There are millions of Americans who ride bikes and those numbers are increasing all the time. With more and more riders on the trails and roads, these tips for beginner cyclists will help you ride better and safer.
1. Protect your head. Head injuries are the cause of 60 percent of all cycling deaths in the U. S. every year. Many of these deaths could be avoided if everyone wore a helmet while cycling. Always wear a helmet when riding and make sure your kids do as well. Many states have bike helmet laws, but you should always wear one even if you don't have too.
2. Don't pedal in high gear for extended periods of time. You want to try and keep your cadence between 70 and 90 rpm's. When you pedal in a high gear it puts added strain on you knees.
3. Use your gears. When climbing hills shift into a gear that will keep your cadence in the right range of rpm's so you can make it up the hill without putting undue stress on your knees.
4. Get a proper bike fit. Having your bike set up to fit your body will make riding much easier, more efficient and cause you much less pain and soreness during and after the ride.
5. Get the right saddle. Getting the right saddle will make a huge difference when riding. Don't think the thickest padding will give you the most comfortable ride. A longer seat with a cutout will generally be the best type of saddle. Read reviews online and find out what others like, then test ride a few.
6. Change position while riding. Move your hands around on the bars, and move your rear end around on the saddle. This will keep your hands, arms and rear from getting numb due to prolonged time in a given position.
7. Don't ride with headphones on. It can be extremely dangerous if you don't hear an emergency vehicle or other commotions behind you or off to the side. If you have to have music, get a small clip-on radio with a speaker that you can attach to your jersey.
8. Know the rules. Ride with traffic and obey all road signs. Closely watch all cars in front of you so you can try to anticipate what they are going to do.
9. Keep your head up. Look out in front far enough ahead so you can react to any obstacles in the road or on the shoulder in front of you. Things like storm drain grates are very bad for skinny road bike tires.
If you follow these tips you will have a better, safer and more enjoyable time on your bike.
Minneapolis Cycling Examiner Steven Pease lives in the suburbs of Minneapolis, one of the best cities in America if you enjoy cycling.
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