Cycling is a truly invigorating and liberating experience, enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Whether you're cycling to work, to school, to the shops or just for fun, the humble bicycle is an easy way to get more active.
This guide is designed to make cycling a safe and enjoyable experience for beginners, and provide you with tips on staying motivated.
Before you start
For short journeys, any good working bike will do. You might have an old 10-speed racer, a shopping bike or a bargain mountain bike that you could use. If you're buying a second-hand bike or you have an old bike that's been gathering dust, consider having it serviced at a bike shop to ensure it's roadworthy.
If you're buying a new bike, there are lots of models to choose from. Hybrids, road bikes and mountain bikes are most popular. A bike shop can advise you on the correct frame size and help you select a bike to suit your budget and the type of cycling you want to do.
For most people, cycling is a safe and effective form of exercise. If you have any health concerns or an existing medical problem, see your GP before you start.
1 practise in a safe environment
2 wear a helmet
3 be seen and heard
4 check your bike
5 be alert and plan your route
6 always follow the Highway Code
If you haven't cycled much before or you're out of the habit of cycling, find yourself a traffic-free area to start off in, such as your local park. Practise riding single-handed so you can make hand signals, and get comfortable looking over both shoulders to improve your visual awareness.
Before you start cycling in traffic, check the Highway Code for up-to-date rules and regulations for cyclists.
Regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.
For health benefits, adults and older adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity activity each week.
Make it a habit
The easiest way to cycle regularly is to use your bike as a means of everyday transport. Work out your routes using journey planning websites such as Sustrans and Cycle Streets.
There are many wonderful places to cycle in cities and the countryside. Cycling is an ideal way for friends and families to explore their neighborhood and beyond.