If you are new to cycling, there are a lot of rules that may overwhelm you at first. If you intend to do city or trail biking, you realize that you cannot just be a free-wheeling kid who doesn’t give a care about the world. Now, you must follow road rules and make sure you are aware of your surroundings. As much as the vehicle should be responsible for driving, you, as a biker, should also be accountable because you both are sharing roads.
Getting scared of cycling is understandable. For one, you must learn how to change your tire’s interior if you get a flat tire. You must learn how to repair on your crank and brake system on the fly. There are these considerations that you must think of, that’s why for many, they would instead drive or take public transportation instead of biking.
But this is the reality that many every day and recreational bikers have to face. If you choose to bike, you must know how to help yourself on the road. With driving a car, you are covered by insurance so you can call a repair shop in times of need. However, when using a bike, you must be responsible for your actions. There is no repair shop or insurance center to call when you get a flat tire.
But these technicalities should not scare you when you schedule a bicycle tour. As with anything in life, it is always tricky at first. But in time, with practice and experience, you will know how to use and take care of your bike. It will eventually become second nature to you, that you might even forget about the first time you freaked out changing your tire.
There are so many rules to remember as a first-time road or trail biker, but what are the essential tips every cyclist must remember? Here are some tips that can help you become a better cyclist:
1. Know how the brake and gears work
The first thing you must do is to learn how to control your break and gears. Often, road and trail cyclists use multi-gear bikes that go up to 12 speeds. In case you’re not aware, in most bikes, the configuration goes that the right brake is for the front wheel, and the left brake is for the back wheel. Imagine the horror of you going downhill and hitting on your right brake for your front wheel. It is an accident that should have been easily avoided if you gave some time to get acquainted with your brake. Although you can change the configuration with the left brake for the front wheel, and the right brake for the back wheel, it is still best to be comfortable with this traditional setup because almost all rental bikes are set up this way.
Gears are even more complicated compared to brakes, and there are gears for the front and back wheels. Practice maneuvering your brake and speeds in a controlled space, like an empty parking lot.
2. Use a helmet every time you bike
This advice goes to all bikers all over the world. It may not look cool for you to wear a helmet while you bike with your office or casual clothes, but for safety’s sake, go for health over fashion even for once. The protection this one piece of equipment can provide is phenomenal, and so many bikers’ lives have been saved because of the use of a helmet.
3. Have a CO2 inflator on hand
Remember that we’ve talked about beginners chickening out of biking because of the need to learn how to repair their bikes? Well, guess, what, the CO2 inflator is every beginner and advanced biker’s best friend! The CO2 inflator allows you to directly plug in this small device on your tire’s lock, and then presto, you get a brand-new tire again. Although this proves to be helpful and convenient, it can be costly. Also, it is best for you to know how to repair your tire even without this device. But for beginners and racers, this is good news for sure.
Biking is such a fun activity, and the hurdles at the beginning should not stop you from enjoying it. Keep on practicing, and you will never look back!