David Kinja first hopped on to a bicycle when he was in high school. This may be considered late as most boys and girls try out bicycle riding when aged 7-10 years. However, unlike most people, Kinja made a name for himself in the cyclist career.
This year, the 48-year-old won 70km Sokoke Forest Mountain Bike race that was held at Watamu in Kilifi. He has further participated in a challenge that saw him with three others cycle from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa covering 100km a day for 40 days.
He is further known as the man who discovered the talent in road racing cyclist and four times record holder of Tour de France Chris Froome.
Kinja, the founder of Safari Simbaz Trust walked our reporter on six ways one can become a professional cyclist.
1. Start Somewhere
Every great thing had a start. Kinja got passionate about the bike. “I created my own bike when I discovered my connection with bikes,” he says. One can start by cycling every day for two hours in six weeks.
A professional cyclist spends 4 to 6 hours a day on the road cycling though at times that might include time spent at the gym doing weights and building strength.
2. Gather knowledge on what is cycling
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, cycling is the use of a bicycle for sport, recreation or transportation. The sport of cycling consists of professional and amateur races, which are held mostly in continental Europe, the United States, and Asia.
“When one understands what cycling is then they are in a better position to kick start their career since knowledge is power,” says Kinja.
3. Find cyclers near you that you can join
“Joining a group or a club of cyclers gives one an opportunity to learn from others and it also motivates you, two, three is always better than one,” notes Kinja. As the saying goes, if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together. An individual can find a local group by searching on the Internet forums, looking through parks and recreation departments, and checking in a local gym.
4. Build up with types of equipment and fitness
In building fitness, a one hour strength training workout several times in a week will do. The work out will specifically target the legs and core muscles. Good examples of exercise include squats, leg curls, and lunges.
“Get the right bike, know your way with the bike that is how to fix or repair it. Get spare parts for the bike. Water bottle and cycling gear, they are very important,” says Kinja.
5. Target events within
“These events are purposefully to build you confidence while on the track racing. It will open your eyes to better cyclers and learn from them,” advice Kinja. Most participants in local cycling events are there for recreation purposes, thus an amateur cycler can take advantage and test the water by doing the events.
He/she can then build upon his/her strength and improve their cycling techniques.
6. Target results
After attending several events and learning throughout with a strong confidence, one can now enter into races.
“The good thing about racing is you want to be better than your last performance. If you took two hours in a previous event, one can set a timeline of one and a half hours to finish the current race,” he says.
Targeting results can easily put on on top as they will want to be better than they were.