We need to “move it” every day. Make movement a joyful experience by engaging in an activity that you actually enjoy! Try something new or embrace an old favorite. I asked Denise Nelson to share a few pro tips for one of my old favorites- biking. Give it a go!
Guest post by Denise Nelson
When I was first getting started in cycling, I didn’t understand or know much about cycling or my bike. There was a lot of information I could’ve learned at the time that would have saved me a lot of time and money. I didn’t take advantage of learning as a beginner, rather I just got on my bike and thought it would all work out.
In fact, I think I was riding in the wrong gear for about a month before I noticed that the bike I was using was the wrong type of bike, and I wasn’t prepared to maintain my bike, so I didn’t. That bike did not last long.
- Learn Maintenance – This is important because if you don’t know how to do basic maintenance on your bike, your bike will not have a long life. There is routine daily maintenance, where you clean your bike off after you ride it, check for any damage to the tire and frame, and clean your chain.
Weekly maintenance includes all the above, as well as tightening any loose bolts, cleaning and lubing the chain, checking your brakes, lubing your bike frame, and checking your gear shift. Maintaining your bike will give it a longer life, give you an easier ride, and make you a better cyclist.
2. Change Position – Seriously, this is vital. Otherwise, you will never be comfortable when riding. For the first two to three months, I didn’t learn this. I sat down when I was riding my bike, uphill, downhill, to work, back from work, and never once did I stand, lean, shift my position or adjust how I sat.
I was completely uncomfortable. Adjust your position and change throughout your ride, or you will be stiff, uncomfortable, and you’ll want to stop riding. It’ll be no fun once you start aching while you ride.
3. Learn the Gears – You need to change gears for uphill, downhill, different terrains, and different resistance. It’s important to learn your gears to make your riding easier. I didn’t touch my gears until the second month of riding. Once I did figure out what they were for and why they were there, I felt angry at myself for not trying it sooner.
Shifting gears makes riding so much easier and more relaxed, so my advice is to learn your gears as soon as you can. It will be beneficial to you in the long run.
4. Wear a Helmet – Safety is important. If you fall, you may get some scrapes on your arm or knees, but if you fall and hit your head, you could be in danger. Wearing a helmet protects your head, and helmets are designed to ease impact and make sure your head is cared for. You may still end up with some bruising or scrapes, but you are less likely to be critically injured.
5. Don’t Block Your Sound – I used to ride with headphones in until I realized that I couldn’t hear anything when I did that. I couldn’t listen to the people, the cars, honking, and even ambulances and firetrucks were hard to hear.
Blocking your sound doesn’t just put you in everyone else’s way, but it also puts you in danger. If you don’t listen to what’s happening around you, then you can’t prevent an accident, listen to the people running around you, or risk have an accident happen to you.
6. Know the Bike You Need – I was riding my bike to and from work daily, and that’s all. I needed a simple road bike to get the job done, but I thought I needed the best.
You know what the best got me? A full-suspension carbon framed mountain bike with disc brakes- a super fantastic, super expensive bike that I didn’t take care of and used improperly. Now I have a road bike, and that mountain bike has been kindly donated to someone who I hope has better sense than me in caring for it.
7. Learn the Laws – Know bike laws and motor vehicle laws as well. Knowing the rules of the road will ensure your safety along with knowing how to ride your bike in the road alongside cars.
When I started, I didn’t know basic things like you should walk your bike across a crosswalk, and if there is no bike lane, you use the road like you were a car (in some states). Knowing how the law works for cyclists and motor vehicles will keep you safe.
Knowing these seven tips will ensure that you are a safer rider, will increase quicker in skills, and be better equipped with knowledge that will make your riding experience so much easier.
Denise Nelson is a profound lover of the cross country mountain bike and has worked as a trainer for 6 years. She is co-founder of a private biking lessons school and owns a small fitness store in NY.