Cycling on the road can be daunting for anyone who’s never ridden on the road before, or been knocked off their bike in the past. If you’re looking to build your confidence cycling on the road, here are a few tips that can help get you back in the saddle and riding with more confidence.
This weekend I was a lucky winner of a great prize (to me at least) from Garmin UK to participate in a 40 mile charity ride out with British Gold medallist & cyclist Joanna Rowsell for Action Medical Research.
It was a nice group of about 13 people plus a couple of leaders cycling at a leisurely pace around the very hilly countryside of Surrey Hills, south of London. Before we set off in the morning we were informed that there were 3 ‘main’ hills… They lied! There were many more than that, and as you can see below we climbed a total of 1030 metres over about 64km!
As we were riding along we got the opportunity to ask Joanna questions about cycling and pick her brains for tips and advice. One of my readers wanted to know what advice Joanna had for someone who was scared about riding on the road and how they could improve their road cycling confidence. She’s been knocked off her bike before in the past so understood how daunting it can be to get back on the bike and build your confidence again. These are the tips she shared with me:
Don’t ride alone. There’s safety and confidence in numbers. Ride with a friend who’s comfortable on the roads and willing to ride at your pace, or go on a group ride with similar paced cyclists.
Remember you have the right to be on the road. Don’t stress about having to hug the curb, you have the right to ride one metre away from the edge of the road. Own your space and don’t be hesitant.
Ride at your own pace. Don’t rush, take your time when riding and if you need to stop, stop when safe to do so to take a rest. Try and ignore any pressure you feel from cars around you as you ride.
Start with quiet roads. The quieter the roads, the less pressure and stress you are likely to feel when riding on the road and getting used to using hand signals etc. If you live in the city centre take your bike out to a quieter area by car or train and work on building up your confidence their first before thinking about riding in your local area.
Ride in good weather and during daylight hours. When your confidence isn’t at it’s best, riding in bad weather or the dark isn’t going to help improve your confidence or encourage your to keep riding. Stick to the daytime and fair weather days while you work on becoming more familiar and comfortable riding on the road.
Signal and get across early. When you need to cross the road, signal and move across into the middle of the road early when it is clear and safe to do so rather than waiting to the last second and getting stressed or feeling pressured to do it quickly
Do you have any other tips for someone new to road cycling or not feeling too confident about riding on the road to share?
Thanks to Garmin UK for such a great prize to ride on this charity ride!