Knowing a few cycling tips for beginners can help you get the most from your bike. Whether you're cycling for enjoyment or plan to take up competitive cycling in the future, it's important to have a good understanding of the fundamentals of cycling. Read on to discover the five best cycling tips for beginners.
Proper cycling attire will keep you comfortable and safe during rides. It's especially important to wear the right kinds of clothing if you're going for long distance rides or cycling in hot or cold weather. Tight-fitting bike shorts will keep your legs from chafing, and many styles have a pad in the seat for extra comfort. In the winter, tights are essential for keeping legs warm. Hard-soled cycling shoes will help you get the most out of your workout, but if you wear tennis shoes, be sure to tuck the laces in. Padded gloves provide a great grip and help soften impact on bumpy surfaces.
A helmet could be considered clothing, but it's so important that it gets its own category. When it comes to helmets, the most important thing is the fit. Your helmet should never fit loosely, and you shouldn't use pads to make the helmet fit better, even if they come with the helmet. Invest a little extra money in a properly-fitting helmet, which should rest on top of the head. Good ventilation is key, so buy a helmet with several vents. Choosing a bright, reflective color will help you stay visible to drivers and other cyclists.
Among cyclists, "ABC" is an acronym to help with safety. "A" stands for air, "b" stands for brakes, and "c" stands for cranks, chain and cassette. Performing a check of these items before you ride will alert you to potential problems with your bike. Your tires should always be inflated to the pressure marked on the side of the tire. Your brakes should have at least a quarter inch of padding on them, and if there is less, they need to be replaced. Your chain shouldn't be loose or sagging, and it should catch smoothly on the cassette. Crank bolts should always be tight. If you are unsure about the parts of your bicycle, have someone at your local bike shop give you a quick lesson.
The rules of cycling are similar to the rules of driving on the highway. Unless you intend to pass a jogger or another cyclist, you should always ride as far to the right as possible. When you're about to pass someone, shout "On your left!" and pass on the left hand side. A bell or a horn will help ensure you are heard. If speed limits are posted on a trail, be sure to follow them.
If you're riding in the dark, it's imperative to use lights. Many states even have laws requiring cyclists to use lights at night. Select a white, high powered light for the front of your bicycle. Good models will allow you to see about fifty feet in front of you. You'll need a red light for the back of your cycle, which you can either affix to the bike, your shirt or your backpack. The best place to buy bike lights is a cycling specialty shop.