Is Biking A Good Fit For You? Cycling Tips For Beginners

For people that commute to work or travel to school on two wheels, the benefits of riding a bicycle are huge. Moreover, with the increased cycling infrastructure, bike trails and parking spaces, in the cities, bicycling has become so easy: only a matter of choice. Although it may be a little bit dependable on the good weather, with the right equipment and lightweight waterproof clothes even that won’t be an issue.

Why bring bicycling into your life?

It’s the most convenient, eco-friendly, accurate and easy way to travel to work. Riding a bicycle on a regular basis it will save you a lot of your precious time and money bringing you an unreplaceable satisfaction on the way, a good night sleep, and better look.

You’ll simply know the exact time needed to the desired destination, which isn’t really a case when traveling by bus because of the possible changes in the schedules or other unpredictable reasons that may cause a delay.

You’ll have an exercise without even trying and won’t get nervous like when sitting in the car waiting in lines on the road or standing on the bus that can be a bit boring. When you ride a bike you are concentrating on the ride, the fresh air, the trail and don’t feel like waiting.

Less of the electronics use, like phones is another good thing when cycling. Finally, even though we are breathing the same air in the cities, still cyclist get less affected by the pollution.

Deciding on your cycling gear and the right bicycle for you as a beginner can be much harder than for the experienced cyclist. They simply know which is their dream type of bike. If you are a beginner and you have just decided on for a small change in your life: to include this eco-friendly and fun mean of transport into your everyday lifestyle, you may be wondering

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Which bike is for you?

You don’t know much about bikes and yet you wanna feel comfortable and confident when riding one. As a beginner, you certainly won’t need the speedy ones or for professional, long rides. Depending on your experience, where would you like to ride it, and how often there are different types to choose from. In any case, it’s good to know a few common things about bikes before you start.

There is a sea of different types of bicycles to choose from, but for the purpose of an occasional recreational ride in the park, for a ride to a workplace on an everyday basis, on paved paths or gravel, or rides around the city you can narrow down the list. The right bike should meet your needs and budget. Here are some suggestions for an easy friendly ride around the neighborhood, in the cities or at the parks.  

HYBRID BICYCLES. The most popular and utilized type of bike, justified though, is the hybrid bicycle. For leisurely, practical and occasionally recreational rides in the parks or towns the first choice will be the hybrid one.  As the name implies, it’s a mix or combination of the two other types, the road bicycle (which has thinner tires with less tread used for longer speed rides on the road ), and the mountain type (that is intended for cycling in mountains and rough trails, on rain or wetland). 

Hybrid bicycle tires are something in the middle. Made of aluminum,  hybrid bicycles frames are light, with large wheels and flat handlebars. In general, when handlebars are higher they provide greater comfort while the lower position is better for performance. You’ll have an upright position of the body because of the seat and they have fenders for your bag, as well as a guard chain. Even if they don’t have a guard chain you can protect your clothes by using a leg band. Hybrid bicycles come with mounts for racks and mudguards. Also at the front, a very useful and nice looking basket can be attached, for groceries, afternoon picnic in the park or even for carrying small pets.

These bikes are popularly used as a commuter ( a person who travels some distance to work on a regular basis) bikes.

TANDEM BICYCLES. I can’t think of a more cheerful sight than the tandem bicycles in the park or on the streets. Tandem bikes are great fun but riding them is different than single ones. The one sitting in front should lead, called the captain while the one behind is the stocker. For a good tandem ride, it takes a little practice. So, for those interested in enjoying this kind of a friendly ride probably the best thing for the first ride will be to rent one. It’s somewhat of a mutual ride, quite different than riding single bikes together. The ride itself depends on both and for achieving better-synchronized ride the focus should be more on each other. However, it’s really great to be a captain, but I’m not so sure about the stocker since you’ll have that back in front of you which isn’t a nice view I suppose.

CRUISER BICYCLES are simply great and so comfy, but not for longer rides. They are superb for the beach or for a few errands to do near the neighborhood and lots of people use them for shopping. Consider them for flat roads not hills. Their seat is very comfortable and the handlebars are very close to the rider. The control of the brakes is with the feet not hands. 

ELECTRIC BICYCLES. If you wanna ride for a while, not getting tired or sweaty e-bikes are great for that. Electric bicycles have a motor for which you won’t need any licenses, a battery, and controller located on the handlebar. You simply won’t get that tired as you may on a regular bike. Hills don’t seem to be so terrifying because you’ll get that extra help of the motor and the pedal-assist placed on the handlebars. They will save your energy while reaching a longer destination, are more stable and easier to ride.

Different states have different limits on the motor power, which can range up to 1000 W. Except, the motors can be very small not even noticeable. When the battery is done, on some bicycles the motor is turned off and reversed into a generator. So, while pedaling you’ll be charging the battery. You won’t have to care if the battery goes off because you still be able to ride it and at the same time charging the battery, which is quite convenient.

FOLDING BICYCLES. One of the best inventions in the bike industry is the folding bicycle. The clue is in the name meaning that they are so practical that can be folded. Of course, the ones that are lightweight, made of titanium or carbon, with small wheels and can be easily folded up are the ones to consider when buying. They can be electric as well. Besides their unique design, for which I admire them the most, they can be easily carried in the hand. You can bring them on the trains with you and are very useful for people living in small apartments because they won’t occupy much of the living space. Since they are truly space-savvy, lightweight and easy to carry, you can store them under your office desk or bring them on your vacations, especially when camping or traveling with trailers you’ll find them very useful.

Few tips for a safe ride in the traffic

When you are riding a bike in the cities stick to the bike lanes (a marked lane on the roads assigned for bicyclists). Keep in mind that in some intersection the lane changes from solid to dotted which means that other vehicles are allowed to enter the lane to make a turn. When turning or changing directions you can leave the lane but be sure to give a proper signal to other participants in the traffic. Since bikes don’t have brake lights, it’s a good practice to let others know when you are turning or stopping by giving a signal with your hand before you turn ( extending it to the right or left and holding for a few seconds). When changing lanes look behind you and assure there is no traffic before you make a safe turn.

If you feel insecure you can always get off the bike and turn to a pedestrian on the sidewalk. Keep a safe distance from parked cars as to avoid bumping in the car door when suddenly opens. When you ride on the path trails in nature where other people, joggers, and dogs are sharing the trail consider not occupying the full width of the trail, to slow down and always pass the people on the left by signalizing with the bell.

What should you check to know if your bike is in good shape?

Check the tires air. If they don’t feel hard to the touch they should be pumped up. Every tire has a written number on it that should match the air pressure shown on the bicycle pump when pumping the tire. If the tire is damaged you’ll need a new one. Next, check the brakes and the chain by turning the pedals backward. While the bike seat can be adjusted bike frames are fixed, so make sure you find appropriate bike size frame that’s good for your height.

What to wear?

You’ll feel comfortable enough wearing your everyday clothes or a casual outfit. A good cycling experience doesn’t require cycling clothes or gear.  Though you’ll be easier seen and noticed in the traffic if wearing brightly colored clothes. Bike helmets are safe and useful but should be in the right size. Bring a heavy chain lock to secure your bike when parking. Also, it’s good to have a bicycle pump with you. Carrying water is always useful and some food preferable.

It’s quite dangerous and illegal to ride a bicycle under drugs or when drinking alcohol.