There is no lack of terrible advice out there from everyone and below is a just a small sample of some of the worst cycling tips ever given.
Always use big gears to build leg strength
While there is some truth in using larger gears to help build leg strength, it’s a training method that’s best used sparingly. Unless you’re a track sprinter, cycling is predominately an aerobic sport, so the leg strength needed is relatively small. What’s more, loads of big-gear training puts lots of unnecessary torque through your knees, which can lead to an injury.
Mountain biking is so much safer than road riding
While some aspects of MTB might be safer (no cars, for one), riding downhill at breakneck speeds, over loose gravel and tree roots definitely isn’t an activity for the faint of heart, either.
Don’t train with food
There is a theory that fasting will train your body to consume fat as an energy source instead of carbs. While this is partially true, it also forces your body to break down muscle and consume it as energy, this is obviously counter productive. Fuel your body properly and see better fitness gains.
You need to shave your legs
This is a debate that goes around and around, year after year. Trouble is, there’s no really significant reason for shaving your legs other than some people think that it looks ‘pro’.
Pick out a rider and stick to their wheel
If that rider doesn’t turn out to be of similar fitness level as yourself, this is mainly just a recipe for bonking. Not riding at your own pace will only lead to you tiring out much sooner than expected. Or, if you’re more of a literal person, sticking to someone’s wheel is a recipe for crashing.
It’s perfectly fine to ride through red lights if no one is coming
Cyclists should always adhere to all rules of the road, even if it appears no cars are around. Last time we checked, “I didn’t see it coming!” doesn’t fix a broken collarbone and eight weeks out of the saddle.
You need to seriously carb load the night before a big ride or race
Stuffing your face with half a kilo of pasta the night before a big ride or race is a sure-fire way to make sure you’re fuelled, whether or not that’s optimally fuelled is a different matter.
Huge amounts of carbohydrate can often make you feel extremely bloated the next day, as your body simply hasn’t had time to process the massive amounts of splodge you forced down it the night before.
Instead, opt for a larger, but not epically-proportioned balanced meal, and don’t forget to keep your fuel stores topped up when riding. You’ll feel lighter on your feet and hopefully won’t have any unexpected trips to the bushes during said ride.
You don’t have to wear a helmet
If you’re planning on riding anywhere near cars, you need to protect your head. And even if you’re far from the hustle and bustle of the streets, it’s still a good idea. Crashing with other cyclists or even just falling off while riding alone can potentially lead to head injuries and concussions. Don’t take the risk.
It’s not the bike, it’s the rider
Cycling is a combination of fitness, technique and equipment. Even the fittest person may struggle to make much headway on a truly useless bike. For example, you could beat Chris Froome up Mont Ventoux if he was on a steel BMX and you were on a top-spec Team Sky Pinarello Dogma.
No sex before a race
The argument states that it takes up too much energy or your legs are not as strong the next day. The truth is 15 minutes of love making doesn’t use a whole lot of energy, certainly not enough to affect performance. Take it if you can get it.