Tips For Beginner Cyclists

Cycling is a sport enjoyed by over 35 million riders. Cycling can be for either workouts or recreational purposes. Physical fitness and general body health can be improved by frequent cycling.

Cycling is free and can be enjoyed in any place. Here are some guidelines a beginning rider may follow to improve their performance, comfort, safety, and enjoyment.

Safety First

  • Always wear a helmet on every ride.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes with reflective trim even during daylight hours.
  • Use front and rear lights and check the batteries often.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Wear anything from tinted to clear depending on the conditions and time of day. Lenses should be shatterproof types made for sporting activities.
  • Obey all traffic signs and use the appropriate hand signals when turning.
  • Travel with the traffic not against it.
  • Do not ride while wearing headphones.
  • Walk across rail road tracks as they are notorious for causing falls. The front wheel slips sideways on the slick steel track very easily.
  • Stay hydrated. Carry enough water to get you between stops.

Get Comfortable

Make sure you have the proper size bike for your body size. Proper frame size is essential to putting the rider in an ideal position for effective cycling. The seat needs to be positioned so that your leg is just slightly bent at the bottom of a stroke. The handlebars should be positioned about an inch below the seat on most bikes. The ideal width should be close to the width of your shoulders.

Wear clothing for cycling.

There are a lot of comfort features built into cycling clothing. Padding in shorts, moisture wicking fabrics, vented shirts and pants, are just some of these features. Gloves with gel pads are very nice to wear. Cycle long enough and you will appreciate the features in cycling apparel.

Ride Right

Most cyclists pedal at a rate of 70 to 80 rotations per minute, rpm. Using proper gearing will allow you to achieve this cadence regardless of your level. As you progress the number of rotations will stay the same but the gear selections will be different.

On uphill climbs gear down to maintain the same rpm’s and avoid the temptation to stand up and pedal. Standing up actually causes you to expel more energy thus making the climb more difficult.

Ride with your elbows slightly bent and relaxed. This helps with absorbing the bumps in the road.

When on a mountain bike during steep off road descents lower your seat about 6 inches and shift your weight to the rear of the seat to keep most of your weight on the rear tire. Not doing this can cause you to go head over the handle bars if the hill is steep enough.