vehicles. Never ride up the inside of any large vehicle as you cannot be seen. Be aware of the additional space large vehicles need to turn.
  • Don’t be floored by doors. Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles.
  • Use your bell to warn pedestrians in good time of your approach.
  • Give way to pedestrians on a shared cycling and walking path. Remember that pedestrians will not always hear you approaching.
  • Be prepared.Carry a puncture repair kit and tools with you. Use dedicated cycle paths/tracks where available. Planning quieter routes can help you reduce your risk of having an accident.
  • Carry a charged mobile phone in case of emergency.
  • Mobile phones, headphones and other handheld communication devices are not used whilst cycling at work. If you need to take a call whilst on the move, stop in a safe place to use your phone.
  • Where possible maintain social distancing guidelines. If you are unwell, get tested for Covid-19 and isolate if required.Use University track and trace system to alert close contacts.

Reporting a cycling accident

Cyclists are required to report any accident or near miss to their Line Manager as soon as possible, completing a University accident form, which can be found online.

Any cycle accidents occurring on the public highway should also be reported to the Police. This information is used by Cambridge County and City Councils to determine key cycle accident hotspots and to allocate funding for future cycle scheme improvements.

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How to safely get back into cycling

You’ve had your amazing little bean and while you are emotionally, mentally, and a fair amount physically exhausted you’re ready to get back to training. Or at least I was…. As someone who trained (or worked out) up until basically the moment I went into labor riding my bike for 75 minutes the day I went into active labor as a way to distract myself from the constant discomfort of really horrible pre-labor contractions by the time two to three weeks postpartum rolled through I was very much starting to get antsy to get back to training. Now please note I was cleared fully by my doctor to do so, if you are not cleared by your doctor do not start anything always listen to your doctor when returning to any form of exercise after having a baby.

I found that during those first few weeks of returning to training the bike was one of the best choices because it was so low impact. With great structure (and a good pair of cycling shorts) you could really begin to push yourself without risking any physical injury specifically to your pelvic floor. While it was great to get back to training it was very different, here are a few things I learned during those first few weeks of getting back into training after having my first baby.

How to safely get back into cycling

Photo Credit @ Justin Luau

Table of Contents

Get Back to Training After Having a Baby with These Tips

1. Be patient with yourself

This patience with yourself comes in more forms than just understanding that your body just went through a huge form of trauma and needs time to get back into the swing of things. It really comes from knowing that your schedule at that time frame may be a bit messy and on top of that you may feel some pretty serious guilt for taking the time to do so. No longer do you only have to worry about yourself but that 30-60 minutes you set aside for yourself may get totally sideways when your baby starts crying, needed food before you thought they would, or just wants all the snuggles.

You also have to be patient with yourself and have a little bit of grace for the fact that your body just went through a huge trauma and did something while amazing took a toll on your body. It needs the time to get back into the swing of things. Start slow, start simple, and start easy focus more on form and function than going out there and pushing the limit.

2. Don’t give up

It gets easier. Your body is very resilient, and it is very amazing. It will bounce back and most likely it will bounce back faster than you think it will. Give it some time and don’t get frustrated when it isn’t perfect to start with. The more you keep showing up and keep coming back to it the sooner it will feel as though you are more yourself.

How to safely get back into cycling

Photo Credit @ Justin Luau

3. Take the time to do it

At the beginning, and in reality it seems like forever moving forward, there is often a large amount of guilt surrounding the act of taking time for yourself to do something that seems so selfish such as getting some exercise or getting your bike workout done. You have to remember that not only is the exercise good for your physical health it is really good for your mental and emotional self as well. In order for you to be the best version of yourself for your little one you have to take care of yourself too and if that means you need time to get your bike workout done then it is important; you will be more attentive, more present, and in a better state of mind and that means you will be better for your little one. So take the time, do the workout and then when you are done give everything you’ve got to your little one!

‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ – that’s a phrase I have heard a lot in my lifetime, it was one of my Mum’s favourites basically meaning if you want it enough, you’ll find a way to do it.

Funny that it was my Mum who instilled that in me, because as I am learning now as a Mum myself, mother’s need an awful lot of ‘will’!

When I was pregnant I was quietly confident that I would be back on my bike fast and would be quickly able to regain my previous levels of fitness.

This wasn’t unrealistic thinking, I understood what pregnancy and weight gain would do to my body, I was ready to be patient and prepared to work at.

The bit I had omitted in my thinking was how on earth I was every going to find the time to actually do it!

Sometimes to get anything done for you, and not for your family or work takes an awful lot of ‘will’.

How to safely get back into cycling

When I was younger, child-free and genuinely fit I was riding my bike anywhere between 8 and 20 hours a week. I honestly thought that people who ‘couldn’t find time to train’ were just lazy or making excuses.

I’m so sorry.

I’d say sanctimonious things like ‘ if you have time to watch an episode of Love Island you could manage to do a 30-minute turbo session’ and ‘why not try getting up an hour earlier to cycle before work.’

Ha – what an idiot!

When you have been kept awake most of the night by a baby that hour is the difference between functioning in your day or falling asleep stood up. And possibly being a danger to yourself and the small person you are responsible for.

Restarting cycling after having a baby

Eventually, the will and the desire to ride my bike asserted itself and I wandered bleary eyed out of the early days of motherhood and started to look for ways to get pedalling again.

I’m no longer a sanctimonious advice giver – these are just the things that worked for me.

1: The Tag Team

In our house there are two parents who like to cycle, in a way that makes it easier as you both understand the desire to ride, but it also means two people competing for valuable free time to ride. We found the most efficient and fair way is the tag-team.

The first summer our son was born we were lucky enough to live in France. My partner likes to ride enduro downhill, I like to ride uphill on a road bike.

He would drive baby and van to the top of a mountain, I would cycle up on my road bike. At the top I get handed keys and a baby so he can descend to the bottom. It’s a match made in heaven, the Jack Spratt and his wife of cycling.

Back in the UK where there are no mountains we still tag-team – he drives and I ride to a meeting point and then we swap. The only thing is we never ride together.

2: Trailer Cycling

Once baby is able to go in a trailer a whole new world opens up, you can ride as much as you want again. But there are considerations. You will worry if it is too hot/too cold/too windy/too wet in a way you wouldn’t if you just had yourself to think about, c’est la vie – that is now your life as a parent.

I was breast feeding for 16-months so also had to consider finding places to stop and feed that were comfortable enough for both of us. Winter feeding when you are trying to strip back layers to expose your boob to a cold wind is quite a challenge!

COVID-19 lockdowns derailed our cycling training routines and getting back into them has its challenges. You have to know how to maintain the initial motivation, prevent injuries, and enjoy the cycling life again. Let’s go over a few tips and tricks to help you set off on the right foot.

The pandemic cost us an hour of exercise per week

In a study published in February 2021, researchers used an activity-tracking app to look at the exercise habits of nearly 5,400 people in the UK since the start of the pandemic. By the first full week of lockdown, people dropped their physical activity by 57 minutes compared to their baseline. This represents a 37% reduction!

Once the pandemic restrictions were eased, only people older than 65 appeared to bounce back well with their physical activity. Researchers were looking at walking, cycling, and running, which means that not every cyclist had an easy time returning to their hobby.

How to safely get back into cycling

It’s not as easy to come back to your exercise routine. © Profimedia

Reconnect with your cycling community

One of the most effective things you can do to kick-start your training and cycling life overall is to reconnect with your community. This could be your cycling friends but also local cycling groups and clubs or your Strava and other virtual communities. There are several ways to do that.

Organize or join group rides – invite your friends for a ride or join a ride that’s organized by your local group. Complaining about how much your legs hurt at a coffee stop while eating a cake is guaranteed fun!

Plan a cycling holiday – get your family or friends excited about a themed holiday or make new friends by joining someone else’s. It’s a great way to kick-start your cycling fitness.

Sign up for a race – there’s nothing better that creates a shared sense of excitement and bonding like signing up for the same race with your friends and plotting training strategies.

Join a virtual event – even though lockdowns are gone, virtual events could still be a fun way to share the joy of cycling with others.

Make cycling fun

How to safely get back into cycling

Find your joy in cycling. © Profimedia

Now that you reconnected with your cycling community, you also need to reconnect with your love of the sport. The key to sticking with any activity long term is identifying why you enjoy it. With cycling, it can be easy to get distracted by trying to improve your times, testing new gear or racing. Don’t focus on tracking, measuring or having the right gear on the first few rides. You should start by doing whatever it is that made you fall in love with cycling. There’s no right or wrong here. Whether it’s road, mountain, adventure, track, utility, triathlon, park, gravel, trail or any other of the million ways to enjoy those two wheels, just do it!

Go cycling in nature

There might be one thing that could enhance your cycling experience no matter the preference. It’s cycling in nature. Research shows that just being in nature, in the outdoors, has a lot of benefits for improving physical and mental health. A 2019 study found that spending at least 120 minutes per week in a natural environment such as a park, a forest or a beach was linked to significant improvement in self-reported health and well-being. And people noticed even greater benefits with 200-300 minutes per week.

Gradually increase training load

It seems obvious but it’s still really important to say that after so much time off from exercising, don’t expect to jump back in where you were before the lockdowns. It’s important to be realistic with your expectations so that you don’t end up pushing your body too hard and injuring yourself or get frustrated and give up completely. You can follow a few simple general rules if you’re not sure where to start.

How to safely get back into cycling

Just being in nature helps improve your mental and physical state. © Profimedia

Resume your physical activity at 25-50% of the level you were previously used to. That includes both time and intensity. The specific percentage depends on how fit you kept during the lockdowns. It might even be higher than 50% if you did a lot of Zwifting.

The initial “fun only” segment should give you some volume and help get your body used to spending time in the saddle again. But when it’s time to start increasing the intensity, you have to be careful.

Increase training time and intensity only by about 10-15% each week. That’s a good guideline to avoid injury. Some cyclists might have to go down to 10% every 2 weeks if it seems like too much. You have to listen to your body.

While you’re increasing your training load, you should also start giving your body more care. If you get stiff and sore more than usual, add some cross training. Pilates or yoga can help with flexibility and mobility. And consider strength training regularly 1-2 per week. That’s one of the best injury-prevention tools there are.

How to safely get back into cycling

Try and add some cross training to your routine. © Profimedia

Get back into your routine

Once you get back into your routine, it’s time to start thinking about a training plan again. If you’ve never trained with a plan and want to get in shape for your first 50k, then you can follow our 8-week plan right here.

If you’re more experienced, you can build your own training plan. Here are a few tips for that. Alternatively, you can connect with a coach and get someone with more experience and an objective view of your fitness to help you get the most out of your training.

Track your progress

With a training plan or a solid routine in place, it’s time to start getting back to tracking your progress. Maybe you’ve been riding with your Garmin the whole time and synchronizing all your rides to Strava. Or maybe you will start doing that with week 1 of your new training plan. Either way, looking back at your previous times and power outputs will be an extra source of motivation and satisfaction going forward.

Getting back to training after a long layoff is a valuable experience for every cyclist. We hope that there won’t be more lockdowns any time soon. But it’s better to be prepared!

Any coronavirus information mentioned is accurate at the time this article was first published (25 January 2021). For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus restrictions, please visit the source: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

With summer upon us and Victorians beginning to return to their workplaces in COVID-normal, now’s a great time to think about commuting to work in different ways.

In this article we look at:

  • Easy tips and resources which can help you get back on the bike
  • Etiquette when walking and riding on shared paths

Be Healthy was created by VicHealth to provide helpful tips and advice on how you and your family can stay healthy. You can read more Be Healthy articles .

As the saying goes, you never forget how to ride a bike. So now is a great time to break out your wheels and helmet again if you’re heading back to the office.

With people less likely to use public transport as part of their daily commute during the pandemic, there are some simple and easy ways to travel while also being physically active.

Top four tips for cycling and walking while physical distancing

So you’re all set to head out for a walk or hop on your bike for a cycle, but what else do you need to know?

Here are some handy tips on how to commute by foot or pedal, while staying COVIDSafe.

1. Get back in the saddle with Bicycle Victoria

How to safely get back into cycling

If you’ve had a break from riding your bike, or if you’re a beginner, now is a good time to check you have everything you need and it’s still in good working order before you head out.

Bicycle Network Victoria’s ‘ Pedal to a better normal ’ page has a range of tips and resources that can help get you riding, including:

  • How to plan a bike route
  • Choosing the right bike for you
  • How to lock up your bike
  • What lights should you use on a bike
  • How to ride in the city and other busy areas

Tina McCarthy, one of VicHealth’s This Girl Can – Victoria ambassadors, who also runs the cycling group Wheel Women , has some great advice for those wanting to get on their bike.

2. Pick your time and place

How to safely get back into cycling

Many of us may still feel a little uneasy about being in large crowds of people, so if you’re walking or riding to work it’s important to pick a route and time which isn’t too crowded for you.

“Now is the perfect time to experience the joy of discovering local streets. You’re guaranteed to notice things at walking pace you have never noticed previously,” said Ben Rossiter, CEO of Victoria Walks.

If your workplace is offering flexible hours, this can help you avoid busy times on roads or bike paths should you choose to walk or ride to work.

3. Be predictable on shared paths

How to safely get back into cycling

Whether you’re riding a bike or on foot it’s important to be predictable and considerate of others when on shared paths.

“Bike riders must legally keep left and give way to walkers on shared paths, while walkers can walk together,” said Ben.

“If a bike rider rings a bell (hopefully from a distance so it doesn’t startle), give a little wave to let them know you have heard.”

“Be predictable rather than making sudden movements and keep dogs and children close by you.”

Tina said the same goes for cycling: “Being predictable is essential, it helps people understand what you are doing.”

“Use your bell intermittently, not incessantly. Call out ‘passing’ when going past walkers from behind, smile and be friendly, not annoyed if they don’t know what to do when you pass,” said Tina.

Craig Richards, CEO of Bicycle Network Victoria , added that cycling at a considerate speed is also important: “The best advice on a busy shared path is not to ride faster than a human can run. Just be patient – you’re not riding in the Tour de France,” said Craig.

4. Be kind and considerate

How to safely get back into cycling

With offices now allowing staff to return, lots of people are taking the opportunity to use footpaths, bike paths and roads to commute, so it’s important to be considerate of other pedestrians and road users.

Ben points out the importance of looking out for others who need extra consideration.

“Be aware of older walkers or people with disabilities who might be unsteady on their feet – give them room and get off the footpath if necessary so they aren’t forced onto the road or uneven surfaces,” said Ben.

Tina hopes for more education around sharing paths and recreation spaces.

“We share the spaces we have available…be kind, be patient, be friendly!” she said.

So if you’re walking or cycling to get to work, looking out for others, keeping your distance and being friendly will make it more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.

Now you’re all set! Getting back on your bike or out walking during the coronavirus pandemic is a great way to form healthy, long-lasting habits.

For more VicHealth articles on how to look after your health in 2021, check out:

As the title says, I'm looking for some advice to get back into cycling. A few years ago I had an horrendous accident with a truck. I won't go into details about how it happened as I don't remember much of it. The last thing I remember is laying on the ground, bike in pieces and a broken leg.

It took 6 months before I could get back on a bike again and another 6 months for the fracture to be fully healed. In those 6 months, my level got reset by 10+ years, basically, it was like I was 10 again and just started out. That was mentally crushing me. I had a hard time trying to get back into cycling but my parents (they meant well, don't blame them too much) made me lose the little love I still had by pushing me too hard. They thought that I would get back too my old level in just a few months. So I put new bike aside for a good year. Then I tried again to get back into cycling but again my parents, while having good intentions, started to interfere again, which made me quit again. So I stopped again for over a year.

Now I'm trying again for a 3rd time to get back into cycling but this time I made it very clear to my parents to not interfere with me. I want to go at it at my own pace. I have started going to work on my bike and try to atleast go on 1 ride every week (as long as it doesn't rain because I don't wanna get soaked and get sick). I want to ride more during the week but I can't bring myself to do it. So has anyone some advice and/or tips to go on some more rides?

And sorry for the long back story, I tried to shorten it as best as I could.

Slow and steady on some closed bike paths, get some fun loops going or out and back. Key is to remember what cycling is all about and that’s having a blast, enjoying yourself and stress relief.

Came here to say something similar. Small coffee rides and doing what you enjoy on a bike.

If you live somewhere scenic/have local trails (paved, or unpaved depending on bike) get out there and ride to enjoy nature. Don’t worry about stats as you ride. Build up your love of cycling again, and the rest will come with time as you enjoy it more and more!

Glad a broken leg was all that happened. Bikes can be replaced. People cannot. And with that I would add to get a friend or two to ride with, or find a couple people from your LBS. cycling community is (usually) top notch!

As hard as this may be to hear, getting back to the same level you were at may not be an attainable goal, at least in the short-term. Serious crashes can leave marks on your psyche even if they don't leave any physical or visible marks. Getting back into riding slow and gentle with commuting is a great first step, and telling your parental units to back off and let you work through it at your own pace is vital, but beyond that. wait and see what that pace is, but treat yesterday as your benchmark, rather than where you were before the collision. It'll be less frustrating that way.

About 4 years ago, I woke up in my local ER to a doctor reaching down towards me with needle and thread to sew up my face. My last memory before that was hitting the "Lobby" button in the elevator of one of my clients' buildings. As a courier, I had spent nearly 2 years prior to this in the saddle for about 500km/week over the course of a 40hr workweek, with frequent century rides (both metric and Imperial) on my weekends. Like you, it took months before my medical team cleared me to get back on the bike. I had to get back in the saddle for work, but the love of cycling for the sake of cycling? Vastly diminished. I rode cross-Canada last summer because it had been a goal of mine for over a decade, but spent far too much of the trip questioning why I had flown 4000km from home to start a 6500km bike trip. Riding for the sake of riding just doesn't hold quite the same appeal as it once did, since being hit by a taxi and losing hours of memory and any firm grasp of my personality and memories.

Well, it happened again. You hit the deck (ouch!) and got sidelined for a while, losing precious fitness. What do you do? You manage it the right way, knowing that you can still be fit and get that form back! It will simply take a little longer. Cycling is a multiyear sport, and done correctly we can be super active well into our 70’s, so you have got to take a long term approach.

First, make sure you recover from the injury fully before going back to work. This means you listen to your doctor, and follow the protocol to the letter. If he says 10 days, then time it down to the hour before getting back on. So often we feel good, go back to work and suffer another setback for some stupid reason like the fact we weren’t actually healed yet. Wait as long as your doctor says, and it will pay off.

Be intelligent about the ramp up. Don’t think you can do the same workouts you were doing before the accident. You can’t. Start slow and ramp up your body over time, and you’ll see amazingly quick progress. The body has memory, and it’ll pop back quickly if you set it up for success and support it. Now, we’re not saying you have to go back to winter base miles, but maybe cut your efforts in half for a week or so; get in higher amounts of volume with lower intensity, and things will come roaring back just fine. And if it’s too late in the season, who cares? There’s mountain biking, ‘cross, and the beloved ski season ahead… you’ll be just fine and come back stronger for taking your recovery seriously.

Dealing With Fatigue

What if you didn’t crash, you’re just feeling that late season drag? Fatigue happens in cycling. As we peak in mid to late season, it becomes more of a sliding backwards trying to hang on to that beloved fitness game. Embrace the slide. You cannot be on peak performance all season, so do those things that you might not have done well before when you were pushing so fiercely. Hard to believe, but resting a little more right now is in order. You’ve loaded the system all this season with massive stress, and adding more now isn’t going to make you any stronger. In the mid-season, you might only have 1 day off and 1 recovery spin day, so try taking 2 recovery days now. And your rides don’t have to be the 3 and 4 hour epics they used to be. Spin for an hour or two max, and vary the tempo, but then recover well the next day. With the extra rest, you can dissipate some of the training load, and you’ll most likely feel a refreshed snap in your legs. Then unleash that snap!

Mentally being “up” for your event is a touch harder now, too. It happens… that “A” race was scheduled for June, but got pushed to August. Now what? You love the event, but the timing couldn’t be much worse. It’s these times when I go back to my winter time basement sessions and remember all those lousy intervals in front of an old Tour de France DVD. They stunk. But I did them, and I did them with a purpose in mind. I did them for just such a time as this! This is MY day, this is MY time, and I’m not going to suffer all December, January, February and March just to give up now. So keep your mind in the game, hold on to that winter focus, and get yourself to August!

This is also the time for unstructured riding with friends. Friends you can torture with sprints to the yellow signs where you have a lead, then call the sprint when they have no hope of catching you. Or sprints to your imaginary finish line. You throw your bike and give your victory salute at just the moment where they were gaining on you, but they still lose. Summer is awesome, and it’s more awesome when you can go back and forth with your peers. Sometimes you win, sometimes you have to call the finish early so you still win. Riding and racing is supposed to be fun, and friends make it all worth it.

If nothing else, be motivated by the fact that almost every race has beer at the end. Any day that involves a bike and a pint is going to be a good one.