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Most of us rode a bike when we were a kid, so it can’t be that hard to get back on. For some of us, it comes second nature. For others… yeah. They need help. Cycling can be freeing for many reasons – and it can help you get into great shape. Your legs, your core, your back – everything is strengthened when you cycle. Below are some of the best tips for new cyclists – and those who are just ready to get back on after a long hiatus.

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut

Not a literal one, but rather a route rut. While it is good to cycle on familiar surfaces, change it up every once in a while. You will get a better workout – and the change in scenery is refreshing.

The Minute-Minute Rule

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When you are ready to do intervals, don’t make it hard. One minute fast, one minute slow. Two minutes fast, two minutes slow. Or, for the beginner: 20 seconds fast, 30 seconds slow. You don’t need a complicated routine to do intervals – and this will help you get into killer shape quicker.

Pace Yourself

Those beach dunes look fun – but be careful. Don’t rush into anything too high, too steep, or too hard before you are ready. Injuries are not worth it. But, it you do choose to do it, go slow and be steady.

Don’t Fear a Flat

Whether you are in a car or on a bike, a flat tire can ruin your day. Don’t let it! Be prepared to change a flat tire, or plug it, if you need to. Practice at home, so you are not stuck waiting for someone who knows how on the trail. And if you have to ditch your cycling for the day and tote your bike back, chock it up to an extra workout – and a lesson learned.

About Drinking and Driving… 

We all look down at our water bottle before we grab it. But, once you figure out exactly where your hand is going, do not glance down again. Your eyes should never leave the path – even if it is a familiar terrain and no one else is around. Or, if you are skiddish about the whole deal, you can invest in a backpack water bottle insert that has a straw that is attached next to your mouth. Is it expensive? Yup – but you have solved your problem.

Don’t Be A Foodie Before a Ride

Avoid that new restaurant in town until after your ride. The morning of is never the time to try a new food. You risk stomach issues, which can make a ride very, very uncomfortable. Just stay clean with what you eat, and all should be well. Also, pack familiar treats with you, such as granola bars that you have eaten 100 times before. Introducing a few flavor could end badly, too, for your tummy.