Road Cycling

19 Things We Wish We’d Known When We First Started Cycling

We asked a bunch of experts (and you lot!), "If you could go back in time to when you first started cycling, what advice would you give yourself?"

1. “Properly inflated tyres are so much easier to pedal!”
Jeremy Trenter, via Facebook

2. “Bib shorts are essential, for two reasons. First, they help prevent saddle sores. Secondly, the over-the-shoulder straps keep your shorts in place and stop you inflicting a ‘builder’s bum’ at the riders behind you!”
Philip James Towersey, via Facebook

4. “The key to not arriving at your destination all sweaty and dishevelled is just to set off in plenty of time, don’t rush and don’t wear too many layers – you’ll soon warm up! I think a lot of people are put off cycle-commuting as they worry they’ll arrive at work needing a shower – but that needn’t be true.”
Toby Jones, Sustrans

5. “It’s important to learn how to pace a ride, because ‘bonking’ 20 miles from home with no food, water or cash is never fun.”
George Scott, editor,

7. “You don’t have to take the wheel off to fix a puncture…”
Jeremy Trenter, via Facebook

8. “Never truly believe that it’s summer. There’s almost always a breeze on a bike, so take a light jacket with you. Ideally one with a high neck.”
Theresa Hughes, Sustrans

9. “I wish I’d known that you have to give way to the right at a roundabout. Yeah yeah – I know now!”
Carinya Sharples, via Facebook  

10. “Buy some gloves for long rides. It’s easy to underestimate the impact cycling has on your hands. Ouch.”
Jonny Jacobs, personal trainer 

12. “In the winter, keep a spare hat and gloves in a plastic bag, so you’ve always got a dry set for the ride home.”
Jeremy Trenter, via Facebook

Don’t get too caught up in all the technical stuff

13. “If you’re cycling in traffic, assume that nobody can see you…”
Lucy Hancock, via Facebook 

14. “Don’t get too caught up in all the technical stuff – just enjoy the ride!”
Philip James Towersey, via Facebook  

15. “It’s worth adjusting your brake-lever position so that your fingers are resting on the brake levers all the time.”
Jeremy Trenter, via Facebook

16. “You can get a really good quality reconditioned bike for much less than the cost of a new bike.”
Louise Gold, Sustrans

17. is a great way to plan your cycling route. You can see other users who take the same route as you – you’ll be amazed by how many there are!”
Annette Jezierska, Sustrans

…By the end, I looked like I had a serious STD…

18. “I wish I’d read the instructions on how to use chamois cream [used on your ‘bits’ to prevent saddle sores]. I was riding in the Beast Of Ballyhoura adventure race, and I’d been on my bike for about eight hours straight. I’d never used chamois cream before, so I took a massive scoop of it and lathered it on.

“Turns out you’re supposed to use it very sparingly. It tingles even when you use a tiny bit, but the amount I put on, it was liiiike… Seriously, by the end, I looked like I had a serious STD.”
Heather Irvine, editor,

Got any cycling tips to add? Share them in the comments below!


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