Cycling is a fantastic exercise and transportation alternative. But it is essential to ensure you are doing it safely and comfortably. In this blog post, we will share tips for making your cycling experience more enjoyable and comfortable.
Firstly, let's talk about gear:
- Don't get a padded saddle. It may not be as comfortable as it looks. Instead, invest in padded shorts. Bib shorts or bib tights are an even better option. Be sure not to wear regular underwear under the shorts! It will make or break your enjoyment of the ride.
- Wear a helmet. Ensure that it fits properly and does not move easily.
- Safety is crucial when cycling. Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing and lights, even during the day. Remember, as a cyclist, you have a right to be on the road, but in the event of an accident between a cyclist and a vehicle, the vehicle always wins.
- Get good bright lights and use them in the daytime and nighttime. The flashing setting is more eye-catching during the day and is better suited to catch the eye of drivers using their phones.
- Get comfortable sunglasses. A bug or a speck of dust can really be dangerous when you are close to moving traffic. Plus, there is no such thing as too much UVA & UVB protection.
- Invest in padded gloves. Wind-resistant, flexible, and breathable gloves are essential to improve your cycling experience in all weather conditions.
Now that you have the gear sorted out, these tips will prepare you for a ride:
- Take plenty of water with you to stay hydrated.
- Wear sunscreen. As Baz Luhrmann famously sang, "Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proven by scientists."
- Don’t forget to be prepared for the ride when you go out, with water, snacks (banana or energy bars), emergency ID, and supplies to fix a flat at a bare minimum.
- Make sure your bicycle fits you. Can't be sure? It might be worth spending the money at a shop to get a fitting.
Last but not least, here are the tips to remember while you are out riding:
- Stretch first. Experts recommend different stretches pre- and post-rides. Look them up and add them to your cycling routine.
- Pedaling is a circle, not a push. As a beginner cyclist, select the right gearing that will allow you to pedal at around 80-90 RPM. Spinning your pedals too low will exhaust you quickly, putting unnecessary stress on your joints. For most rides, the pedaling should feel just slightly too easy. Once you get used to the higher rpm, you will be much more efficient on the bike, and your legs will thank you.
- During a long ride, take breaks. Hydrate, pre-fuel, and re-fuel, as it is crucial to stay hydrated and to fuel up before and during your ride.
- Hills are hard. Learn how your gear levers and buttons work. You don't have to struggle up hills for using the wrong gear.
Learn the appropriate hand signals and use them. It will make you much safer in traffic and helps other road users know when it is safe or not to pass you.
Left turn: Extend the left arm straight out from the body and point to the left. You should perform this signal at least ten yards prior to turning.
Right turn: Extend the right arm out straight from the body and point to the right. As with the left turn, you want to make this signal at least ten yards before the intended turn.
Stop: Extend your left arm straight down with your palm facing rearward.
- Avoid cycling over drain covers and painted road lines, especially when it is wet. You can end up losing grip.
- Avoid riding right on the side of the road and give yourself space to move and avoid the unexpected, such as cars or broken bottles.
- When riding past parked cars, give yourself at least the width of a door of space or ride slow enough to avoid a car door being flung open or to minimize damage.
- While turning, remember to brake before corners while you are still moving in a straight line, and then pedal out of them. Braking mid-turn can start a skid.
- When you dismount, stand up and slide your body forward off the saddle and over the top tube while still on the pedals before coming to a stop. It will help avoid groin pain and make it easier to control a safe stop.
- Finally, do not lean your bike against the driver's side, as you risk bending the derailleurs, chain rings, and hanger.
Cycling is a great way to get exercise and transportation. With these tips, you are ready to hit the road comfortably and safely. Don't forget to share this blog post with other cyclists and help them enjoy their cycling experience.