So maybe you’re looking to get out and explore this summer. Or maybe you’re looking for a good, low-impact way to stay fit. Well, biking is one of the best ways to do that. Biking can get you out onto the road, into the great wide open, and through rough terrain without putting too much stress on your joints. It also offers a great way to burn fat and tone muscles. But there are a few basics you should be aware of before you jump into biking this summer.
Choose The Right Bike
There are a few different types of bike to choose from, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. If you intend to do a lot of long-distance riding, you may want to invest in a touring bike. For street riding or competition training, a road bike is usually the best choice. If the off-road trails are what you’re looking to explore, go with a mountain bike. Decide which type of biking you’ll be doing, and choose your bike accordingly. For more help finding the right one for you, check out our blog article on choosing the right bike.
Get The Right Biking Equipment
Especially when you’re just starting out, you’ll want to invest in protective equipment in case you fall a few times. However, protective equipment is still important even for expert riders, because accidents happen, and sometimes the only way to get out of a dangerous situation on the road or in the trail is to take a tumble. Investing in a good bike helmet is the first key. When you pick one out, make sure it fits properly. Elbow pads and knee pads are also a good idea.
You may also want to invest in a bike lock to protect your wheels. This will give you peace of mind when you stop for a break along the road or at a rest stop on a busy trail.
Other helpful equipment and aids include bike mirrors, lights, and reflectors.
Learn The Biking Basics
If you’re going to be heading out on the street, on biking trips, or out into the woods, you’ll need to know the basics of bike riding and repair.
Bike Riding Basics
There are lots of different biking techniques for the different types of biking, but here are a few general pointers.
When braking, avoid using the front brake by itself, especially when going downhill. This will prevent you from doing an endo, which is a dangerous situation where the rear wheel lifts off the ground. An endo can sometimes throw you over your handlebars, resulting in a nasty fall.
Use very slight turns of the handlebars when you’re riding at high speeds or going downhill. Turning too sharply can cause you to lose balance and crash.
Another tip for riding downhill is to lean back a bit. This will put more weight on your rear wheel and give you better control with your breaks.
Conversely, it’s best to lean forward when travelling uphill. This will keep more weight on your front wheel, giving you better steering control.
Also, don’t let up on your pedaling as you ride uphill, it will only make it harder if you start pedaling slower.
Shift into low gear when you climb hills. It will save you a lot of work. Pedal hard and steady.
If you ride on the street, use hand signals before you start to turn. This will let drivers and other riders know what you’re doing so they can adjust accordingly and avoid a collision. Using your left arm, extend it straight out from your body to signal a left turn. Bend your elbow upward at a 90-degree angle to signal a right turn (your hand should be pointing up toward the sky). Keep your arm bent at a 90-degree angle and point your hand down to signal that you’re braking.
Bike Repair Basics
If you’re going to be riding on the road, street, or trail, you should have a basic knowledge of how your bike works and how to fix some of the usual problems that come up while you ride. This will require you to read your bike’s entire owner’s manual to understand how it’s put together. You should also learn how to tune up your bike and replace a tire inner tube. For more information on both of these handy skills, check out our blog articles on bike tire tube repair and DIY bike tune-ups.