If it were not for my friends who got me onto a bike, I don't know that I would have ever worked up the motivation and eventually the desire to start cycling and to maintain the consistency of logging regular miles. On this note, the first mistake a new rider can make is to buy a new bike, purchase all the gear, and to not find a group to ride with. Cycling is quite different than running in this regard. (When was the last time you saw a pack of runners from the local running club on a Saturday morning?) The benefits of riding with a group are too numerous to list here. The biggest one of which is that the likelihood that you will "stick with it" and add miles is much greater in the long run.

13 Common Beginner Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Group Ride

  1. Forgetting a spare tube, pump, and tire levers.
  2. Lack of nutrition or hydration.
  3. Neglecting to pack your helmet or shoes.
  4. Leaving your phone in the car or at home. Key Tip: We've all forgotten something on this list at one time or another (and sometimes we still do) as obvious as they may seem. My friend Brad forgot his cycling shoes one time and didn't realize it until we were just about to roll out. This also happened to my brother in-law recently on a mountain bike outing - after we had already made it all the way out to the trail head.
  5. Following too closely to the rider in front of you.
  6. Following too closely and not having a hold on the hood and brakes.
  7. Passing other riders in the group to their right.
  8. Leading at the front of the group (and not staying behind the designated ride group lead).
  9. Calves covered in chain grease.
  10. Undergarments under your chamois.
  11. Joining a group that is planning to go 50 miles or more.
  12. Forgetting to consume the food and hydration you brought for the ride until you start to sense the muscles cramping.
  13. And the mistake which I still make from time to time - heading out on a long ride on an unfamiliar route (or even a familiar one) at a pace that is too fast. (Be sure to save some gas for the ride back, especially in cases where you begin at elevation and descend and have a climb at the end on the return trip).

Hopefully this covers most of it. If I am missing something from this list, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks!