Right, let’s start with what to wear. There’s a huge range of cycle clothing out there, in a dazzling variety of colours and fabrics, from the easily affordable to the insanely expensive. Let’s measure you up…
1. Some decent padded shorts stop your backside hurting so much. Massively padded saddles won’t help you on longer rides: trust us on this. The only way to be comfortable in the saddle is to wear padded shorts, fit a decent saddle and ride until you get used to it.
2. Roadies: clipless pedals (confusingly, this means the ones you clip into using cleats, rather than toe-clips) are without a doubt the way forward. The binding can be made loose enough to come away easily, you’ll quickly learn how to unclip, and they’ll make a massive difference to your pedalling efficiency.
3. Mountain bikers: get protection. Particularly when you’re starting out or learning new skills, you’ll be very grateful for a decent pair of gloves and knee pads, at minimum. If you’re learning big jumps or hardcore downhill trails, consider elbow pads and back protectors too.
4. Get some sports glasses. They don’t need to cost the earth or make you look stupid, but they will keep your eyes protected from bugs, stones, sun and rain. Some versions feature interchangeable lenses – if you can, get one lens for bright conditions and one for dull, wet days.