Get Inspired: How to get into cycling

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'It's faster than the bus' and other reasons why people cycle to work

How do I start?

Just hop on a bike and you're good to go. British Cycling, Scottish Cycling, Welsh Cycling and Cycle NI have information about clubs and racing tracks, and the Breeze programme for women cyclists offers a range of safe and sociable cycle routes for all abilities. If you don't have access to a bike there are hundreds of bike rental facilities across the UK.

What is cycling?

Road cycling, the most common form of cycling, is simply riding a bike outside for exercise, sport or to get from A to B. Track cycling adds a competitive element and sees riders race around a specialist track at high speeds.

Is it for me?

From young children on stabilisers, through to adults going for long countryside rides, cycling is for everyone. Sick of being stuck in traffic? Cycling to work is also one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine. There are also a number of cycling clubs around the UK, where coffee and cake stops are as important as the route you ride!

What to expect when I start?

  • An hour-long road race can burn up to 844 calories and an hour on the track can burn up to 782 calories.
  • To ensure you're riding safely you should wear a helmet, reflective clothing and equip your bike with lights in winter.
  • Regardless of how and where you cycle, you'll be increasing muscle strength and stamina whilst decreasing your body-fat levels.
  • There are cycling clubs across the UK so it's an excellent way to make friends and develop communication skills.
  • Paracycling takes a number of forms including Handcycling, where competitors power the bike with their hands and arms and tandem bikes for blind or visually impaired athletes and their assistants.
  • It's a low-impact type of exercise, so it's easier on your joints than running or other similar activities.
  • Go Ride introduces young riders to the sport and improves their bike handling skills. Go Ride Racing is a competition programme which offers entry level competitions for young riders.

To get you in the mood…

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Whitney learns to cycle!

Are you inspired to try cycling? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visiting us on Facebook or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

All clubs need a chair, secretary and treasurer to help things run smoothly as well as officials, coaches and judges. Whatever role you're interested in, Join In has opportunities to volunteer in your area.