We here at Chief Health have been in biking more than a couple of times (up and down all types of mountains and hills), and there’s nothing better than getting someone new on their bicycle.
This is the reason we compiled a list of some of our greatest beginner cycling tips. Let’s get you out the door and onward with your journey!
1. Weather Shouldn’t Always Stop You
Whether you’re an occasional cyclist or a daily commuter, a little wet weather shouldn’t scare you off your bike for the season.
Keep your ride streak going with these tips and hacks for biking in the rain, and turn a dreary forecast into a bearable commute.
Bonus: The bike lane will have much fewer people in it.
Inclement weather can be rough on your bike. Moisture can corrode components, causing them to rust or seize. But with some prep, it will be ready for the rainy season.
Use a heavier lube on your chain to keep moisture out (make sure to apply it when the chain is completely dry). If you want to take things even further, protect your cables by running full cable housing. You can do this yourself if you feel confident or have your local REI bike shop do it for you.
2. Fat Bikes For Crazy Trails
Not only have fat bikes opened up a whole new season to cycling, but they are also a great recreational training ground for your bike commute.
Give one a try.
You’ll find fat biking as a fun and exhilarating as mountain biking, but a little slower and a little less technical. Using a fat bike in the winter will allow you to glide over rocks and roots much easier than in the summer, spring, or fall seasons.
Added Bonus: The snow will dampen your falls. Seriously, it’s a blast.
3. What About Mountain Bikes?
Mountain bikes are generally used as many bike packing destinations are reached via forest-service roads or singletrack trails.
If you’re cruising through the city, a mountain bike probably isn’t your best choice because it will require more effort to really get moving than a street bike, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do/try it!
Mountain bikes specific to bike-packing use a slightly taller frame to get the maximum frame-bag capacity. This is achieved by using a longer headtube, a more horizontal top tube, and a reduced stem degree.
4. Choosing Your Helmet
Bicycle helmets are invaluable gear that anyone can use or wear when riding a bicycle, and should definitely be considered to prevent head injuries.
Helmets provide the necessary or much-needed protection and safety in case of a fall or crash while riding a bicycle. A bicycle helmet can help save lives, which is why it is very essential to wear them each time anyone decides to take a bicycle ride.
Experienced riders may shrug off helmets because they don’t believe they’ll fall off their bike, but it means a world of difference when they’re clipped by a moving vehicle when traveling in the bike lane (which is rare but can happen).
5. Improving Your Health & Muscles
Driving a bicycle not only conserves energy and reduces pollution, but it is also an excellent exercise that can help you to stay healthy.
Consider driving a bicycle when traveling short distances. Over 50% of all car trips in the U.S. are less than 5 miles, a distance easily covered in 20-30 minutes on a bicycle.
In urban areas, a bicycle can even travel at the same average speeds as automobiles and rarely have the same problems locating parking, thus saving time too. See the section on bicycle driving tips.
6. Take Advantage Of Bike Lanes Around Campuses & Cities
Bike lanes are there for a reason, and boy are they a wonderful feature just for cyclists. You can usually get through cities and around campus much faster than people in cars and fly by all campus attendees on foot.
In some areas of the city, your bike lane may disappear suddenly. Don’t worry about it too much. You do have the right away and can stay to the side of the road to avoid any fast travelers.
7. Get A Bike Permit If You Need One
Some cities will require you to register your bike with the city. The primary purpose of registering your bike is so you can prove it’s yours.
There’s nothing worse than when someone jacks your wheels and you have no way to prove it to the police.
Remember, not registering your bike may end in a small fine (usually less than $20).
8. Save The Tricks
You’ll see more experienced bikers doing really cool tricks that you may want to give a try, but don’t go all-in at once!
You find that some riders don’t hold their handlebars or are able to stand up on the pedals of the bike without holding on. This can be a risky maneuver when you’re first hitting the roads.
If you do want to perform these feats, be sure to start practicing gradually – only do the trick for a few seconds to begin to understand the control and handling that’s required. We’ve seen many people wipe out trying something new.
9. Ease Into Your Turns
You should absolutely avoid pumping into your turns in the city and on trails. Doing so in the city can end up with your face on the hood of someone’s car and taking a turn to quickly on a trail can result in your flying down a mountain (or large hill).
The faster you move, the greater tunnel vision you experience – this creates a lack of awareness of what’s going on around you. Use your brakes and be modest with your speed.
10. Get The Right Bike
There are more bikes available than you’d think, but the most common ones are road bikes, city bikes, touring bikes, cyclocross bikes, mountain bikes, and cruisers.
Cruisers, touring, city bikes, and road bikes are preferred for pavement and fast traversal throughout a city or suburban area.
Mountain bikes, dual-sport bikes, fat bikes, and cyclocross bikes can be used on a variety of surfaces, but they are preferred for mixed terrain or offroading.
We have created another article for you, so you can learn everything about the bike you’re thinking of getting.