Pamela Simon has been hooked on cycling ever since the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and regularly blogs about her experiences in the saddle. Thanks, Pamela for allowing me to post your work. I am happy to publish it.
And with that, enjoy! -Matt.
Of course, the first thing you need is a good bike. It’s important that this is the right size for you. While it can be OK to buy a cheap second hand bike, you need to make sure it isn’t too big or small before you agree to buy it. Going to a specialist bike shop may mean spending more on your bike, but you will know that it suits your size perfectly, so it will be perfectly safe and comfortable to ride and won’t cause any injuries from being the wrong size or shape for your body.
The second most important part of your cycling kit will be what you choose to wear. Cycle jerseys are the perfect option for a streamlined, cycle-friendly top. They tend to be tight-fitting and made from specialist fabrics so that they won’t slow you down, and they come in a range of designs to suit your style. Cycle shorts come in a variety of lengths, from hotpants to full leg length, and tend to be weatherproof and suitable for all seasons. Loose clothing might catch in the wheels, so try to avoid it.
Shoes for cycling should be lightweight and flexible and with enough grip so that your feet don’t constantly slip off the pedals, and so that you can stop yourself with your feet if your brakes fail. You can buy special cycle shoes, but light trainers should also suffice. You will also need to equip yourself with some good safety gear. A helmet is an absolute essential, and you should find one that fits your head snugly. Elbow pads and knee pads are recommended too, along with wrist supports for mountain bikers.
If you intend to leave your bike anywhere, take a padlock or a bike chain to secure it to a rack or railing so that nobody can steal it. You should also take a bike light and light-reflecting patches to attach to the frame and wheels to ensure drivers spot you when you’re on the road, and a bell so you can alert pedestrians to your presence when you cycle up to them from behind.