List Of Cycling Tips
There are multiple health benefits to cycling from decreasing stress and the risk of heart and lung diseases to strengthening the immune system and creating a more overall positive well being. With all the benefits that cycling provides, it's obvious why it's a popular sport and passion for so many around the world. Here are some tips for anyone interested in pursuing cycling as a hobby or sport.
- Find the right equipment
- Understand your bike gear shifts
- Practie bike maintenance
- Getting comfortable with your bike
- Don't shift gears too quickly
- Finda comfortable rhythm
- Change your position when riding
- Be mindful when turning a corner
- Know when to shift gears
- Practice makes perfect
- Don't exhaust yourself
- Stay safe
Find The Right Equipment
After you know the style or type of cycling you want to try, the next step is to find the right equipment for a fun and safe ride. Don't forget the essentials for bike safety, a fitted helmet and reflective tape and vests. Other equipment like bib shorts, gloves, and cycling shoes might seem unimportant but are extremely helpful for getting the proper comfort and grip ideal for cycling. Try to find a bike that fits and is affordable for you. Prices can range from $500 to over $5,000, so it's important to know what type of bike you're looking for and feel right. It's a smart idea to consult your local bike shop or find reviews of bikes on different bikes on the internet. Depending on your style, it might be in your best interest to also get bike suits that help you ride comfortably.
Understand Your Bike Gear Shifts
The number of gears on bikes can vary but their functions relative to cycling are generally the same. Most bikes come with two gears that are controlled by the left and right handlebars. The main idea of the gears is to help you ride at a consistent pace. The left handlebar gear shifter is connected to the chainrings which are the gears closest to the front of the bike. The right handlebar gear shifter is connected to the sprocket or the back end gears of the bike. Be careful how you shift between these gears when riding; their purpose is to help ride at a comfortable pace in different terrain and environments. The bigger gears (connected to the left gear shift) are to help when riding downhill or at a faster pace, and the smaller gears (connected to the right gear shift) help with riding uphill and are optimal for riding at a slower rate.
Practice Bike Maintenance
Looking after your bike requires a few different things to know, including the understanding of the bike drivetrain (bikes gears and chainrings), tire pressure, and making sure your chains are cleaned and oiled, so that the wearing process of the chains is slowed. Make sure your tires are pumped and filled to the right pressure before riding. The right amount can be found on the sidewall of your bike tires. The number is a recommended range for tire pressure provided by the manufacturing company. It can and should be adjusted to accommodate the riding conditions. If it will be a relatively dry ride it's better to pump your tires more than with wet and muddy conditions. The cleaning process might vary depending on the bicycle used. Degrease the bike drivetrain and chains with a degreasing agent using a cloth or rag. You can clean the other parts of the bike including the frame, wheels, and handlebars with soap and water. After the bike is cleaned, let it dry before applying water displacing agents like WD-40 to spots on the bike that may rust over time. Apply bike lube or grease to spots on the bike where rust can accumulate, then on the bike's gears. After this is completed, apply the lube or grease to the bike gears and chains, use a cloth or rag to get rid of any excess. Check and make sure everything is operating correctly, then you're ready to ride again.
Getting comfortable with your bike
When cycling, your comfort should always be a top priority. Make sure your bike saddle is comfortable, especially if you plan to ride for an extended period of time. There are tons of different bike saddle designs available but it's understood within the cycling community that extended bike saddles with cutouts are typically the most comfortable when cycling.
Don't Shift Gears Too Quickly Or With Too Much Pressure
You shouldn't shift gears too quickly when riding on your bicycle, this can lead to the bike chain falling off or what is referred to as cross training. This damages your bicycle's drive train and chains. When you want to shift gears its in your best interest to pedal lighter as you shift, but also maintain a solid, consistent and comfortable pace. This will also help prevent the chain from falling off the gears. Another way to prevent the chains from falling off your bike gears is to never shift both the left and right gears simultaneously.
Find A Comfortable Rhythm
It's best to find a comfortable rhythm when cycling, one that doesn't feel too taxing on your muscles. A general rule of thumb is to ride at pace between 70-90 rpm (revolutions per minute). You don't want to ride on unnecessarily high gear for an extended period of time because it will exhaust you. 70-90 rpm is the ideal rate for both efficiency and comfortability because it works out both the cardiovascular and aerobic system without straining the leg muscles or knees.
Change Position When Riding
Once you have the cadence you're most comfortable with riding, don't be afraid to change the position of your body. Adjust your backside on the bike saddle and your hands on the handlebars, this will help you ride comfortably for an extended period of time and avoid any discomfort and strain after your ride is over.
Turning a Corner
When you've reached a corner, or need to make a turn, it's best to slow down to an ideal or reasonable pace in order to avoid using the bike brakes. Another good technique to learn is raising or lifting the inside pedal so that it's at the start of its revolution. This way the pedal won't hit the ground when you lean in to make the turn. This is called pedaling up.
Know When to Shift Gears
When approaching new terrain like hills, knowing when to shift between gears is an important skill to learn. When riding uphill, try timing the shift to a lower gear right as you approach the hill. It's generally a good idea to shift to the lowest gear possible then work your way up gears to avoid not being able to climb the hill. While doing this keep pedaling to maintain speed and momentum. You can also attempt riding laterally while shifting to find the right gear.
Practice Makes Perfect
Just like any other sport or physical activity, becoming an experienced cyclist requires practice. So get out there, hit the roads and trails that you feel comfortable exploring. When cycling the biggest practice should focus on understanding turning or "pedaling up" and the right moments to shift gears. Look for a safe road or path to practice. The timing should become instinctual over time, and will help when riding in new or different environments.
Don't Exhaust Yourself
Like any other sport, cycling can exhaust you if not practiced or performed properly. Give yourself reasonable and proper time to recover within riding periods to avoid feelings of discomfort, fatigue and exhaustion. If possible carry water and snacks whenever riding for extended periods of time. Professionals do this and you should too, it helps you stay hydrated and fueled throughout the riding period.
Remember to obey all traffic and road signals when riding and stay aware by keeping your head up to note any impediments or upcoming obstacles in your way.