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Getting started

Getting started

Updated 19 December 2019 5:00pm

The Basics

If you're new to cycling, sign up to Bike There for some handy hints.

Choosing a bike

For maximum comfort it is important to get a bike that fits you well. Here is a handy guide to help you choose the right bike for you.

Bike gear - what you really need to ride

There is a plethora of specialised gear on the market for cycling these days but there are only a few essentials you really need and lycra isn’t one of them!

Here is our Top Ten List:

1. Helmets

Your helmet should sit level on your head with the front no more than 2 cm above your eyebrows. When buckled up, it should fit snugly with just one finger space between the strap and chin. The side straps should form a V shape around your ears. 

2. Bright clothing

You don’t have to have the latest lycra cycling gear to jump on a bike. If you’re pedalling to work or the shops, you can wear your everyday clothes without building up a sweat. Just make sure you have something bright on so drivers can spot you.

3. Lights

Lights are essential for night time and low light conditions but not all lights are the same! Check out the 2019 Consumer research on the best bike lights around.

4. Lock

Having a bike lock means you can easily stop off at your local shop or café on route without worrying about bike security.

5. Mobile phone

There may be the occasional mechanical problem you can’t repair or the odd mishap requiring the need to ‘phone a friend’ – modern technology can put your mind at ease on a longer ride from home.

6. Cash

Cash can be handy if you need to stop and buy a snack or drink or for a latte with friends at a local café with bike parking.

7. Identification

You won’t get pulled up by Police and asked to show your driver’s licence but ID is always handy.

8. Tools

A quick puncture repair is much easier than walking home with a flat tyre. Well worth carrying the basic tools on your bike.

9. Pump

Once you’ve repaired your flattie, you’ll need to pump up the tyre. You can get some small pumps these days for easy storage.

10. Food and Water

Hydration is important for any physical activity and it’s always handy to have a quick muesli bar when you need a boost to get you home at the end of a long day at the office.

Learning to ride

Practise on a quiet street or park - our off-road trails are a great place to start. Practise balancing, looking over your shoulder, riding with one hand and signalling.

Attend a training session - if you have never been on a bike or it’s been while and you need a refresher, contact Pedal Ready and they can put you in touch with a local trainer.

Ride in a group or with a buddy - riding in a group or with a friend can help give you confidence in riding on the road. If you don’t know anyone who is confident on a bike, cycling groups can be a good place to start. They may have group rides for beginners or can put you in touch with a willing bike buddy.

Teaching children to ride

Schools can book free training sessions through Pedal ReadyIf you have never been on a bike yourself or don’t know how to teach your children, check out this Youtube video


Regular bike maintenance is important for assuring your safety and the longevity of your bike. The basics are easy to master with some help from a friendly bike mechanic.

Some non profits run bike libraries and offer bike maintenance courses, like ReBicycle Ekerua in Newtown, and Recycled Rides at Common Unity in Epuni, Lower Hutt.

If you're short on time, take your wheels to your local friendly bike shop to keep them shipshape.

For those DIYers - here are a couple of handy resources:

Bike and helmet safety checklist

Bike maintenance 101 videos