More and more cyclists are taking to the road every year. If you are thinking about joining them and want to get involved, here are six tips for beginner cyclists to help you ride better and safer.
- Make sure your bike fits. Choosing your bike shouldn’t be a rushed job. Getting it wrong can lead to an uncomfortable riding experience. Do your research, find the style of bike you want (commuter, road bike, touring bike, hybrid, etc), and get a proper bike fit. This will make sure the bike fits your body, making you more efficient and resulting in less pain and soreness pre and post ride.
- Wear a helmet. Cycling related injuries and deaths are often a case of serious head injuries. Many could be avoided if a cycling helmet was worn at all times. It might not look the best, but you’d rather be safe than sorry. I still find it baffling why so many people zoom around a busy city like London, where I live, on their bikes without a helmet on.
- Get your bike gear right. Pedalling in the wrong gear for too long can lead to injury or discomfort – this could be a gear too high, or a gear too low. Generally speaking, you want to find a comfortable cadence (the speed in which you turn the pedals) – normally between 70 and 90 revolutions per minute (rpm) – and find a rhythm. Getting your gears wrong puts an unnecessary strain on your knees.
- Utilise your gears when you need them. When you are climbing hills, shift into a gear that will enable you to keep your cadence in the right range. When you go downhill, shift down gears to ensure you maximise the descent.
- Know the rules of the road. Although you are on a bike, you still need to obey all road signs. Don’t run red lights, don’t undertake lorries or buses, and keep a careful eye on cars and pedestrians so you can anticipate any danger. Always keep your eyes on the road and stay alert. You need to be able to quickly react to obstacles and dangers, such as oncoming potholes.
- Get the right gear. Cycling is great because it’s so accessible. However, the ride will be more enjoyable if you have the right gear. I’m talking about sweat-wicking clothing, a cycling rucksack if commuting, glasses to protect your eyes, a proper windproof/waterproof jacket, and so on.
If you follow these tips you will have a more enjoyable and safer time on your bike.