Into The Fold: Encouraging The New Cyclist

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Gus Ghani shared his love of cycling with his wife, Maryati, three years ago. He shares with Cycling Malaysia some of his tips on how to introduce and include a new rider into cycling.

I was inspired to write this article after successfully introducing the joys of cycling to my wife, Maryati. Our beautiful cycling journey as a couple began in January 2012, when I presented Maryati with an urban mountain bike for her birthday. Believe or not, this was the first bicycle that she had owned in her life, and her cycling experience at that time was virtually zero. Now, 3 years later, I can proudly say that Maryati is not only a highly proficient cyclist in her own right, but she can also competently ride with me in the more challenging century cycling events. I would like to share some of the knowledge and experience we gained.

I understand that there are many of you out there who are desperately trying to persuade your husband or wife to follow your passion for cycling, but your life partner is refusing to listen to you. What can you do next? Give up cycling or cycle without them? All good things don’t come easy, a wise man once said. Before you give up on your partner totally, try using my simple and proven methods below which will effectively prepare your husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, partner or friend to be a responsible and lifelong cyclist.

 

1. KNOWLEDGE & PATIENCE

Equip your spouse, partner or friend with all the basic knowledge of riding a bicycle in a safe manner. Give them enough time to pick-up the skills and to practice riding. If you appear impatient or over bearing, your negative and harsh attitude could put them off from wanting to pursue this hobby further. Remember to always choose your words wisely; use positive words of encouragement often; and never, at anytime, criticise or scold them. Your patience and understanding as a coach will play a big part in determining whether or not they will like or dislike cycling with you.

 

2. SAFETY FIRST

Make sure that they always wear a safety cycling helmet when riding, even if you are cycling for a very short distance around your home or in a deserted back alley. Since picking up cycling was your idea, take responsibility for their safety until you are confident that they can look after themselves. In the beginning, avoid cycling at night. Later, if you want to ride at night, wear reflective cycling gear, and install bicycle lights on the front and back of your bike. Choose cycling routes which are popular among the cycling community, and ride as a group, which is always safer.

For newbies, I recommend that you join KL Car Free Morning event which takes place every 1st and 3rd Sundays of the Month at the DBKL HQ, No.1 Jalan Raja Laut. Flag-off is at 7:00am, and you will be able to ride for 2 hours in the middle of our capital on a 6.5km route without the exhausting and exhaustive presence of any motor vehicles.

 

3. STAY FIT

Remember that, no matter how much fun you are having, cycling is a form of low impact exercise, and as such, you should treat it the same way that you treat similar kinds of physical exercise. In particular, bear in mind that your fitness level may differ from that of your spouse, partner or friend. If you are fitter than them, you should give them time to gradually develop their cardiovascular and muscular strength, and do not allow them to follow your cycling pace or distance until they are fit enough.

For beginners, I suggest you train 4 days per week initially. Split your weekly training days to 2 – 3 days for cycling and 1 – 2 days for muscle training in the gym. In between, you should engage in Active Rest which means doing very light activity such as washing your car or doing the gardening. Avoid being completely sedentary such as sitting on the couch and watching TV all day because this will slow down your metabolism and make it difficult for you to fire your muscles back up when training day comes around again.

 

BIKE MAINTENANCE

Make it a habit to regularly check that your tyres are fully inflated and brakes are in good working order before going for a ride. To avoid corrosion, clean your bike after every ride, and add lubricating oil to the chain and other moving parts on the bike. If you can afford it, send your bicycle to a professional cycle shop for preventive maintenance service every 2-3 months or after a particularly long ride.

 

BE FLEXIBLE

It is worth remembering that every individual has different needs and wants, and we are motivated into action by different factors and in different ways. So, don’t be afraid to tweak my suggested tips to suit your specific situation. If, after all your best efforts, you still cannot convince others about the joys of cycling, then it was not meant to be, and so just drop the subject and find another activity that both you and your partner are willing to do together happily. I wish you the best of luck & always be positive.

We are motivated into action by different factors and in different ways. So, don’t be afraid to tweak my suggested tips to suit your specific situation.


About the Writer
Gus Ghani is a freelance certified High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Coach. His passion is inspiring people to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Gus also participates in cycling, marathon & triathlon events. Currently, Gus is the Education Officer of the “KESAS Campaign – Making Kesas A Cyclists’ Haven”. You can reach Gus at gusghani@gmail.com

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