While cycling has been a traditional hobby for ages, it could still be tricky, especially for beginners. A single riding mistake can cause problems on the road, including a potentially fatal accident. This is why professional and casual cyclists do numerous pre-ride rituals to prepare themselves and their bicycles for a long ride.
If you're a beginner in cycling, it's best to take note of this essential riding advice. Whether you're riding to train professionally, lose weight, or even for your daily commute, these simple yet fool-proof cycling tips will ensure a safe and convenient riding experience.
1. Check your tire pressure
Remember to check your tire before riding. Low pressure increases friction between your tire and the road. Thus, requiring you to use more energy when pedaling. On the other hand, high tire pressure decreases grip and increases high-frequency vibrations, which may affect your bike control leading to accidents.
Fortunately, all tires are engraved with the correct pressure you need. But if you've been using your bicycle for quite some time now, it's best to pack a mini travel pump. Note that standard bicycle tires last at least 2,500 miles. Exceeding this makes your tire more susceptible to deflation.
2. Get the right bike lights
Next to your helmet, bike lights are the best safety cycling accessories. According to recent research, more than 40% of cycling-related accidents on the road are related to a lack of visibility. This can easily be resolved with a good pair of bike lights.
Because of this overwhelming number of accidents worldwide, most countries and major cities require both front and rear lights for cyclists. For front lights, it's best to get one with at least 600 lumens of brightness, while you should go with at least 100 lumens for the rear light.
3. Dress appropriately
As the old saying in cycling goes–there's no bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Your cycling methods are significantly affected by your comfort level. Not being able to cool down or warm up depending on the road may cause extreme fatigue and hyperventilation, leading to road accidents.
If you're cycling in wintertime, make sure to wear a base layer (preferably thermal), a jacket, a hat, and gloves. If you're cycling during summertime, a lightweight short-sleeve jersey with mesh panels for ventilation is a perfect choice.
4. Use GPS trackers
Most bicycle GPS trackers are linked with smartwatches worn by the rider, making bikes susceptible to theft. In 2022, over 2 million bikes were stolen worldwide. That's almost $350 million worth of bikes.
Older cyclists would say that your cycling journey won't be complete if you don't get your bicycle stolen at least once. This is no longer true, as there are already lots of GPS trackers in the market that could be attached to your bicycle.
For beginners, it's best to have a GPS tracking device that can be connected to your smartphone. This way, you can have anti-theft alerts and GPS tracking data in the most convenient way possible.
5. Communicate with other road users
One of the most common driving and riding mishaps among all road users is the lack of communication. For cyclists, this is especially important as you have minimal road visibility. Be sure to learn all the cycling road signals before hitting the road, especially if you're riding in the city.
It's also best to have a smart brake light. These kinds of brake lights automatically go off as you slow down, notifying other motorists of your movement and effectively avoiding road crashes. If bigger automobiles need brake lights, so are you.
6. Be street-wise
Learn the traffic rules. Just because you're not riding an automobile means you're exempted from road regulations. Learn when to yield, what to do when turning, and how to correctly position yourself on the road. In some instances, you can also practice being assertive, especially when avoiding gutters which could be dangerous for your ride.
7. Ride in a group
Last but not least, it's best to go with a group on your first cycling ride. Riding in a group will allow you to learn various cycling tips and tricks firsthand, making your first riding experience fun and worry-free.
And to make it all the more interesting, you can use bike lights with a group synchronization feature. You can connect your lights to get the same light setup and flashing pattern. This is both fun and functional, increasing your group's visibility by 78%.
To sum up
Cycling is one of the best hobbies you could start learning this 2023. It has health, economic, and environmental benefits–not to mention it's really enjoyable. However, just like in activity, you must develop essential cycling skills before hitting the big roads. This way, you can avoid any accidents and ensure hassle-free rides.