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What sets cycling apart from most other forms of exercise is how well it fits into our busy, modern lifestyles... No equipment other than a bike and helmet is needed, there's no need for specialised kit and you've the freedom to ride where and when you want.

It really is as easy as riding a bike... You simply start to use a bike when you would otherwise have gone by car, bus, train or on foot.

When you first start cycling, you need to begin by familiarising yourself with your bike. Start cycling where there are no cars or pedestrians. You will need to master:

  • Balance
  • Steering
  • Using the brakes
  • Changing gears

When you've mastered balance, steering, using the brakes and changing gears, you should try riding single-handed so that you are able to make hand signals.

Practise looking over your shoulder, first with both hands on the handlebars, and then try taking your hand off the bar on the side you're looking behind, which will give you greater manoeuvrability and therefore better visibility. Make sure to practise looking over your left shoulder as well as your right. Practise making left and right turns and cycling over uneven surfaces.

When you are comfortable doing these things, try cycling on some quiet streets and paths and increasing the distance you cover. In a few weeks your fitness will have improved and you will more than likely be able to ride for miles without feeling anything more than a little puffed out!

Anyone with heart disease or other health conditions should consult their doctor before starting any exercise programme. Those of all body shapes and all but the most extreme body weights can ride a bike.

If you aren't very confident riding a bike on your own, why not consider joining an organised cycle ride and meet lots of new people at the same time? Mobilise organise a number of free cycle rides for all abilities and ages every week.

And, you shouldn't let not having a bike stop you - there are a number of bike hire companies around the county, many of which are situated on some of Cornwall's best cycle routes.


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