Start cycling now and begin training for your first triathlon

For those wanting to train for their first triathlon, having a set training pattern is important. You must spend time focusing on all three disciplines, swim, bike, run. This blog will focus on the bike portion and how to start cycling. Whether you’re a new rider or have been riding since you were a kid, training and racing on a bike is different. Welcome to How to Start Cycling 101. Pro tip: check out these other tips to start your triathlon training!

Helpful tips

  • Start by cycling a little on a daily basis
  • Build a habit of cycling, it helps to train the mind and the body
  • Follow a daily routine, establish accountability
  • Track your progress daily
  • Increase your training intensity gradually
  • Focus on lower body workouts to increase strength, helps avoid leg-related injury
  • Stay motivated
  • Ride hills and follow these tips

Cycling gear

It helps to have the proper gear before you start long-distance cycling. The right equipment can keep you comfortable, dry, and safe. 

  • Bike shorts – Probably the most important piece. They’re made specifically for cycling. Bike shorts are designed to fit tight (with hybrid material to enable airflow) and be comfortable (extra padding). 
  • Jersey – Can wick sweat, keeping you dry and sweat-free. The underarms and torso regions need to be kept dry and allow for air flow to avoid rashes and infections post triathlon. Pouches on the back allow you to store nutrition.
  • Helmets – Safety is always a priority. Helmets are a must for training cyclists. It helps keep the cyclist safe in case of any emergency. Along with safety, helmets are also designed to allow airflow.
  • Lights – Front and back lights are vital for riding during any time of the day. They help you maintain visibility at night. Lights also help drivers see you. Proper LED torch lights and rear red lights are a must for safety.
  • Saddlebag with a flat kit – A saddlebag is a handy little addition. It provides extra space to carry food, water, maps, phones, and other such essentials. A flat kit is also handy in case you have a flat.

Buying the right bike and other tips to start cycling

  • Choose the bike based on your height
  • Take the bike for a test ride
  • Research the type of bike you need and the brands available in the market
  • Learn how to fix a flat
  • Learn all the road rules and always follow them
  • Always remember to hydrate and have nutrition with you
  • Don’t go beyond your comfort zone too quickly
  • Know when it’s time to get your bike a tune-up

Understand what clipless pedals are and how they can increase your speed

Here’s why you should trade in your rubber pedals for clipless pedals. First, you will be able to generate more powerful pedal strokes. More power and these tips can help you master the hills on your ride. Second, you will gain better control over your movements. Third, mounting and dismounting will become easier after you practice. Pro tip: if your bike hasn’t had a tune-up in the last 12 months schedule one today!

How do clipless pedals work?

Clipless pedals are made of cleats that you attach to the soles of your clipless cycling shoes. All you need to do is thrust your heels forward to start operating. The pedals never detach from the soles of your shoes, which works in increasing your power output.


LOOK Keo Classic 3

You can clip on and off with ease with these clipless pedals. The Classic 3’s spindles and axles go through a rotational test of 2 million cycles to get approval. So, you can rely on their durability. Plus, the spacious contact surface ensures stability while pedaling.

Shimano PD-M520L

These lightweight pedals support effortless step-in and are ideal for road and mountain biking. The cartridge axle does not require a lot of maintenance and the pedals perform efficiently on muddy trails. Increase the release force of these without worrying about losing your grip.

Shimano PD-R7000

These pedals are designed to increase power transfer thanks to the spacious carbon body. It offers optimum contact with your shoes. You can ace your cycling game even with high pedaling loads due to the wide surface. That, however, does not mean that this is a piece of heavyweight equipment. On the contrary, these are quite lightweight. The axle is made of stainless steel with a sealed cartridge unit. These are ideal if you are new to clipless pedals. For instance, you can lower the tension to match your level of comfort.

Shimano Ultegra

If you are a more experienced rider, upgrade to the Shimano Ultrega R8000 SPD-SL Carbon Road Pedals. You can even use these on road shoes and still remain well connected. Clipping and unclipping come easy. These are by far the most lightweight of pedals with a reduced tack weight; so that is an additional feature. They can sustain extreme biking ventures.

Now that you have an understanding of clipless pedals and various recommendations, it’s time to decide! First, make sure you’re ready to make the switch. If you’re just starting out, become more familiar with your bike and use these 7 tips to start your triathlon training.

Brick workouts build your endurance and prepare you for race day

Triathlon is an extensive physical competition that tests endurance in swimming, biking, and running. Including brick workouts in your training can help you significantly improve your endurance. Brick workout consist of consecutive sessions of two triathlon activities, usually biking and running, in any order. These workouts help you develop the ability to complete one physical activity after another. They can also help you prepare for swim-to-bike and bike-to-run transitions. Remember, ensure your helmet properly fits before every ride with these easy steps.


This is usually the first transition you make in a triathlon. When you pedal the bike after a period of swimming, the labor shifts from your arms to your legs, causing some discomfort. This discomfort is down to abruptly switching from a horizontal position while swimming to an upright position for cycling. So, for reducing the transition impact during the event, it is reasonable to do this brick. If your brick workouts include hills make sure you follow this expert advice for riding hills.

If you are preparing for a Sprint or Super Sprint event, you can try a 200-300 m swim followed by cycling for 10- to 25-minutes. For Olympic distance, a swim session between 300 and 600 m with a 20-40 minute cycling period is ideal. 


This is probably the most common of brick workouts. It is also arguably the toughest. After biking, your legs feel heavy and difficult to move. However, after getting a few brick sessions under your belt, your leg muscles shall start recovering well from the wear and tear of biking, letting you run easier. Learn how taking an ice bath after your brick workouts can speed up the recovery process.

For short distances like Super Sprint and Sprint, a 30- to 20-minute cycling session, followed by a 15-minute run is a good place to start. Pro tip: you’ll be thirsty. Check out these different ways to carry hydration on your run.


You are not likely to face a run-to-bike transition in a triathlon. But this brick certainly helps you build endurance and stamina. This is especially useful for duathlons which include a run-to-bike transition followed by a final run.

A 10- to 20-minute run, in build-up to a 30- to 120-minute cycling session, is preferable for Olympic distance and less. In case you are training for anything beyond Olympic distance, a 20-minute run followed by cycling for 75 to 120 minutes is fairly competitive.

Learn about aero bars to see if they’re right for you

Aero bars are bike handlebar extensions with padded forearm rests that allow the rider to get into a more aerodynamic position. They are positioned near the center of the handlebar and the cantilever over the front wheel. On triathlon-specific bikes, the shifters are at the end of the aero bars since it is expected for the rider to spend most of their time in this position. Pro tip: when testing them out, make sure you follow these cycling tips if you’re riding hills.

What are “clip-on” aero bars?

They’re handlebar extensions that you can add on to a normal handlebar set. As the name suggests, you can clip it onto your handlebar to better your bike while racing or training. They’re positioned near the center of the handlebar and the cantilever over the front wheel. You can turn your road bike into a triathlon bike by adding aero bars. By clipping them on to your handlebar, you can increase your speed by 14% and reduce power output for the same speed by at least 12.5%.

Why you should add them to your road bike

In simple terms, aero bars help you achieve the aerodynamic position needed to gain speed. With these extensions adjusted to your standard road bike handlebar, you can get into an aerodynamic position. That represents the upper body hunched forward to be in alignment with the torso. You can also ride comfortably for longer periods of time because they have armrests and handgrips. Standard clip-on aero bars have a wide range of adjustments. Therefore, you can tune the height and the length of the aero bars as needed and get yourself into the most effective position.

Some aero bars you can try out

There are various types. Check with a bike shop to find out which style suits you best. Review the ones we have handpicked to get an idea of what to expect. Pro tip: if you add them to your bike you should give your ride a good cleaning before.

T3+ Carbon Aero Bar 

Designed ergonomically, these aero bars can add extra comfort to your riding experience. You can effectively adjust and angle the bars to any position according to your convenience. They come with forearm cups and a double-bend built so that your forearms and wrists don’t tire out easily. More importantly, they are easy to install and increase your speed dramatically.

Airstryke V2 Aluminum Clip-on Aerobars 

The patented Flip-Up brackets on this set keeps your arms elevated while you are resting on them, thus preventing your hands from getting numb. They come with a spring on the releasing pads, which makes them ideal for steep rides. The aero bars are easy to install. However, to make sure they adjust to your handlebar, compare the reach, width, and diameter with your current road bike first. You can also buy these in combination with a second saddle or a seat post.

Legacy II Clip-On Bar Aluminium Black 2018 

These may be cheaper in comparison to the above two options but are as good. They come with an ergonomic design, multiple hand positions, and an adjustable armrest. These sturdy aero bars provide rotational adjustment. After a few adjustments here and there, you will be all set to improve your riding experience significantly.

Indicators you need to tune up your bike and our recommendations 

It’s important to know when it’s time to tune up your bike. Take care of your bike so you can enjoy as many miles as possible! How often you need a tune-up for your bike can differ depending on several conditions. They include how often you ride, how you store your bike, and how often you perform your own maintenance checks. Most riders will get a tune-up once or twice a year and schedule them two to four weeks before an event. Pro tip: follow the cycling rules of the road after you tune up your bike and get back to riding.

Signs it’s time to tune-up your bike

  • Bike is squeaking
  • Brakes are loose feeling
  • It is crunchy when you pedal
  • Shifting is off
  • Your bike is dirty and there is build on the chain
  • You have not had a tune-up in the last year

Things that are checked during a tune-up

  • Wash & Degrease Drivetrain
  • Adjust Gears
  • Adjust Brakes
  • True Wheels
  • Hardware Safety Check
  • Bearing Adjustments
  • Chain re-lube

Different shops may have different levels of tunes ups. Make sure you check out all the details. If possible, see if you can drop off your bike beforehand. This way you can get a recommendation on what level of tune-up your bike needs. If your bike is in real bad shape you might need a full overhaul. This includes taking all the components off and rebuilding the bike. Pro tip: if it’s a simple derailleur issue, follow these simple steps to fix it yourself!

Why getting a tune-up is important

A tune-up is like cleaning the sheets on your bed, it feels so amazing after! If a bike is not taken care of it can cause damage to its components. In extreme cases, it could lead to costly repair and the frame beyond repair. Make sure your bike is ready to begin logging miles, especially if you’re following these 7 tips to begin triathlon training!

Bike tune-up recommendations


James Balentine is our go-to man at Velofix, a mobile bike repair service. His service experience is built around a lifetime passion for all things cycling. He’s been a pro racer, a pro mechanic, and pro-level bike geek. Through it all, he brings a high level of professionalism and attention to detail. Now a world-class bike mechanic comes to your door so you can focus on what you love most – more saddle time.

Hill Country Bicycle Works

Hill Country Bicycle Works has been serving the Texas Hill Country in 2 locations since 1995. The owners, Adam and Lisa, rode their bicycles around the world for 3 years (30,000 miles, 17 countries on 4 continents from 1992- 1995). They found the beauty of the Hill Country a perfect place to open a bike shop! With more than 70 years of bike shop experience between them, they have a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of bicycle riding, touring, advocacy, trail building, event promotion, racing, and bicycle repair.

Jack & Adam’s Fredericksburg

Josh Allen started this Hill Country location of the famous Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in 2014. They specialize in carrying triathlon gear and have a full-service department to meet your needs. As a true cyclist destination, he even has a guest house where you can stay right behind the shop in downtown Fredericksburg. 

On your next ride, check for indicators that it’s time to tune up your bike. Whether you’re on the go or visiting the Texas Hill Country, our recommendations will make sure you and your bike are good to go. Remember, take care of your ride and it’ll take of you, whether you’re on a hilly training ride or it’s race day.

It’s critical to carry hydration with you during your training runs 

During training, you don’t have the luxury of aid stations like you do on race day. As if you needed another reason to love race day, hydration on course has always been a fan favorite. However, during training runs it is critical to stay properly hydrated. Make sure you carry hydration with you on your runs. If you’ve just started training make sure you follow these 7 tips to keep your training running smoothly. Try one of the options below to carry hydration on your next run. There are links below where you can order these items or you can visit our friends at Fleet Feet Austin!

Handheld Bottle 

Using a handheld bottle on the run is an easy start to carrying hydration with you on your run. There are options to have a hard bottle or soft flask handheld. The harder bottle retains its shape and usually has more insulation. The soft flask is lighter and has the option to fit in a pocket when empty. The main con to a handheld is that one of your hands will be occupied by physically holding onto the bottle as you run. 

Pro tip: It is a good idea to switch up which hand is holding the bottle during your run. 

Water Vest or Backpack 

Needing to carry more water than what can fit in a handheld, or would like your hands to be free? A water vest or backpack is a great option. The weight of the water vest/ pack is distributed more evenly through the torso, which allows for a more symmetrical weight distribution while running. These options also have extra storage to include nutrition or your phone during your run. 

When deciding between a vest or a backpack think of how you want it to fit and where you want your water storage at. 

  • Vest
    • A hugging fit. It keeps things close to your body for a tighter fit that reduces bounce. 
    • Bottles in the front pockets and option for hydration bladder in the back.
  • Backpack
    • Fit is more relaxed. 
    • Bigger hydration bladder capacity. Some have options for a bottle in the front

Pro tip:  Always be conscious of how a vest/pack rubs on the inside of your arms and neck/shoulder areas.  Any bit of uncomfortable chafing will be multiplied by sweat and miles, so choose wisely. Try Body Glide anti-chafing cream!

Water Bottle Waist Belt 

If you want your hands free and don’t like the idea of carrying more weight through your torso a waist belt is worth a try. We like SPIbelt’s Venture Series because it also holds important items like nutrition, keys, phone, etc. It will stay evenly distributed in the middle of your lower back. This option also includes extra storage options for personal items and allows you to access all pockets and storage areas without having to remove the belt.  

Everyone’s preference is personal to what feels best for them to carry hydration. Test out what works best for you. Pro tip: Stay hydrated and have some fun!

For 16 years, thousands have chosen Rookie Tri as their first triathlon

Registration for the 17th annual Rookie Triathlon opens this Sunday, September 27th. The 2021 Rookie Triathlon will take place on Sunday, May 2nd, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. Every year, more than 1000 participants complete the first triathlon of their life or the first triathlon of their season. 2021 Rookie Triathlon’s $79 best pricing is available until Tuesday, October 20th.

2021 Rookie Triathlon opens registration on Sept. 27, 2020.“It’s thrilling to have watched thousands of people become triathletes when they cross their first triathlon finish line at Rookie Tri,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. 

The Rookie Tri has three different divisions: Rookie (first or second triathlon ever), Veteran (completed more than two triathlons), and Open. The Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Open Division participants are not eligible for age-group awards. Rookies and Veterans start the swim in their division based on their age group, with two participants entering the water every few seconds. Veterans start first so Rookies can watch and cheer. Age-group awards are given to both Veteran and Rookie Division in five-year increments. Rookie Tri also features Athena and Clydesdale categories. Rookie Tri has aquabike and relay options for race day. The relay team can consist of two or three members and the aquabike completes the swim and the bike only.

Rookie Tri perks

Participants will receive custom 2021 Rookie Triathlon participant shirts, finisher medals, water bottles, and swim caps. After the race, everyone can enjoy the beer garden (21+), a post-race meal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, will make this triathlon memorable for rookies and veterans alike. 

Rookie Tri, an award-winning triathlon, consists of a 300m swim in Decker Lake, an 11.2-mile bike ride in a protected lane around the lake, and a two-mile run through Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Triathletes who can’t make it to the event can still participate through the virtual Rookie Tri. Participants can complete the Rookie Tri on their own time at their preferred locations. Follow Rookie Triathlon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Build Zwift into your training program with our helpful guide

If you want to improve your cycling skills from the comfort of your home, then Zwift can take you on that journey. The cycling and training app gamifies elements to create an immersive and engaging virtual cycling experience. This is a great way for triathletes who just started training to improve their cycling.

What is it?

Zwift is a social platform that combines home workout and cycling with virtual reality. It’s a great resource designed for beginner cyclists, as well as more experienced riders. 

Once you’ve set up your account, you can cycle at home while enjoying virtual sceneries of your choice. There are also structured workouts prepared by professional bike coaches that help you maximize your cycling potential from home. Riders of all levels should read these cycling tips before any hilly workouts!

To use Zwift, you will need to make an account. It can be used on PC, MAC, Android, iPhones, and even Apple TV. Zwift is not free to use. You will get a 7-day free trial, but after that, it’ll cost $14.99 a month to use. You can opt to cancel your subscription at any time.

How do you set up Zwift?

To use Zwift, you will first need to arrange your basic gear. These include: 

  • Bike: Most people use whatever bike is available to them. However, to be compatible with Zwift, you should be able to mount your bike on a trainer.
  • ANT+USB: Zwift needs a way to have access to your exercise data. This is achieved by using an ANT+USB cable to link to your PC or TV. If you’re using your phone, then you can utilize the Bluetooth feature. By combining your Bluetooth with a speed or cadence detector, Zwift will have access to your data.
  • Trainer: Without a trainer, you can’t use Zwift. As long as you can properly mount your bike, you can use any trainer you like. Smart trainers are better, especially as they give you an advantage if you want to take part in the competitive events on Zwift. 

Once you’ve set up your bike on your trainer, and connected your smart device to Zwift, you can start using the feature. Learn about the importance of setting goals and set one or two once you get set up.

What are the benefits of using Zwift?

Zwift gives you the opportunity to make the most of the time you spend at home. Without having to go outside, you can get the same physical exercise, and make friends with other users as well.

  • Improve your cycling skills with structured workouts from professional coaches. 
  • Great for beginners as well as cycling enthusiasts. 
  • Various courses are available. You can cycle across mountains, over hills, and even visit exotic virtual locations. 
  • Make friends with other users and go on cycling adventures together. 
  • Participate in competitive races. 
  • Have fun, and level up your cycling game in a constructive way. 

What should you do once you’ve set up an account?

Once you’ve registered an account with Zwift, you can explore the app any way you like. One thing you can do early on is check for the upcoming rides. This gives you an idea of the different groups that will be cycling together. You can find this information by looking for upcoming rides on the top right-hand corner of your screen.

Once you’ve selected a group, simply ‘join’ to become a member of the riding group for the duration of the ride. You can also take part in racing across four different levels. Alternatively, you can also select a coach and learn lessons from them. Zwift has over 1000 hours of workout lessons for cycling. If you want to learn about cycling, or you want to improve your cycling skills, Zwift will help you achieve that in a gamified and entertaining way!

There is certainly a lot to learn for a beginner triathlete.

So, you have decided to do a triathlon. Now what? As former beginner triathletes ourselves, we understand that it can be overwhelming at first. With the combination of swimming, cycling, and running, a triathlon event can be challenging and inspiring. But if you follow these simple tips you will find that getting started doesn’t have to be that hard. 

7 Tips to Remember When You Start Training for a Triathlon


1. Keep Your Training Practical and Simple

The training has to be practical and simple if this is your first triathlon. Your brain gets better at doing crazy, complicated exercises quicker than your muscles. Focus on the big muscles and the muscles that stabilize you through simple workouts. Focus on performance, not the equipment.

2. Cut Workouts Short When Necessary

One of the biggest mistake triathletes make is excessive focus on hard training. They train too hard all the time. Regular training with a proper schedule over a long period of time gives a better outcome than too hard training over a limited period. That is not a very scientific approach. Make sure you respect hard training days, light training days and off days. All will contribute to a better performance in the long run.

3. Include Brick Workouts

A beginner triathlon trainee entering as a swimmer, cyclist, and runner may likely find brick training a new concept. Integrating a brick workout into your training prepares you for racing by combining two aspects of triathlon into a single, continuous workout. The two most common examples are a swim to bike and a bike to run. It prepares you for the changing demands of each sport to ensure your race-day success. You need to understand how your body responds to transition from one event to the next, and on to the third. Here are some places around Austin that are great for an introductory bike to run brick workout.

Woman running during beginner triathlon rookie tri in austin texas4. Practice Transitions

Transition practice that simulates the race day conditions is important. Go through the entire process to gain efficiency. Transition practice can be included during brick workouts when you take off your wet suit, get into cycling gear, and into your running gear.

5. Try Practicing Open Water Swims

Open water swims are not always readily available under the training plan. They are nonetheless essential. They will enhance your comfort level as well as triathlon performance. Open water swimming opportunities should be accessed whenever possible to maximize the advantages of practice and learning the correct techniques. If you do not have access to water there are dry land exercises you can do that simulate swim training. 

6. Swim More Often, Swim less

Poor swimming is an outcome of swimming poorly. Don’t over-swim when you feel like you’re falling apart unless you want to reinforce bad technique. It is better to swim about 15 minutes a day several days a week than an hour or more once or twice a week.

Beginner triathlon finishing the Rookie Tri Finisher

7. Train Your Digestive System

You need to understand how much nutrition and hydration you require while on the bike and on run. Training your digestive system is useful here. Find out through training sessions how much you are able to handle and practice accordingly.

We hope these tips help you as you start your triathlon training as a beginner triathlete. Be sure to look through our blog for more helpful articles including Rookie Mistakes to Avoid in Training and Free Online Workouts to Help You Stay Tri Ready. There are always ways to improve in triathlon and we are here to help you along the way. Be sure to join our Facebook Group to ask any questions that you have.