If you’re reading this, you’re probably somewhere between “I haven’t sat on a bike ever since I was 7 years old” to “I ride a bike twice a week plus I commute to work sometimes”. And yet you nurture a dream of cycling extremely long distances in high level competitions or beating the world record of some sort. And that’s great! We’ll look at the theory of what you need to do to get there, step by step. But don’t forget, theory is just that – a theory, and only practice (a lot of practice) makes perfect.
If you belong to the first category of the two listed above, then you will probably need things as evident as a bike. If the gap between your current fitness level and cycling skills you hold right now and those you are aiming for is huge, my advice is to save up on that extremely expensive bike for when you’re somewhere closer to the goal of yours. For the very beginning, a bike that is simple but perfectly adjusted to your physical properties will be more than enough. Other types of gear, on the contrary, can be taken a lot more seriously, especially a helmet. If you pick something up after a long time, or potentially for the first time, failure is unavoidable, and you want to protect your head when that happens.
Finding your Style
Once you’ve gotten to the point where you feel good on a bike, cycling is a pretty unmovable part of your weekly routine and you never lose your breath after 5 sets of stairs, I believe you are ready to take your cycling to the next level! It includes thinking, planning, determining and outlining your preferences in terms of speed, intensity and so on. These are very important! They will guide you towards your specialization in cycling, be it trekking, mountain biking or long-distance races.
Take some time to picture yourself in 4 years from now next to your bike and envision what your workout will look like then. It should answer your questions as to whether you are more of an indoor or outdoor cycling enthusiast, whether you prefer long distances and mellow, thought-through pace or sprints. And that, together with analysis of your progress, body composition and general talent, is crucial for successfully achieving your goals and choosing the right cycling branch for yourself.
Also, time to start incorporating more and more strength and endurance training into your life! You have to make sure those muscles are prepared for all that cycling! Lift weights, go for an occasional run, incorporate more sprints into your cycling routines, get some HIITs in. Or even better – hire a personal trainer, to whom you will be able to communicate your goals with cycling and who will set up some sort of program for you outside of cycling yet designed to aid your performance.