How did you get into cycling and how did you improve in the beginning?

How did you get into cycling
How did you get into cycling

A member of one of the social media groups that I’m a part of asked the question “How did you get into cycling and how did you improve in the beginning?”. It’s a great open-ended question and elicited some great answers so I’ve pinched some of them and publish them below. I’ve removed all the names for privacy but each paragraph represents a new comment. Enjoy…..

“My husband got into cycling because it was the fastest way to commute to work. Somehow he convinced me to buy a bicycle and join him on rides. Actually hated riding because I didn’t understand how to shift, lacked confidence riding on the road, and none of my girlfriends were into it. What helped me improve was going on solo rides on trails near my house to build my confidence. Now I’m the one dragging my husband out of the house for long distance rides. Last but not least, I invested in having cycling shoes. I found a pair that is stylish and functional. Plus, if you wanted to try SPDs, the shoe can convert to it.”

“I once weighed 355 lbs …. lost 200 of it and hit my goal weight of 155 lbs. My goal gift was always set to an all-inclusive resort to eat drink and be merry. Once I reached my goal, the last thing I wanted to do was that. I wanted to stay fit! So instead I bought my first road bike and signed up for the ride to conquer cancer. A 2-day cycling event covering 230km. That was last year – never a regret…. love cycling 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️”

“My husband was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. He was told to get fit (then a couch potato) and put on weight before chemo and radio. He can’t run as he has nerve damage from getting the bends (diving accident) in his 20s. So cycling it was! We bought bikes, and we never looked back 🙂 a year after diagnosis (6 months after radio/chemo) we did the Paris Roubaix sportive 🙂 we followed Eddie Merckx advice at the beginning and still do… ‘ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel, but ride’ and if you don’t know who Eddie Merckx is, best look him up. The ‘Badger’ is an inspiration…”

“My triathlete husband suckered me in thinking it would be a good way for me to understand why he needs 4 bikes. It worked 😬 I just kept riding and riding and gradually got more comfortable. Going down hills used to terrify me after I had a pretty bad crash (my dumb fault) but now I scream down them as fast as I can and love it! Riding with seasoned riders really helps me learn new routes and get opinions on gear.”

“I signed up for a 300-mile charity challenge having not cycled much ever. First training ride was 8 Miles and I had to spend the rest of the day on the sofa 🛋 . Did 10 miles a week for 4 months, then a 40-mile sportif, then a 60 miler and then I did the challenge 80 miles-ish a day for three days. I now go out three times a week and do 10 miles each time. Just be patient. It’s a wonderful way to switch off and get out. Fitness builds slowly. Good luck!”

“Husband: Let’s get bikes
Me: Dumbest idea ever…no one is going to ride these bikes…ever
Me: now a Gran Fondo and Century later and ride about 4,000 miles per year
Husband rides his bike: Zero miles 😆 😆😆😆😆😆😆”

“My hubby got me into it. Massive hobby of his. I started with a mountain bike, hybrid and then road bike. Never looked back!”

“I’m always surprised when people ask this question! Are there really that many (first-world) people who didn’t learn to ride a bike as a kid? I got my first bicycle (as opposed to tricycle) when I was 5 or 6 and never stopped. Longer distances on a lightweight road bike–well, that started about 30 years ago and took a hiatus when the kids were small, but I never stopped riding a bike.”

“I got very fat and had a bike in the garage, I decided one day I should try exercising to lose some weight and became addicted, lost 3 stone, managed to gain it all back on but still love cycling 😂 I just kept cycling and going up hills, joining a club helped too 🥰”

“I was 21 or 22 and wanted to find an activity to do outdoors for a long time and to find new friends. Joined a club and started racing after a year. Two years later I raced WC with the national team 😁”

“I wanted a horse so I started doing spin classes to firm up a certain part of my body, it just went from there…entered a sporting, joined groups etc …still don’t have my horse..but I’ve 4 bikes!!!!😎”

“I was an injured competitive powerlifter who had a new boyfriend…a super dedicated cyclist. He said, “hey, cycling could be great rehab while you are recovering.” He bought me a nice used Specialized and I never powerlifted again🤗 (And the boyfriend turned out to be a keeper❤️)”

“I played in a squash club team. Had a few injuries and a friend suggested I try cycling as a low impact alternative. Joined a cycling club and enrolled in their training programme. Eventually gave up squash – and my job and set up my own road cycling centre in France 🙂”

“Used it for commuting (brothers unused bike that was too big for me and heavy) but never saw it as ‘training’. Did lots of spin classes. Rode solo on a hybrid before I felt I deserved a better bike. Bought a better bike with weird pedals and shoes 2 weeks before my first sportive. Rode solo for a year after completing my first 60 mile sportive because I thought I had to be of a ‘standard’ to join a club. After a year, still feared I wasn’t good enough. Got run over by a car. Finally joined a club. Turned out I wasn’t as below standard as I thought. Cue many miles of laughs, getting dropped, training trips abroad, races, events, more laughs, dropping the people who once dropped me, lots of coffee stops and laughs, increasing gradients and elevations, ‘hurt locker’ style riding, lots of adventures, long lasting pals…give it time.”

“I moved to a country where cycling is part of life. So I started commuting to work by bike. Then I realised I wanted to go further and do more and on a better bike. I now cycle to the shops, for commuting, distances for leisure… And I love it!”

“I turn 70 in July. I started riding a bike at age 4 (no training wheels – I just took off). I loved riding the very first time I got on a bike. I got into riding because I LOVE it. I love the feeling of freedom. Of “flying.” I don’t care about building up speed, I ride for the sheer enjoyment of riding. Over the past 66 years I’ve never really stopped riding. My bike was my transportation when my children were little with a child on the front and on the back. When they were old enough, they rode with me. I’ve ridden in many places around the US and in other countries. I rode daily to work whenever I could. Now that I’m retired, I still ride almost every day on the brand-new Liv Langma road bike I treated myself with last year. I still ride 2,000 to 3,000 miles a year. I ride every day that it isn’t raining or there isn’t ice or snow on the ground. How do you improve? Just do it. Enjoy it. Don’t think or worry about your speed or what you wear. Have fun. Whatever you need to learn, you will learn. Enjoy the journey and fly!”

“I started as a child. The goal was to get places. It mainly meant FREEDOM. I carry that thought & feeling with me on every ride. I mainly ride for that feeling and health. I am older probably that most in this group. My goal is to build miles & enjoy myself.”

“D.I.V.O.R.C.E….. I improved a mile at a time…. mentally, physically and emotionally.”

“Did couch to 5k then found my knee was hurting with running and bought a bike instead. Discovered Strava and a local cycling group and after that I became a bit obsessed!!”

Share your answer to the same question – How did you get into cycling? Via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.

One comment

  1. Because of…spinal fusion. I had serious scoliosis all my life with my first surgery and rod at 19 yrs old. By the time I was 41, in 2001, after years of sports and punishment, I had to have another surgery, a HUGE one to insert 2 rods and fuse most of my back. I could not run anymore because the impact would affect my back and hips so I started to bike. Twenty years later, one phenomenal WomanTours bike trip to Italy later, many monumental hiking trips to National parks later, 16 days on a raft in the Grand Canyon later…I am still biking.

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