Get started with cycling this summer

‘Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike’

– J. F. Kennedy

Fitness instructor Miki, is an avid cyclist and here she puts together her starter and improver tips to get you out on a bike this summer.

Get set

Firstly, ensure your bike is set up correctly for you.  A good bike shop will measure you and recommend a bike which suits you exactly. To stay safe you’ll also need to learn how to check the tyres and brakes etc. and a good cycle shop will be happy to show you what to look out for.

Public highways must be treated with respect. Miki’s quick tips are: avoid riding in the dark if you’re a novice, stay away from the gutter and position yourself in the left hand third of the road when you’re in traffic. Other essentials are to carry a good light, ID, money and always have a puncture repair kit.

Local events to aim for

Signing up to an event is a great motivator to keep you pedalling!

Miki recommends the Wokingham Bikeathon on Sunday 25th June, with a choice of 15 or 35 miles this is a ride to suit all abilities.

As your stamina builds, UK Cycling Events host a number of rides which will take you through some stunning countryside, take a look at their website and pick your goal.

Apps you can’t ride without!

Cyclemaps: The perfect tool to plan your ride whether you are looking for a scenic path or the most direct route from A to B.

Strava: This is one of the most popular cycling apps and will track all your stats as you pedal. After your ride check out where you stand on the leaderboard for set segments.

Map My Ride: Record your route, speed and other metrics and compete against others users with the ‘courses’ function.

Local Routes

“Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel, but enjoy the ride.” – Eddie Merckx

Let’s Ride (sponsored by British Cycling) offer free bike rides to join and loads of great routes to explore. Their online search allows you to filter by location, distance, time, bike and ability ensuring that you find the perfect ride for you.

Another option is to join a club, which will help you find opportunities to cycle and introduce you to some great social opportunities.

Miki’s favourite local routes

Caversham → Sonning (River Thames)

Difficulty: Very easy

Terrain: River paths and tracks

Distance: 5 miles return

A great route to enjoy with your family on a summer’s day. You’ll find beautiful views of the river and Sonning lock, and lots of picturesque places to stop and rest.

Theale → Reading (River Kennet)

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: River paths and tracks

Distance: 11 miles return

A ride with great views of the River Kennet as it turns from countryside into urban landscape. Stop half way at The Oracle shopping centre, a nice way to refuel with some healthy snacks.

Wokingham → Reading (A Road)

Difficulty: Moderate

Terrain: Main roads with some cycle lanes

Distance: 14 miles return

The route is mainly flat and you can cycle most of the way in designated cycle lanes. This is a good introduction to road cycling, just make sure you’re wearing high-visibility gear.

Nirvana Spa → Henley (Via Twyford and Sonning)

Difficulty: Challenging for beginners

Terrain: Mainly B Roads

Distance: 20 miles round trip

This route is ideal for a more experienced cyclist as the country roads are quite thin in places. On this ride you’ll find a few challenging hills, so you’ll definitely earn your rest stop!

Fuel your rides

Cycling is a high energy activity so it’s important to refuel whilst out on the bike. You need a balance of high energy carbohydrates and protein.

Miki suggests eating 1 hour before the ride and eating little and often whilst out on the ride (between 0.5g and 1g of carbohydrate per kilo of body weight per hour in 2-3 micro feeds). Miki’s Protein Balls are an ideal companion for a bike ride, even if they do get a little squished! Discover this easy recipe »

Building your stamina

You need to build stamina and the best way to do that is just to get on the bike and go, increasing your rides as you get better.

Miki says:

“Don’t stop just because it’s raining! Watt bikes and spin classes will help you maintain your cycling so that you don’t lose endurance when the weather’s bad.

The Wattbikes really are a fantastic resource and Miki’s favourite way train indoors. Read our guide to training on a Wattbike »

Also, if you’re not used to cycling you may feel tenderness in the back, neck and shoulders. Core conditioning, strength training and stretching exercises are ideal to help support your frame and help you cycle with ease. Miki recommends our Core Conditioning and Circuits classes.

Let Miki help

As a keen cyclist, Miki really enjoys working with members to help make cycling more accessible and she has so many ways to help. Getting motivated Miki-style is a fun, personalised one-to-one session that will help you set your cycling goal and achieve better fitness.

Recovery stretches / supporting exercises

Check our videos to help prepare for and recover from your journeys with strength exercises and stretches to prevent injury.