These Awesome Beginner Cyclists Tips Will Make You A Better Rider

beginner cyclists tips

If you've never cycled before, you may be compelled to start but not know where to begin. Starting out on your first bike can be a little discouraging, especially if you don't know what to expect. Just like working out at the gym, a few days of soreness is only natural.

Cycling is a great way to have fun and keep fit while spending time outside. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. There are biking routes you may or may not like navigating through, speed limits that might catch you off guard and the safety considerations.

Here are twenty tips for beginners to get you started on your first bike.
  1. Wear proper cycling gear and clothing

  2. When biking, it's recommended that you wear:

    • A helmet. This will protect your head in the event of a collision.
    • Knee and elbow pads, as well as gloves. These will help prevent injuries to your knees, elbows, and hands in the case of a fall or accident.
    • Comfortable clothing that will allow you to move freely without restricting your movement. Bright colors are also recommended so that other people on the road can see you easily.
    • A backpack for extra gear.
  3. Don't buy a bike that's too small or large

  4. One of the most important things to pay attention to when purchasing a bike is the fit. Most cycling stores will have an in-house expert who can perform simple size adjustments and recommend bikes based on your preferences and needs.

    If you choose to buy a bike online, double-check that it’s the right size by comparing it to other models. This can be done by searching for bike details on the manufacturer’s website or asking customer service questions through email or live chat.

    Once you have your new ride, don’t forget to adjust the seat height and handlebars so that they are at comfortable positions for you.

  5. Don't pedal too fast

  6. Pedaling too fast can make you slip, as well as tire you out quickly. Spinning at a moderate cadence is more efficient and fun. You don't have to strain over the handlebars to go fast: just pedal smoothly and avoid pushing too hard down on the pedals. An ideal cadence is 80-100 rpm (revolutions per minute).

  7. Find the right saddle height

  8. Start by finding a stationary bike in your local gym or bike shop, and adjust the seat height to approximate a position you are used to (keep it fairly high for starters). Clip into the pedals and push through one full rotation, as if you were riding. Your knee should have a slight bend when the pedal is at its lowest point. If your leg is straight or locked out, lower the saddle. If you can't reach the pedal with your leg fully extended, raise it.

    Once you've found an appropriate height on a stationary bike, take that measurement to your own ride and make any final adjustments using the quick-release lever on the clamp holding the saddle in place.

    The importance of getting this right cannot be overstated: A good fit will make pedaling easier; it will help prevent injury; and it will maximize power transfer from leg to pedal. That's what every cyclist wants, more power.

  9. Take it easy as you increase your distance

  10. Many beginning cyclists want to max out their mileage from the get-go, and that's natural. You're revved up about your new passion and you want to be in it for the long haul. But it's important not to let your enthusiasm push you too hard, too quickly. Instead, build your distance gradually and give yourself time to settle into a routine before you ramp up the miles.

    A similar impulse is to think of cycling as a sort of "extremist" sport, one where people are constantly pushing themselves farther and getting more involved in every aspect of their rides. This can lead beginners to try things they aren't ready for and risk injury or fatigue, which discourages many potential cyclists from continuing at all.

    If you find yourself falling into these traps, it's time to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Start with shorter distances (we recommend under 5 miles) until you feel comfortable on the bike and have established a safe routine for your rides and recovery schedule.

  11. Improve your flexibility

  12. Like with any sport, stretching is an important part of cycling. When you're flexible, you can cycle for longer without pain and soreness and help prevent injury. Do a few stretches before and after riding, as well as when you aren't riding (you'll notice a difference in your flexibility).

    • Start slowly by doing hamstring stretches like the forward fold or seated straddle stretch.
    • Work your way up to sphinx pose or child's pose. These are good backbends to strengthen the entire body and prepare it for long rides.
    • If you really want to work on cycling-specific areas like the quads, try squatting with one foot out in front of you (or do this while standing so that gravity is helping you). This will prepare you for situations where you have to stand up on the pedals for a longer period.
  13. Ride within your limits

  14. It’s important to enjoy yourself when you’re cycling, and the best way to do that is to ride at a pace that suits your particular skill level. If you feel you aren’t ready for a big hill or long distance, don’t push yourself too hard; instead, focus on your own progress and set personal goals that fit with what you want to achieve as a rider.

    It’s important to enjoy yourself when you’re cycling, and the best way to do that is to ride at a pace that suits your particular skill level. If you feel you aren’t ready for a big hill or long distance, don’t push yourself too hard; instead, focus on your own progress and set personal goals that fit with what you want to achieve as a rider. Don't let others determine your limits. When beginning a new sport or activity, it can be easy to get discouraged if you see someone else cycling faster or farther than you are or think you should be able to do the same things they can. However, it’s important not to compare yourself against others as starting out in any area takes time and there will always be people who are better at something than we are.

  15. Get to know your gears

  16. If you're new to cycling, it's not uncommon to have some questions about the equipment you see on the road. Perhaps you didn't know that there are different kinds of gears, or that one type is called a cassette, or maybe you're unsure how they all work together. That's OK! We'll walk through everything in this section.

    Gears are used for changing the resistance of pedaling. There are several different types of gears: rear derailleur, hub gears, and freewheel (cogs). You can also use multiple chainrings in addition to a freewheel. The main difference between them is how much effort it takes to slow down when pedaling and how much speed they give when moving at a steady pace (the latter is called cadence). Cadence changes depending on what gear you're using and what pedals your bicycle has; it's different for every rider and bike.

    Cassettes attach front and back wheels by means of a sprocket on each wheel that connects to two sprockets on either side of your crank arms (the things attached to your pedals). A sprocket connects your rear wheel with one of the two sprockets [picture]. How fast something moves depends on how many teeth (teeth) are on that sprocket, it'll be less than if there were more teeth (less resistance); likewise if there were fewer teeth, it'll move faster than if there were more teeth. Most bikes have 24-, 26-, or 28-toothed regular cogs in their cassettes; these cogs hold smaller amounts of gear inches; e.g., 32-tooth cog equals an inch per rotation while 16-tooth spur means 1/8" per rotation.

  17. Wear proper clothing

  18. One of the best ways that you can protect yourself as a beginner cyclist is by wearing the proper clothing. This means protecting your hands, feet, legs, and most importantly your head.

    You should have a good pair of cycling gloves to protect your hands from blisters, as well as offer cushioning in case you fall. The gloves should be made of breathable materials so they don't get too hot while you're riding.

    Your shoes should also be breathable and comfortable while providing support for your feet and ankles during all types of weather conditions.

    Padded shorts can help prevent saddle sores if you are going on longer rides, but even a thin layer between your skin and bike seat can make a huge difference when it comes to feeling more comfortable on your ride.

    And finally, there is nothing more important than having a good helmet to protect yourself from injury in the event you crash or fall off your bike. If possible, get one with reflective strips if you are going to ride at night or early morning hours when it's still dark outside because this will help drivers see you better at all times.

  19. Keep up with regular maintenance of your bike and equipment

  20. It is important to keep up with regular maintenance of your bike and equipment. You should replace worn out parts, replace air in tires, and keep your bike clean to avoid rust and corrosion. Regular maintenance will help you avoid breakdowns, as well as injuries from faulty equipment.

    • Regularly check the condition of your brakes (rim brake pads and discs).
    • Check that the chain is clean and lubricated. Make sure that all bolts are tightened correctly.
    • Keep the drivetrain clean by cleaning it regularly with a degreaser product. The drivetrain includes the chain, crankset (chainrings), cassette, derailleurs, front shifter pod and rear shifter pod cogs (gears).
    • Make sure your tires are inflated correctly, check if they look flat or low and make sure they are not punctured or damaged.
    • You should also regularly check the condition of your helmet, replace anything that is damaged or worn out; replace any cracks or damage on the helmet shell; regularly wash padding inserts and replace them if they get too dirty; make sure straps are tight enough for a secure fit but still comfortable; store it in a cool dry place away from unnecessary UV exposure/sunlight (which can degrade materials over time); Never store it in hot places like cars during summer seasons.
  21. Get a helmet with a good fit

  22. Head injuries are the No. 3 cause of severe bicycle accidents, and about 1 out of every 10 cyclists who experience a head injury ends up in a long-term care facility. But many people don't realize that helmets can prevent head injuries, so let's see how they work.

    A helmet should fit snugly on your head. If it doesn't, the helmet won't do its job properly. Test different helmets to find one that fits correctly. A helmet should be level and cover the top of your forehead. No matter what kind of bike you have, a level helmet protects you from falling over backwards, but it also prevents you from falling forward into traffic or another bike rider if you lose control at speed because your head moves to the side due to wind resistance acting on your body when you're pedaling backwards.

    A helmet should have a chin strap. It should also be securely fastened around your neck with buckles (or straps) under your chin and in front of your ears before each ride to keep it firmly in place while you're riding in case someone tries to take it off while you're not looking.

    A helmet should not be able to move on your head because if it does, this indicates that there is something wrong with the fit and that may affect how well the other components work together, which could cause serious injury if they are put into use while they are defective or worn improperly by someone else who doesn't know how they ought to fit their equipment or isn't used to wearing them safely or effectively (like those aforementioned thieves who steal bikes).

  23. Keep an eye out for debris in the road, such as glass and gravel

  24. Watch out for debris in the road. Glass and gravel can cause a puncture, so steer around it when you can.

  25. Check the weather conditions before you head out for a ride

  26. Be sure to check the what the weather is going to be like before you go riding. Different weather conditions will require different types of clothing to be worn.

  27. Stay visible to other road users, especially at night or during low-light conditions

  28. As you’ll be using the road with other vehicles, it is important that you remain visible to drivers. In good weather and daylight hours this can be done by wearing bright clothing and riding in a position where you can see and be seen by traffic. At night or during low-light conditions, your bike must have lights at the front (white) and rear (red) as well as reflectors on the pedals, wheels and rear of your bicycle. Without lights it is very difficult for drivers to see you from a distance; especially if they are approaching from behind up a hill or around a bend. You should also wear clothing with reflective strips if riding at night or in bad weather.

    Conduct regular checks of your bike before setting off on longer journeys to ensure it remains in good condition throughout your ride. This includes ensuring your brakes are working properly, tires are fully inflated, seat height is correct for comfort, gears are working correctly etc. If there are any problems with your bike these should be addressed before setting out as all of these issues can cause injury to yourself or another person if not corrected prior to use.

  29. Increase your strength and endurance gradually to prevent injuries and muscle fatigue from excessive exertion as a beginner cyclist

    • Be patient and ease into your training.
    • Listen to your body, and rest when you feel drained or fatigued.
    • Respect muscle soreness, which usually kicks in on the day after a hard workout.

    If you are experiencing excessive fatigue and don't seem to be recovering from it with proper rest, then you may be overtraining. Chronic overtraining can lead to burnout, moodiness, irritability, lack of motivation and decreased performance. You will want to decrease the mileage or intensity of your workout routine until you feel rested again. After a few days of recovery rides at an easy pace, get back on the road for some serious riding as soon as possible without exceeding your body's endurance threshold.

  30. Try not to use headphones

  31. While you are always the best judge of your own safety, listening to music or audio books while cycling can provide a nice distraction. If you do turn on tunes, be careful:

    • Use earbuds instead of headphones. You may not be able to hear cars, cyclists and pedestrians as well when using headphones. One good tip I would give about earphones is to only wear one out of the pair. This way one of your ears will be free to hear everything around you.
    • Keep the volume low so that you can easily hear traffic around you.
    • If you do use headphones, make sure they are open-air so that you can hear ambient noise better than if they were closed and also make sure that there is no obstruction between the headphone and your ear (i.e., hair).
  32. Know the rules of the road

  33. Cyclists have a reputation for being rule-following, and this is true. All drivers should check the rules of the road for cyclists, and follow them when it's safe to do so. Some states require cyclists to ride on the right side of the road, some allow them to ride either way, but most require that both sides be reserved for travel and passing by traffic, including side-by-side passing (aka "lane sharing"). This can be helpful if you're riding in a busy area where cars are driving often, or if you just want to build your confidence as a cyclist.

    Given that many roads do not have dedicated bike lanes or paths built for cyclists at all (or ONLY for bikes), it's also good to know which lanes and paths are available, and then, when you're riding through an area with these features available, whether they should be used. In large cities with high traffic counts, such as New York City or Los Angeles, there are areas that are designated exclusively for bicycles and bikers, while there may also be areas where other forms of transportation may be allowed like walking or loading/unloading goods. Checking signs before entering these areas can save time trying to figure out whether you're allowed in or not.

    This section was written by me personally, it was inspired by many discussions I've had with people who were new to cycling in my city after moving here from another state. Many newcomers were confused about what their options were on major roads; their confusion might've been easily solved had they been aware of these basic rules at least. There are lots of great resources online about cycling laws for your state; this is just one example of how important it is to know the basics before getting behind a bike seat.

  34. Check tire pressure before and after each ride

  35. While riding your bike, you may notice that it seems to have a mind of its own at times and is difficult to handle. Problems with the bike's air pressure can cause the tires to become squishy and make your ride more difficult than it should be.

    That's why checking tire pressure before and after each ride is important. You'll want to check the pressure in both of your tires, because an underinflated rear tire will affect handling as well as speed. A good starting point is 80psi 130psi for your tires (though this will depend on your riding style and bike in general).

    To check your tire pressure, start by picking up a bicycle-specific air gauge or using one at a local bike shop or gas station (these are called Schrader valves). These are different than the valves in car tires, which use a different air system that causes damage to bicycles. Most bicycle gauges will show a red or orange area if they're overinflated, and green if they're properly inflated. You'll also see yellow or blue areas if they're underinflated.

  36. Always stay hydrated

  37. Staying hydrated while cycling is important. While cycling, there are many things to think about, and drinking water is often overlooked. This can lead to dehydration, which in turn can cause cramping and nausea. In more extreme cases it can cause you to pass out or even die. Don't let that happen! Simply put: drink before you feel thirsty.

    If you're going on a longer ride (more than one hour) bring water with you in a bottle or hydration pack so that you don't have to stop at a store or your house every time you're thirsty. It's also important not to chug all of your water at once; if you drink too much too quickly, the excess water will just make its way back up again as vomit. Remember: sip slowly.

  38. Be kind to other users of the road or trail you will be on

    • Be kind to other users of the road or trail you will be on.
    • Yield to pedestrians and be careful around horses, since they can get easily spooked.
    • Don’t ride in the middle of the lane when sharing roads with cars; move to one side or the other to show that you’re aware of your surroundings.
    • Never shout at another user (even if they deserve it). Instead, smile and wave and thank drivers who wait for you or give way as required.

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Conclusion

This article should be helpful to those who are not quite comfortable on the bike yet or their other bicycles. These beginner cyclist tips will allow you or any beginner to beef up their cycling skills, while enjoying their new found hobby. Remember, as a cyclist you must also be aware of your surroundings and anything that can cause an accident or fall. Don't forget to focus on the things that will help you cycle for maximum performance.

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