Triathlon – Where to Start? (Part 2: The Bike)

The Bike

Many people picture triathletes on bikes that cost more than some cars, with odd looking, pointy helmets on. This doesn’t have to be you; and we would even say shouldn’t be you when starting out (unless you are from a cycling background perhaps)!

The first bit of advice for any new triathlete when it comes to the bike leg is to get a bike. However, contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The options for your first triathlon are extensive:

  1. Borrow a bike – why buy a bike if you don’t know you’ll ever use it again;
  2. Use a current bike – mountain bikes, commuter bikes, single speeds and any other type of bike are allowed, and often seen (though recumbents may not be; it would be worth checking with the event organiser in this rare case);
  3. Buy a second hand bike – this is what many of us at Tyne Triathlon have done, and many are still riding them! These can cost as little or as much as you want;
  4. Buy a new bike – the holy grail of cycling: “New Bike Day”!

The only other mandatory item is a cycling helmet. All other items, such as cycling shoes and cleats, and fancy wheels are completely optional.

Specific to triathlon racing there are a few rules to remember:

  1. Do not touch your bike until your helmet is fastened;
  2. Obey the rules of the road at all times;
  3. Do not unfasten your helmet until you have re-racked your bike.

Pretty simple!

Now that you have the basics, what do you do next?

We would advise the following (though the order can be mixed up/steps missed out as experience levels differ):

  • Find a safe area to get comfortable riding your bike;
  • Progress to riding on the road; British Cycling’s Let’s Ride events are a great way to start under the guidance of more experience cyclists;
  • Once you are getting fitter and more confident Tyne Triathlon’s Sunday ride is a friendly outing (but remember some cash for the inevitable coffee stop)!
  • Structured training using a turbo trainer indoors is a great ‘bang-for-buck’ workout allowing you to get a focused training session without the stress/hassle of heading outdoors.

If you have any questions that haven’t been answered, get in touch using our contact page.

You can also check out our other beginners guides here:



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