Bucket List Cycling Activities and Skills for Beginner Cyclists
Dec 5, 2022
If you’re new to cycling and the sport is a little foreign to you, there are bound to be things you find intimidating or things you don't know how to do. To fully immerse yourself in the sport, we've created a beginner cyclist bucket list so that you can experience everything this wonderful sport offers. Here are our top 10 activities.
Try clipless pedals (cleats)
There's nothing like challenging yourself to master clipless pedals. While they seem intimidating initially, cleats are a game changer for enjoying cycling and are surprisingly easy to master. Riding with clipless pedals makes riding that much easier as they create a consistent connection between your feet and the pedals, allowing you to push and pull on them. Clipping in and out is also not as daunting as it looks and will come naturally after your first few rides.
Go for a bike fit
A bike fit is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you are comfortable on your bike and well worth the money. Chat to your bike store, research whom to go to for a fit, or use someone others recommend. A proper fit can ensure you don't suffer through hours of back or neck pain while riding and can help prevent injury. Whether you're just starting with a couple of hours a week or planning to bike-pack through Europe, we recommend getting the bike set up just right.
Enter a race
Don't be intimidated by the shaved legs, tight lycra, and fancy gear. Races can be lots of fun and are a great way to set goals and push your limits. The racing calendar is full of races; it's about finding the right one for you. The choice of races these days is endless; from sportifs to multi-day mountain biking races, there is something for everyone. Check out your local bike club for races, ask friends or search cycling races in your area; you're bound to find a few gems.
Ride a tandem
This activity is slightly more daunting than the rest but something every cyclist has to do at least once in their lifetime. Find a friend with a tandem bicycle, or rent one for the day and ride in the countryside. Riding a tandem can be loads of fun, and you’ll have some stories to tell afterwards. If you're feeling very brave, enter a race on a tandem, the hills will seem that much easier when you've got someone helping you pedal up them.
Go on a bike-packing trip
There's nothing quite like packing the bare minimum and heading out on an adventure with nothing but your bike and a backpack. The best bike-packing trips are usually with friends and can be as short or as long as you want. Plan your route with Strava's route plotter or an app like Komoot beforehand. You can go off-road or stick to the tar; the choice is yours. Bikepacking offers many options for overnight accommodation; you can book guest houses in advance, carry a tent, and camp or sleep under the stars if you're feeling adventurous. The simplicity of a bikepacking trip is second to none, and it's a great way to escape the hustle for a little while.
Explore the unknown
Ride with a pro
One way to make yourself feel very "cool" is to go on a ride with professional cyclists. Many sponsors and teams host rides that allow you to brush shoulders with the best. Keep a lookout on your local cycling groups or pro team's social media channels for any rides in your area. These can be lots of fun, and you can pick up a few tips and learn some tricks from the best in the sport.
Learn basic bike maintenance
Keeping your bike in top condition is essential to extend its life. Knowing how to do the basics, like changing a tube or resetting your gears, is also extremely handy and can help you out of a pickle. Get a more experienced friend to teach you, find out if any clubs or shops offer classes, or see if your bike shop will let you watch while they work on your bike.
Learn the basics
Ride to work and back
Think no sitting in traffic and fresh air blowing through your hair; a great way to start your morning. This activity depends on where you live and if it's safe/close enough to ride into the office. If you live too far away from work to ride there and back again, try driving or using public transport to work and then riding home. The next day you can do the opposite. If your offices don't have showers, riding home from work is an option where all you have to pack is your kit. Check out the bike routes before doing this to find the best and safest choices.
Commute to work
Watch a professional race
Whether a classic one-day race or a grand tour like the Tour de France, this is a must for any cyclist. Most of the big races are readily available on streaming platforms and TV. Research the riders before watching the race to better understand the teams' tactics and strategies. For example, know who the favorites are to win, learn who each team leader is and what the leading riders' strengths are. The racing is much more exciting when you understand what is happening and why. Try to watch with friends or family that understand the racing so that you can ask them questions as the race progresses.
Ride in a different country/area
Going for a ride somewhere new is a fantastic way to explore and experience the area. If you can't take your bike with you, you can usually easily hire a bicycle at your destination. Many bike shops have rental options or will be able to assist you to find a two-wheeled tour guide or rental facility. Whether it's to get around the town or for structured training, a bike is one of the best ways to explore.
Take on new roads
Now that you've got enough tasks to keep you occupied for the next little while, we recommend making a list and getting started. The exciting world of cycling is out there waiting for you to explore it.