There’s plenty to be gleaned from the greats of cycling – those who have ventured before us, covering thousands of kilometres of road and pushing their fitness to new realms.
Here, Medibank ambassador and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans draws upon his experience to share his favourite rides in Australia, along with some ways we can all improve our riding.
For those feeling motivated, energised and ready to take up cycling.
Before you start exercising, it is important to check with your doctor – in other words, get a medical. Then, the first step to start riding enjoyably is finding an appropriate reliable, comfortable and well fitting bike. Any good bike shop can help you with this.
Then of course, we all need somewhere to ride. At the very beginning it is best to find quiet and safe roads and bike paths before progressing to more challenging routes. Start slowly but consistently, focusing on your improvements in fitness rather than the amount you are riding. If you can ride with someone who offers company and/or experience, this can make it all a lot more enjoyable.
"Start slowly but consistently, focusing on your improvements in fitness rather than the amount you are riding."
For those who have moved beyond the bike basics and are keen to improve performance.
Ride consistently and on varied terrain. This applies no matter how high an individual’s level is. If it is possible to create a regular weekly riding routine, either riding alone or with company, this makes it easier for the body to adapt and improve, and also easier to monitor those improvements.
Try keeping track of your riding, with time, distance, elevation gain and average speed so that improvements can be noted and used to gauge future rides. Having a goal can really help; the coffee shop at the end of a ride, a certain distance ridden, a mountain to climb, a time to beat or even an event to train for.
For those focused on performance and entering mass participation ride events.
Look at the overall picture of your riding – is it efficient? Which areas can improvements be made? Climbing, descending, pedalling efficiency, riding in a group efficiently? How can these improvements be made? Through more practise, more training on the bike? Cross training in the gym, pilates or a yoga studio? A better diet? Better feeding and/or hydration during exercise? Set some personal goals and a small plan of how these goals can be achieved, ask advice, or read to educate yourself.
Cadel’s picks of the best Australian rides
1. Great Ocean Road, Victoria
For its incredible scenery, nice rolling hills and slow traffic.
2. Yarra Valley, St Andrews-Kinglake-Toolangi-Yarra Glen-St Andrews, Victoria
The roads I started cycling on 25 years ago are still fantastic today.
3. Craig's Hut, Mt Buller, Victoria
Mountain bike through amazing scenery in a historically significant part of Victoria.
4. Royal National Park, NSW
Great roads with spectacular ocean views.
5. West Head, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, NSW
A great ride on quiet roads close to Sydney.
For more ways to improve your cycling, check out the free Cadel Evans GymBetter Bike Training Guide.