The Ultimate Guide for the Bike Riding Beginner
Invented close to 200 years ago, the bicycle has become an urban staple that is loved by children and commuters alike. Commuting on a bike is rejuvenating, mind-clearing, and the best way to explore nature. Whether you wish to become a professional cyclist one day, or you only want to learn how to ride properly to commute to work or exercise, here are some bike riding tips for beginners on the steep slope of the learning curve:
Purchase a high-quality bike
To truly make the most of your cycling experience, it is always better to have a high-quality bicycle. You need a bike that is durable and light in weight, but one that can roll through tough terrain. Most reliable bikes cost upward of $2000, but there are still some affordable options out there. To get the best mountain bike under $1000, do your homework and read reviews on available bicycle options. Make sure the affordable bike you purchase has a good disk brake and tires with good traction and bump absorption. A good quality bike can make your ride more enjoyable and help you ride for longer. If you are male and you wish to commute to work, you can get the best hybrid bike for men to ride over different types of terrain. The bike should be comfortable to ride on and have improved grip, even on wet roads.
Ensure the bike is the right fit for you
After purchasing the right model with all the bells and whistles you need for a great ride, it's important to ensure the bike you choose is the right fit. The proper fit involves the ideal seat height and reach. The seat of the bicycle should be high enough to give you a very slight bend in your knee when your foot is on the bottom of your pedal stroke.
The right reach means that your torso and your arms should make a 45-degree angle over your bicycle. If the reach is too long, your back will be sore as you'll have to strain to reach the handlebars. If it's too short, your arms will be too close to your knees, making it difficult to ride properly. It's always better to take your bike for a test ride before purchasing it to make sure it is the perfect fit.
One of the biggest rookie mistakes beginners make is charging into cycling with everything they've got, only to burn out soon after they start. When you start cycling, begin slowly and ease into it to give your body time to adjust to the intensity and new distances. During the bike ride, start steadily to warm up, settle into a rhythm as you progress, and then give it everything you've got during the final leg of the race.
Pacing yourself is also important when riding uphill. Ride at a steady pace and shift through the different gears until you can maintain the right cadence, which is between 75 and 80 revolutions per minute, and the right intensity.
Learn how to change a flat
A flat is an inconvenience that can significantly dampen your mood and interrupt your ride. However, it is important to anticipate flats and to hone your flat-changing skills before you get on the road. Always carry a repair kit, which includes a patch kit, a spare, a mini-pump, and levers. Learn how to fix your flat quickly so that you can get back on the road as soon as possible.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Cycling is an intense sport, and you need to refuel and drink enough water. If you plan to ride for an hour, you may not need to carry any snacks with you, as high-tempo efforts require about 90 minutes worth of glycogen. If you want to cycle for longer, you may need to refuel to prevent the dreaded 'bonking.'
Start eating a snack about 45 minutes into your ride, and continue munching on something every 15 to 20 minutes. For short trips, carry a hydration pack or water bottle and drink water when you can.
Change positions while riding
Staying in the same position while riding your bicycle can cause fatigue and numbness. Try shifting your rear on the saddle and moving your hands around the handlebars from time to time.
Learn how to shift gears
If you have a mountain bike, you should learn how to shift gears intuitively to help you ride comfortably on different terrains. Mountain bikes usually have up to three chainrings on the front and up to 11 gears at the back. Moving the bike chain from the smallest to the largest cog in the back makes pedaling easier.
For front gears, changing it to a smaller chainring makes the bike easier to pedal, and shifting gears to a larger chainring makes the bike harder to pedal. The general rule is to shift to an easier gear when riding uphill or into the wind and to shift to a harder gear when riding on flat surfaces or when the wind is blowing from behind.
To make your transition smoother, change gears before the terrain changes. Always ease up on the pedals when shifting gears, especially when riding uphill. This is because pedaling hard while shifting gears could cause the chain to fall off or skip.
If you are new to cycling, you may have a hard time starting out. However, with these tips and a little practice, you'll become a pro cyclist in no time.