Riding on a bike for the first time can be quite uncomfortable, challenging and also dangerous. However, cycling is a very enjoyable exercise that will keep you busy during your free time may be on weekends.
If you are not sure of where and how to start, we have outlined some of the important things that will ensure that your riding experience is safe, convenient and comfortable. Are you ready to learn? The following tips will boost your confidence on the road.
1. Make a plan
Do your research first and find out if there are any bike lanes round your area which are comfortable and safe to ride in. Most cities have cycling areas where you can practice. You should also ensure that you are equipped with the following;
- Helmet –Never ride without a helmet. A helmet ensures your head is protected from bad injuries in case of accidents. Helmets come in different sizes. It is good to select the one that fits you well.
- Pump - Always carry a portable pump which you can attach on the bike. It will come in handy in case you get a flat.
- Gloves –These ones are very important because they help in absorbing shock from the handles. Makes sure that they are well padded to give you maximum comfort.
- Repair kit – Always carry a repair kit. It should have 2 tire levers, spare inner tube, a patch kit and a multi-tool for bikes.
- Water bottle –Consider one with a cage which you can easily attach to your bike. You can also consider a hydration backpack. You need water when cycling.
- Cash – It is good always be prepared in case of any emergency. Therefore, you should carry some money and a phone which you can use in case you might need any help. Accidents do happen, this means it is good to carry any identification document or a customized bangle with your name.
2. Select the right bike
There are different types of bikes and most of them are available in different sizes. When choosing a bike, you need to consider the following;
- Consider the type of cycling you intend to do – Whether you want to do cycling with family or friends during the weekends or use the bike to get to and from work, you need to look for a bike that matches your requirements. To help with selection, read the hybrid bike review from 10BestRanked.
- Test it before buying – Bikes comes with different frame designs and wheels, ensure that the bike you choose will be comfortable for you.
- Select the best size – For maximum comfort and performance, select a bike which suits your height. Ensure that the bike allows your feet to touch the floor.
3. Practice first
If you are intending to ride for the first time or you have not been on a bike for a long time, make sure you are comfortable on the bike before you take a ride on the streets. Take time to first practice in a park or in your driveway before riding on the road. You can try different things you will be required to do while out there like standing up to pedal, stopping quickly, and riding on one hand among others.
4. Check your bike
Ensure that the bike is in good condition. Make sure that the tires are properly aired, clean the chain and also confirm that the brakes are functioning properly. You can also take the bike to your local mechanic to ensure that all parts are working as required if you can’t fix them yourself. Here are some basic maintenance tips.
- Chain – To ensure that that the chain lasts longer, always clean it regularly before applying a suitable lubricant. Remember to wipe off any excess lubricant.
- Brakes – Ensure that they are properly lubricated. You should also check the amount of tear on the brake pads and do the necessary changes when required.
- Gears - Keep them clean and well lubricated. This is important to keep them protected from corrosive elements on the road.
5. Start slow
Unlike other exercises, cycling requires you to use different muscles. Your body requires time to adapt to different types of stress when cycling. Therefore, it is good to start slow and increase your speed gradually. Learn how to use the brakes effectively.
6. Look for an experienced rider
Get a more experienced rider to accompany you on the road. This will give you confidence when you are on the bike. He/she can be a friend, co-worker or relative who likes cycling.
7. Learn the cycling Etiquette
This is important especially if you are going for a group ride. Here are the basic things you should know.
- Never change the direction or speed abruptly.
- Use your hand to indicate to those behind you when the group ahead has slowed down.
- Point out potholes or other objects to the person behind you.
- In case you get a flat when cycling, just raise your hand and shout “flat. Hold on the line until those behind you have passed.
8. Use alerts
Use the bell to alert pedestrians or other cyclist when you are about to ass them. You can also pass on the left if you do not have a bell. Sometimes you can just say “passing on the left”
9. Be comfortable with cars
Since you will be sharing the road with other users such as drivers, it is good to know that not all drivers are courteous towards cyclists. Always remain calm and maintain control over the bike when the driver comes too close.
10 Ensure that you are visible
Always use bicycle lights especially when riding at night to ensure that other road users can see you. Just like a helmet, the use of bicycle lights cannot be ignored. Observe the traffic rules and regulations to prevent accidents.
Safety is the most important thing you should be assured of when cycling. It is good to ensure that your bike is in good shape at all times.
Additionally, ensure that you have all the required equipment such as helmet, pump and repair kit. Leaning some basic maintenance skills is also important. It is out hope that the above tips will be of great help as you start your cycling journey. Ours is to wish you all the best.
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Electric Bikes are also a great option, as they let you travel much longer distances, and give you the opportunity to cycle till you have completed your exercising quota and then shift to powered mode to reach your destination. A good option is the Ancheer folding electric bike, which is featured in our best electric bicycles article.
Another option worth considering is a gas powered bicycle.