Quick guide to getting started

Quick guide to getting started


There are many reasons to ride a bicycle. You can ride for fitness, the challenge, the sense of achievement when setting and reaching goals, and the pure joy of getting outside with the sunshine on your face. 

Riding is a great way to stay active during isolation, and it’s the perfect way to keep your mental health in check, too.

Here’s our quick guide on how to start riding. 

Make sure everything is working

There’s nothing worse than hopping on your bike only to realise you have a flat tyre or your brakes don’t work. Give your bike a quick once-over the day before your ride to make sure everything is in tip-top condition. Don’t just blow out the cobwebs, but check your chain, brakes, tyres and gears for wear, damage and annoying squeaks. 

If you’re unsure, visit your local bike store for helpful advice and servicing.

Wear a helmet

It’s important to make sure you wear a properly fitted helmet. It should be no more than two finger-widths above your eyebrows and fit comfortably around your head. There are different helmets for different-sized heads, so make sure you get one that fits yours.

Bring your lights

If you’re riding at dawn, dusk, or when it’s dark, be sure to have a good set of lights that makes you visible at least 200 metres away. Check out the different types of lights here in our “Winter riding tips” article.

Start with an achievable distance

We all started somewhere, so slowly build up to riding longer distances. It can be good to start with a quick trip to the shops or local park to gain confidence on the bike, or in case you need to turn back. If possible, plan out a flat, easy route without too many hills or intersections.

Carry water

It’s important to stay hydrated while exercising. Bike riding can be thirsty work, especially if you plan on going out for more than, say, 30 minutes. Either plan a water stop along your route, or better yet, carry some water in a bottle cage attached to your bike.

Learn how to change a flat tyre

Don’t get stranded on your ride. Changing a flat is easy and there are heaps of videos online to show you how to change a tyre. Don’t forget to bring a spare tube with you.

Carry your mobile 

In case you get lost or need to call for help, bring along your mobile. For extra motivation, it can also help you track how many kilometres you’ve ridden via great apps such as GoCycle or Strava. 

Enjoy the ride

Riding means different things to different people. Right now, the most important thing is probably just to get out on a ride for some time away from the home. The best thing you can do while you’re starting out is to take it easy. 

Don’t worry about speed or distance. Focus on building your confidence on the bike, becoming aware of your surroundings and enjoying the lower number of cars on the road. 

Sit up, enjoy the ride and take it all in.

Ask questions!

If you’re unsure of something, ask another rider for their tips and tricks, or head to your local bike store to find out what you do and don’t need. A local bike store is one of the best places for advice on bike riding. The subreddit r/AusBike is also a great community. Check out our guide to riding with the family here. 

Make sure you’re insured for your ride

Taking out a membership with Cycling Australia ensures you’re covered in case things don't go your way, like an accident or a fall. Memberships start at just $10 per month and keep you covered 24/7 whether you’re riding on paths, mountain trails or roads.

Ride Basic or Ride membership?

Our Ride membership & insurance is specifically designed for riders who want peace of mind when they’re on the roads, paths and trails around Australia, but are not interested in racing.

At Cycling Australia we understand that all riders are unique and need different things from their membership, but everyone has one thing in common – you want the basics covered when you’re out on the bike.

Our Ride Basic membership & insurance has been specifically designed for those riders who are looking for affordable third party coverage with a heap of other benefits.

Which ride membership is best for me?

  Ride Basic#5 Ride
Ability to join a cycling club
(Access club rides, club skill sessions, find other cyclists to ride with and social activities)#1
Optional Optional
Access to exclusive member offers and discounts
Member eNews, expert training and cycling-specific information
Access to legal support & services from Shine Lawyers
Support Grass Roots Cycling



24/7 cover for damage to others covering

Third-party property damage (excludes CA sanctioned races)
Third-party personal injury

24/7 Professional Indemnity Insurance for Coaches, Club Officials, Commissaires etc#3

24/7 Personal Injury Insurance for damage to yourself covering:

Non-Medicare medical expenses -
Death & Disability Cover -
Income Protection -

#1 Club membership optional with Ride Basic and Ride membership, it is compulsory with Non-riding and Racing memberships
#2 Excluding sanctioned racing events. 
#3 Must hold relevant accreditation
#4 Refer to Professional Indemnity policy.
#5 This product covers you for third party public liability only. It does not include income protection, cover of non-Medicare medical expenses and Death & Disability 
#6 This insurance benefit only covers you when you are acting in an official capacity in a non-riding role at an event. For example; coaching activities around a velodrome, official volunteer duties at a club event etc. Please read the PDS for further information.

To receive a discount as a BMXA/MTBA/TA member you must have at least 3 months' validity on your membership. See the FAQ page to find out how to get your discount. Discount only available on annual Race memberships.

Family discounts available

In accepting membership you are bound by the terms and conditions and the regulations of Cycling Australia including the Code of Conduct, responsible riding policy, Member Protection Policy and Anti Doping Policy.

Please read the PDS to be sure this product is suitable for you and your needs. Please visit cycling.jltsport.com.au to view the PDS. Coverage is subject always to the terms and conditions of the Policy Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Policy Schedule. Please read the PDS to be sure this product is suitable for you and your needs. Please visit cycling.jltsport.com.au to view the PDS & Schedule