A few years ago I took up cycling or what I thought to be cycling. My neighbor had given me an early 80s road bike, a little heavy with its fair share of wear but the wheels spun.
For the next 6 months I rode to and from work just about every day. No helmet, regular shorts, listening to my ipod while weaving in and out of traffic.
Heck, that’s how we did it when I was kid.
That however, is not the way to start off.
If you’re considering riding a bike to work for the summer or on the weekends, take a free beginners riding course at just about any local bike shop. They’ll explain to you exactly why not to do all of the things I was along with a number of other tips to keep you safe.
Kailee Halbuna from Open Road took some time to share a couple of things beginners should learn before rolling out.
Always check your bike thoroughly for safety before beginning a ride. Start at the front and work your way back.
1. Tire pressure okay?
Check both the front and back tires for the right amount of air.
2. Wheels straight and spokes tight?
Spin both wheels making sure they don’t wobble.
3. Wheels on tight?
Be sure that the axle nuts or ‘quick release’ mechanisms are tight and holding both the front and rear wheel on securely.
4. Brakes tight?
The brake levers should move in at least 1/2 an inch before engaging fully. This allows for more controlled breaking.
5. Brakes pads aligned?
The pads should be in line with the rim (not at an angle), and should not be either hanging off the rim, or rubbing against the tire.
6. Handlebars tight?
Make sure they are secure and do not spin independent of the wheel.
7. Seat secure?
Make sure the seat can’t twist from side to side or drop down.
8. Clean and lubricated chain?
The chain should have enough lubricant to allow free movement and prevent rust, but should not be overly lubricated.
If you’re riding in a group for the first time knowing these few signals ahead of time will help.
Always try to make eye contact with a driver when possible to ensure they know where you are.
Now this is technically not a right turn signal but being seen, understood and alive is more important than been technically correct, unnoticed and run over.
If a rider in front of you is doing this they are going to be slowing down or coming to a stop.
Pot holes, bottles, sticks, you never know what’s going to be in the road. Keep an eye out and let other riders around you know by pointing it out if you are near the front of the pack.
These are just a few of the basics, the best thing is to just get out there and get some experience. You can find a bunch local free group rides at any of the sites below.