A helmet is advisable if you’re cycling – but the wide range on offer is very confusing. Cycling helmets are designed to protect you from head injuries but there’s also comfort, aerodynamics and breathability to consider when you’re investing in one. All helmets sold in reputable outlets will meet the required standards but the more you spend, the lighter and more breathable the helmet you’ll have. If you’re cycling all year round, you’ll want to take venting into consideration.
If you cycle too far during the first few days, you’ll be too tired and sore to cycle again for a few days. Set yourself a time for cycling or a distance – have a goal and once you’ve achieved it several times in succession, aim for a destination further away or aim to cycle for a longer time period.
Using the same route becomes a little tedious so plan different routes or join a cycling group and you’ll be able to enjoy company and explore different areas.
A good cycling club will welcome you and be on hand to answer any technical questions. Clubs may be found on British Cycling’s handy finder. There’s Sky Rides or Breeze Rides for women and the Cycling UK’s site provides a list of member groups.
Cyclingweekly.com provides reasons for joining a cycling club – which include having a wealth of knowledge on tap, being able to make new friendships, learning new routes with good places to stop for something to eat or drink and the possibility of getting into racing.
Spinning – or indoor cycling – is a form of high-intensity exercise which focuses on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity and recovery. Participants ride a special stationary exercise bike with a weighted flywheel in a studio setting. Music is usually loud, lively and motivational.
If you don’t want to cycle outdoors – winter or summer – you could join a spin class at your local gym. These can be quite fast paced but excellent exercise. In terms of calorie burn, spinning and cycling burn about the same amount of energy. It’s gentle on the joints and because the intensity is varied throughout the class, it provides a great cardio workout – and strength training but it is often hard for beginners. Specialists recommend three spin classes a week. Do make sure you drink plenty of water - its easy to get dehydrated when spinning – and wear your padded shorts. If you go to a spin class, make sure:
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