Being the most favored mode of transportation across the globe, cycling is not only cost-effective but also easy to master, offering a variety of styles to suit your preference. Cycling provides several advantages such as enhancing cardiovascular health, decreasing air pollution, and promoting better mental health. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the guidance you need to get started with cycling!
Bicycles are one of the oldest forms of human transport – Baron Karl von Drais invented them in 1817. Nowadays, there’s no shortage of new-fangled bikes for sale on every high street – it can be complicated knowing where to start when looking at all those options available! But don’t worry; this blog post will help make your decision easier! Read on to learn everything you need to know about riding a bike!
Choosing a Bike for You
Before we discuss how to ride a bike, let’s first address the choice of a bike. There are many different types of bikes on the market, from those with one speed to those with 21 speeds. But don’t worry! Just like cars, bikes are fitted with gears to help you go faster when riding uphill and slower when riding downhill. If this is your first time buying a bike, don’t worry about getting one with lots of speeds; beginner’s bikes usually come in one speed, which is heavy but good for learning.
Related read: 8 Best Fixed Gear Bikes – 2021 Reviews
Here are some other things to consider when buying a bike:
- Do you prefer bikes with colorful paint or plain aluminum?
- Does the bike need to fold up for storage? This is helpful if you live in an apartment block.
- How high do the handlebars need to be?
- How tall are you (measure your height against a wall, then use the information below to help you choose a bike that suits your height)!
Use this information below to help you choose a bike that suits your needs:
How tall are you?
Most bikes come in either ‘small’ or ‘large’ sizes. The most common length of leg for adults is 86cm, followed by 92cm. These measurements should be taken from the ground up to the crotch (no pants on, I hope!) and then divided in half. For example:
- 92cm/2 = 46cm; round down to the nearest 5cm for a ‘large’ bike or round-up for a ‘small’ bike.
- 86cm/2 = 43cm; round down for a ‘large’ bike or up for a ‘small’ bike.
Kids bikes are sized much differently; see the info below (kids aged 12 and under):
- If your child is 118 to 135 cm tall, they can ride a 120-sized bike
- If your child is 133 to 145 cm tall, they can ride a 130-sized bike
- If your child is 148 to 157 cm tall, they can ride a 140-sized bike
- Kids aged between 5 and 7 years old should be on bikes with 20″ wheels.
Testing the fitting of the bike (crucial!)
Make sure the bike fits you properly! If you buy a bike and find it doesn’t suit your needs, take it back to the store as soon as possible. It’s no good buying a bike that fits someone else or doesn’t fit you well enough!
To Test the Size of the Bike
- Sit on the bike and raise the leg that’s on the pedal up. If there is a gap between your crotch and where the bike seat (the part you sit on) meets, then your knees will hit the handlebars when pedaling – this is bad! You need to buy a bike with a longer seat post to adjust the height of the seat.
- Put the toe of your shoe on the pedal and push it all the way around, then do this with your other foot. You should be able to do this without having to lean too far forward or back. This is important for being able to stop quickly! Don’t buy a bike you can’t comfortably reach the pedals with.
- Sit on the bike and place your hands, one on top of the other, on the handlebars. There should be a few centimeters between them – don’t buy a bike that doesn’t allow for an inch or two of space! You need to fit comfortably; if you can’t, you’ll be putting yourself at risk of hurting yourself.
- Just like cars, bikes should make a noise when ridden! If your bike sounds weirdly quiet, you’ll find it hard to tell if anything is wrong with it. Make sure it’s not slipping gears or any other issues!
It’s good practice to buy a helmet along with your bike. This way, when you start riding, the helmet will already have been tried on for size, so it’ll be extra safe!
Read also: 5 Best Road Bikes of 2021 – Top Reviews
You can test if a helmet fits by doing these simple steps:
- Make sure the straps are loose enough that you can fit two fingers in between them and your chin. This means they’re the right length.
- Push up on the front of the helmet, and if it falls backward, you need a bigger size!
- Push down on the back of your helmet – if it slides forward or falls off, you’ll need a smaller size. This is super important – bicycle helmets only work when they sit securely on your head in the correct position, don’t buy a helmet if it keeps sliding around!
- Check the inside of the helmet for any visible cracks or damage – if there are any, don’t use it! Cracks can cause the protective material on the inside of the helmet to crack and become useless.
For added protection: Best Cycling Gloves – 2021 Reviews
Remember: Bike helmets are not one-size-fits-all; they need to be comfortable and secure. Like shoes, helmets are made in different branded sizes for each head shape – the label on the helmet label should tell you what size it is if it’s not printed clearly. If you can’t find out, then take it back!
If you feel your helmet is too tight, you can buy thicker padding to replace the original. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try a new helmet because it will probably be a bad fit.
Now that you’ve picked out a bike and bought all the necessary safety equipment, now it’s time to learn how to ride!
- If you’re learning to ride at home, the first thing you need is space. You’ll need enough room to move around comfortably and take your feet off the ground without anything getting in the way. Don’t try riding on a road until you’re confident!
- Practice makes perfect, so never give up if you fall over! It’s important to remember that everyone falls off a bike at least once before learning how to ride, so don’t stress if it happens to you.
- When starting, keep your feet on the pedals and stand with one foot close to the front wheel and the other near the rear wheel. This is the easiest way to ride a bike and will help you if you need to stop or slow down.
- Standing with your feet on the pedals, gently push yourself forward by pedaling, then take your foot in front of the ground and put it behind you. Repeat this process until you are comfortable riding around stationary – don’t go too fast! It would be best if you started by moving very slowly and gradually building up your speed.
- When you’re ready to stop, put your feet on the ground and lean back a bit – just like when you’re riding along. Don’t forget to slow down first!
- Once you’ve mastered standing still and riding forwards, it’s time to learn how to turn! It would help if you always leaned in the direction you wanted to go, making turning easier. Don’t forget to look behind before making any turns – this might sound obvious, but it’s easy to get distracted, and you could fall off if you don’t look first!
- To start, you should turn around in a small circle with both feet on the pedals. Turn as far as you can to one side and then move your other foot so it’s next to the wheel again before turning back the other way. This will help you get used to leaning into turns!
- Once you’re confident moving around in circles, try turning as far as you can to one side and slowly bringing your other foot up with the wheel. Do this repeatedly until it feels comfortable, and then try doing it on pavement or grass, but never on the road!
- After that, practice turning without putting your feet down by balancing on one foot. If you lose balance, put it back down and try again!
- Finally, to stop turning, straighten your back up and take both feet off the pedals simultaneously. Stay balanced, so you don’t fall over or skid on your face!
If you want to practice stopping without falling over, pretend you’re braking and move your feet to either side of the wheel with your back straight and shoulders square.
Make every bicycle ride comfortable: Best Cycling Shoes 2021 – Top Reviews
After reading this guide, you should now be able to ride a bike with confidence. Remember – bicycles are the most popular form of transportation globally, and they’re easy to learn! All it takes is some practice, patience, and safety gear. The tips we’ve provided will help get you started on your journey of becoming an expert biker, so don’t give up if you fall off or can’t figure something out right away. Good luck!