Millions of Americans, myself included, ride bikes. And that number is growing all the time. If you’re thinking of joining the growing number of people joining the cycling movement, here are some tips for beginner cyclists, taken from a great post I read on the site active.com:
Protect your skull
Every year, head injuries are responsible for nearly 60% of cycling deaths in the US, and many of these could be avoided by wearing a helmet. Many states have bike helmet laws, but law or no law, you should always wear one. And if you’re cycling with your kids, make sure they do too.
Use your gears
When climbing hills, shift into a gear that will keep your cadence in the right range of rpm’s, so that you can make it without putting undue stress on your knees.
…and avoid pedaling in high gear for too long
A good rule of thumb is to try and keep your cadence between 70 and 90 rpm’s. When you pedal in a high gear, then it puts added strain on your knees.
Get the right saddle
The right saddle makes a huge difference when you’re riding. The thickest padding won’t necessarily give you the most comfortable ride. Generally the best type of saddle is a longer seat with a cutout.
Change position while riding
If you keep your hands, arms, or rear in the same position for too long, then they risk getting numb. To avoid this, make sure you mix things up. Move your hands around on the bars, and move your rear end around on the saddle.
Don’t ride with your headphones on
A lot of people enjoy listening to music or podcasts while they’re working out. But that’s not something you want to do when you’re riding a bike. If you can’t hear an emergency vehicle or other commotions behind you or off to the side because your music is playing too loud, then that can be extremely dangerous. If you do want music, try for a small clip-on radio with a speaker that you can attach to your jersey.
Know the rules
Ride with traffic and obey all road signs. They’re meant for bikes just as much as cars! Keep a close eye on all cars in front of you so that you can try and anticipate what they’re going to do.
Keep your head up
Keep your helmeted head up in front far enough so that you’ll be able to react to any obstacles in the road, or on the shoulder in front of you. You want to be aware of what’s coming ahead; something like a storm drain grate is very bad for skinny road bike tires.