Today, there are millions of bike riders across the globe, and the number keeps rising by the day. With more beginner riders on the roads and trails, it is ideal that they understand the tips and techniques to ensure the ride is fulfilling and safe. If you’re a beginner rider, here are tips and techniques to enable you to achieve the need for safety and fulfilment:
- 1. Get attuned to your bike
- 2. Put on a helmet
- 3. Change your bike gears correctly
- 4. Become attuned to your pedals
- 5. Discover a comfortable sitting position
- 6. Familiarize with your environment
- 7. Sign up with a riding group
- 8. Practice pedaling while standing
- 9. Bring along drinking water
- 10. Maintain your concentration while riding
- 11. Know the rules of the road
- 12. Find the correct saddle
- 13. Know how to fix a puncture
- 14. Learn the basics of cornering
- 15. Install mudguards in wet conditions
- 16. Regularly clean your bike
1. Get attuned to your bike
This may sound like a no-brainer, but is a very important tip for a beginner cyclist. It’s a good idea to understand the ins and outs of your bike, especially if you’re riding a mountain bike. Mountain bikes are a lot different from the regular bikes because they have different gears to apply on different terrains. Take the time to learn how to break on both tires. You should know which gear functions best on a particular terrain. Also, learn to position your seat correctly and comfortably.
2. Put on a helmet
A helmet is great security equipment that you must have. Put it on whenever you’re practicing or riding the bike. A helmet will save you in the case of falls. Never forget to wear a helmet when heading for long distance rides. If you’re riding downhill, make use of a full-faced helmet. There are other safety pieces of equipment that you must have for a comfortable and safe ride including sunglasses, gloves, knee pads and elbow pads. When you head out for any mountain bike practice, carry an air pump along to avoid disappointments of flat tires.
3. Change your bike gears correctly
If you’re riding a mountain bike, ensure that you’re changing the gears correctly. Lower gears are designed to help you ride uphill effortlessly. In a lower gear mode, it becomes easy to pedal. Higher gears are designed to get you riding at supersonic speeds, but are pretty difficult to peddle. It is thus recommended that you discover the gear that can comfortably and easily take you downhill and uphill. Before you reach a steeper hill, ensure that you understand how to shift gears.
4. Become attuned to your pedals
It’s vital to get used to your pedals as quickly as possible. Before you take on a mountain bike, thoroughly practice pedaling. Pro riders feel the pedals on their feet, so they don’t have to look down to get their feet on. Practice to get to that level.
5. Discover a comfortable sitting position
For ease of pedaling, discovering your best sitting position will go a long way. Your arms should just bend slightly. Don’t stretch or put them straight. To get the right angle, adjust your sitting position depending on your height. This is to ensure your leg extends about 70% – 90% underneath each pedal stroke. At all times maintain your body relaxed and flexible. Avoid locking your elbows or knees in any condition.
6. Familiarize with your environment
It’s always recommended that you know exactly the area you are doing your practicing. Most new riders just look at the front of their bike. The golden rule of thumb is to be able to look 360 degrees and enjoy your surrounding in the process.
7. Sign up with a riding group
Riding alone is good, but boring at times. It’s even more dangerous riding alone if you’re not familiar with the terrain. If you cannot find a group to join, ask your friend to ride along. Riding in a group comes along with many benefits including learning new skills, making new friends and getting information firsthand about the terrain.
8. Practice pedaling while standing
Pedaling while standing can help you maneuver difficult terrains without having to tag along with the bike. It is ideal to begin pedaling while standing on higher gears. Shift gears based on the terrain, downhill or uphill. If you are riding up a long hill, use the in and out of saddle ride, shifting after around 30 seconds to assist you to climb quicker.
9. Bring along drinking water
Riding is an energy-consuming endeavor, and you will get hydrated at some point. This is why you need to carry along sufficient water to rehydrate. Rehydration gives you back your lost energy and strength. You can also carry a few juices but never leave water behind.
10. Maintain your concentration while riding
It’s vital to stay focused when riding. Most experts recommend listening to music by plugging earphones in your ears. The reason for listening to music is to maintain your riding speed. However, if you’re not used to it, better not try it. It could be more dangerous than you might imagine. Just make sure while riding, you have an eye out on the roads.
11. Know the rules of the road
As a beginner rider, you might assume that road rules do not apply to you. They do. So ensure that you know and obey all traffic rules and signs to stay out of trouble with the authorities. Also, when riding in traffic areas, watch the cars in front and anticipate every move they are going to make to minimize the possibility of accidents.
12. Find the correct saddle
You will notice a big difference while riding when you find the right saddle. Most beginner riders think the thickest padding accords them a comfy ride. The best kind of saddle is a longer seat with a cutout.
13. Know how to fix a puncture
When you’re out there riding, there is no bike repairer on site, so it’s mandatory that you learn to fix your bike puncture. With that said, ensure that you carry a repair kit including patchers, new inner tube, and tire levers. You’ll realize the importance of knowing how to fix your puncture when you are in the middle of nowhere, and you hear a hissing sound.
14. Learn the basics of cornering
During cornering, ensure that the outside pedal is in the outer position when cornering and applying pressure on it. Doing this will accord you more grip, especially in wet weather and will reduce the risk of sliding.
15. Install mudguards in wet conditions
If you’ve ever cycled in a muddy road, you must have experienced firsthand the absence of mudguards. Your back will receive a fair share of mud; your bike washing machine will frequently be roaring, any rider behind you will be frowning. The more dirt or mud gets into the difficult parts, the more difficult it will get to ride the bike.
16. Regularly clean your bike
A sponge and hot soapy water will do your cleaning just fine. If the grime is caked on, you’ll need more advanced cleaning sprays. For cleaning the drivetrain, use a special degreaser. Spray your bike later with silicone aerosol, taking care not to break the surfaces as this will prevent mud sticking on your next ride.
Riding a bike for a beginner can be intimidating and challenging. But when you duly follow the tips and techniques outlined above, your riding should commence without glitches. Putting in the extra effort will propel you to a pro rider, so it’s a good idea to be on your bike always.