Group of cyclists riding adapted bicycles

There is a whole world of cycling to discover, but from the outside it can feel like a daunting activity to get into. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to start slow, and build up your confidence. Louise Milne, Kent Sport’s resident cycling enthusiast and qualified British Cycling ride leader, gives her top tips for getting on your bike. You can also download the tips in a handy graphic by clicking the image below.

Getting into cycling landscape version graphic

Get yourself a bike

This is the obvious place to start, but there are a few things to bear in mind. Really, to get started, any bike will do, even that old thing that’s gathering dust at the back of the garage. But do check the brakes, tyres and wheels before you set off. If you’re buying a new bike, take advice from a bike shop but don’t feel pressured into spending more than you can afford. Workplace cycling schemes can help save you money. ReCYCLE is a bicycle recycling programme in Kent, that provides affordable recycled bicycles and cycle education. Find out more, including details of bicycle sales in your area, by visiting cyclecommunity.org.

Dress for it

Any comfortable clothing will do, as long as it isn’t too loose fitting, so don’t feel like you need to be clad head-to-toe in lycra to make a start. Always wear a helmet and flat, comfortable shoes, and make sure you can be seen – the brighter the clothing, the better!

Where to cycle

Ideally when you’re starting out, try to choose a traffic-free route in order to build your confidence, such as a local park or cycle path. There are plenty of lovely routes across the county, and you can find one close to you at www.explorekent.org.

Find friendly people

The best way to build your confidence and have fun cycling is to cycle with others. There are plenty of cycling groups for people of all abilities and experience levels, and you’ll find people who are looking to have a good time and not take themselves too seriously. The Breeze programme offers free friendly women-only group rides. You can find one near you at www.letsride.co.uk/breeze.

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