If you’ve just started biking, it’s common to feel that your body is unnaturally hurdled forward during your first rides. This is normal for beginner cyclists as your torso is positioned relatively low to the ground, and you may seem that you’ll fall over any second.
Instead, stay calm and relaxed and practice riding in less crowded and low traffic areas. Soon, your brain will adapt to it and you’ll feel safe and comfortable while riding.
Adjust Your Riding Position
There are basically three riding positions. The most common one is neutral, in which your hands rest on top of the hoods and can reach the brakes and shifters. You can easily tell that your bike fits you properly, when you can turn your head and look around comfortably, and don’t feel much pressure on your hands even after riding for extended periods.
Stay Clear Of Road Troubles
Most beginner cyclists face troubles and even experience serious accidents while riding on busy streets and roads. So, below are some simple tips that will help beginner cyclists to descend on the road with confidence.
Potholes and Debris
Always keep your eyes on the road and don’t ride on surfaces with potholes, loose gravel or another kind of debris like broken glass. If you’ve no choice, but to ride on it, don’t hit the brakes, stand on the pedals and keep your arms and legs relaxed. Don’t pedal as the momentum will take you through it.
Riding in light showers is okay, but make yourself more visible to pedestrians and motorists by wearing bright clothes or using lights.
Cross rail tracks at a 90-degree angle. This will make you less likely to fall into them.
When sharing the same path with other cyclists, slow down and ring the bell or call out gently to warn them by saying, “On your right!” before changing on that side or lane.
Wet Leaves or Metal
If you ride on wet leaves or metals, for instance on manhole covers during rainy days, brake and slow down. When your wheels get in contact, don’t hit your brakes or pedal. Or else you risk sliding on the road.
Watch out for cars entering, exiting, making turns or changing lanes. If you notice a car is slowing down but there’s no signal, assume that it will make a turn. So wait and see before you proceed.
Speaking of vehicles, cyclists should steer clear of drafting. That is taking advantage of the reduced resistance that comes with travelling behind a large vehicle. This allows cyclists to pick up speed without much effort on their part. Recently, 3 cyclists were seen drafting behind a cargo truck along West Coast Highway.
However, as mentioned, cyclists on the road should be weary of vehicles as we do not always know a driver’s next move.
Most beginner cyclists out of intuition assume that turning the handlebar is required for steering through corners. Sure, at low speeds it is fine, but for the most part to make turns you’ll guide the bike by leaning the frame and shifting your body weight to your desired turning direction.
But to make good turns, you need to relax and loosen your joints. This will allow you to manoeuvre your bike with ease without pushing the brakes. Look ahead and around the bend, and don’t look straight when you’re making a turn.
Pedal Like a Pro
This is an important tip for beginner cyclists. Most professional cyclists stay “light” on the pedals which keep them to ready to tackle anything their competitors throw at them.
They can easily and quickly surge forward without shifting because the tension on the chain is low. These tactics can help you to become a better rider, even if you don’t have any plans to participate in races.
There is much more than sheer strength when it comes to climbing hills. Besides, strength, you also need to acquire the right skills and strategy if you want to make it at the top.
Below are some tips:
- Prepare: Before climbing, hydrate, and relax your body. Slow down if you want to. Don’t rush as it will make you feel worse while riding up.
- Downshift: Shift into a gear that will turn the pedals quickly without pushing too hard.
- Conserve Energy: Pushing the pedals requires plenty of effort, so focus on pulling up. Also breathe deeply and steady.
- Use All Muscles: When climbing use all your muscle groups by sitting and standing.
- Get Excited: As you reach the summit, pause, take a deep breath, look around and enjoy the scenery. Now award yourself with the descent. If you feel spent, get off the bike and rest.
- The Stance: When climbing a hill or slope, be seated. Keep your shoulders down and your back straight so that you can breathe deeply. Relax your arms, bend your elbows slightly, and rest your hands comfortably on the bar tops. To get extra power from the glutes, lower your upper torso towards the top tube. If you ride standing, position your derriere over the saddle. Make sure your weight is centered on the bottom bracket.
Good luck! 🙂