Fast track your riding know-how to increase your enjoyment on the bike, off it, and when thinking about the next one. Cycling Central's Kath Bicknell offers her thoughts on things she knows now that she wishes she knew, or listened to, earlier on.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

When I first started riding, I had no idea of the extent to which it would impact my life: the places I travel, the experiences I seek out, the way I value the things that my body can do.

A large part of why I enjoy cycling so much is that there is always something to learn. And every time I discover a new facet of the sport, new experiences open up.

But not all lessons learned are good ones. Sometimes, a few words of wisdom from someone else hooked on the sport can be the difference between finding out something the hard way, and having more fun, more often.

Below are ten things I wish someone had told me when I first started getting into mountain bike riding. On the occasions where someone did mention these gems, perhaps I simply wish that I had listened:

1. Learn about tyre and suspension pressures. No point in having an amazing bike if it feels like rubbish.

2. Don't feel you have to be fit, fast or ridiculously skilled to turn up to a race. If you go with the aim of meeting new riding friends and discovering new trails, you'll win every time.

3. The lightest bike parts are rarely the most durable and aren't always the best performing.

4. Fitness and skills will come by default if you pick rides and events that sound like fun.

5. One day people will start selling women's kit, bikes and accessories. You will think this is amazing and wish you could tell every female rider how much easier this makes it to get into the sport.

6. If something hurts, take it seriously so it doesn't become more complicated than it needs to be.

7. Sometimes your riding friends are just people you ride with. Mates catch up with you when you're off the bike as well. Maintain a healthy mix of both.

8. Rest is critical, no matter how much fun you're having or how much you want to improve. If you keep riding when you're tired it will take a lot longer until you feel punchy and fresh again.

9. If you travel with your bike, you'll discover things about different communities that most tourists never will.

10. No one ever regretted buying expensive, high quality, good-fitting knicks. No one. Ever.

And some things I'm glad people did tell me:

1. Where you look is where you go.

2. When it comes to choosing a new bike, pick the one that suits 90% of the riding you do.

3. Think not about what sponsors can do for you, but what you can do for them.

4. A clean bike is a happy bike.

5. Look arooooooouuuuunnnnnnd the corner.

Have a few things to add? Please leave a comment below or on the SBS Cycling Central Facebook post accompanying this article. I would certainly be keen to read them and I'm sure that many others would too.