Entering into Bicycling


Welcome again to the saddle! By studying this, you’re already taking that first step in the direction of getting on a bicycle for enjoyable or fundamental transportation. That is superior, and fitnessinf is right here that will help you go for it.

So what has you fascinated by driving your bike? There are actually plenty of nice causes to mud off your bike (and even journey for the very first time). Our favorites embrace:

  • Getting some train.
  • Doing all your half to be extra “inexperienced.”
  • Avoiding the excessive price of gasoline.
  • Avoiding all these different car-related bills: parking, repairs, insurance coverage.
  • Getting some contemporary air.
  • Lowering your stress degree.
  • Seeing your environs at a slower tempo.

Sounds nice, you say, however let’s get actual for a minute. Most of us have discovered loads of causes NOT to go driving, so let’s tackle these fears one after the other.

12 Biking Myths, Uncovered!

Fable #1: Biking requires an excessive amount of gear.

Actuality: The fundamental requirements for biking are simply you, a motorcycle and a helmet. Whereas different gear is good to have, it might probably come later. Simply get on a motorcycle and go.

Fable #2: It is expensive to purchase a motorcycle and biking gear.

Actuality: Possibly, nevertheless it’s far cheaper than shopping for and working a automotive. Per a 2013 AAA examine, a automotive prices a median of $9,122 per yr to function (based mostly on 15,000 miles). Bikes, alternatively, do not want gasoline and are free to park. They’ve fewer elements and require less-expensive upkeep.

Fable #three: Solely costly bikes are any good.

Actuality: Whereas dear bikes will be “nicer” to journey, virtually any bike in good working situation can get you to the place you need to go. It might take you longer or not have gears for uphills, however you’ll get there.

Fable #Four: Biking takes an excessive amount of time.

Actuality: It normally requires additional planning and driving time, however, relying on the space and visitors, it’d truly take much less time to bike than it does to drive. Plus, you burn energy and may run errands whilst you journey.

Fable #5: Bicycling is just too harmful.

Actuality: Most cyclists journey for a few years with out mishap. Appearing like a driver, being predictable, sporting vivid clothes, being conscious of your environment, anticipating driver conduct, making eye contact with drivers, having palms prepared on brakes, anticipating automotive doorways opening, following visitors guidelines and claiming your lane will assist enhance your security. For particulars, see the fitnessinf Professional Recommendation article, Driving Your Bike in Site visitors.

Fable #6: Bike seats are uncomfortable.

Actuality: Bikes normally include a generic, unisex saddle. If yours feels uncomfortable, attempt upgrading to at least one with gel padding or one which’s gender particular. Bike seats additionally come in several configurations and dimensions, comparable to cutaway fashions. For particulars, see the fitnessinf Professional Recommendation article, Bike Saddles: The best way to Select.

Fable #7: I am clueless about how you can preserve my bike.

Actuality: That is OK; it is simple to be taught the fundamentals. Join a category at your native fitnessinf retailer or make the most of our on-line how-to movies and articles. Or, if bike-maintenance is absolutely not your factor, there isn’t any disgrace in taking your journey to your fitnessinf Bike Store for an expert tune-up or restore.

Fable #eight: I am too out of form to journey.

Actuality: Driving your bike will allow you to get again into form. At first, do not be afraid to cease and stroll—particularly on a hill. The extra you bike, the simpler it’s going to get. In fact, when you’ve got a severe well being situation, examine along with your physician earlier than driving.

Fable #9: You’ll be able to’t carry a lot stuff on a motorcycle.

Actuality: You would be stunned what number of groceries or work objects you may convey on a motorcycle. Begin by sporting a daypack or messenger bag, or add a rack and carry your issues in panniers or attachable luggage. For even larger hundreds, think about a motorcycle trailer.

Fable #10: It is too far for me to commute to work.

Actuality: You’ll be able to all the time journey simply a part of the best way or just one manner. Drive to a special place to begin to cut back the space. Catch a journey to work with somebody and bike dwelling. Or take the bus—most have a rack in entrance for bicycles.

Fable #11: I am going to get sweaty.

Actuality: Generally this may be tough to keep away from, however you may all the time simply journey casually to keep away from an excessive amount of exertion. If potential, journey within the morning when it is cooler. Keep in mind, whenever you’re biking you’ll normally catch a breeze to assist cool off.

Fable #12: My work garments will get wrinkled.

Actuality: If you happen to resolve to journey to work, pack alongside work garments with materials which might be much less liable to wrinkles when packed, or use packing folders and cubes to cut back wrinkles. On these days whenever you’re driving or going by bus, convey garments on your bike-riding days so you do not have to hold them whenever you journey.

Earlier than You Journey

Bike Upkeep

A motorbike that’s in form makes the journey far more pleasant. In case your bike hasn’t been utilized in a very long time otherwise you’ve observed a selected downside, take it to your native fitnessinf Bike Store or unbiased bike store for a tune-up. If you wish to do the tune-up your self, learn our Professional Recommendation article on bike upkeep, take a category or get a e book that teaches the fundamentals of motorcycle upkeep.


Pre-ride Inspection

Earlier than taking your bike out for a spin, be certain that it is comfy, secure and able to go. Our video demonstrates among the pointers defined beneath:

  1. Measurement: Does the bike fit your needs? There ought to be a minimum of 1″-2″ of clearance between you and the highest tube (bar) on a highway bike and a minimum of 2″-Four” on a mountain bike.
  2. Seat top: Test that the saddle (seat) is adjusted on the proper top for you.
    • Private choice determines whether or not the saddle ought to be tipped ahead, degree or backward.
    • Having the saddle on the proper top and ahead/aft place for pedaling is necessary to your knees. The proper place is achieved when, along with your leg prolonged within the 6 o’clock place, your knee is simply barely bent.
  3. Wheels: Make sure that the quick-release levers (or bolts on older bikes) are totally secured.
  4. Brakes: Squeeze the brake levers to see if the brake pads press onto the tire rims or rotors (on disc brakes). The pads hitting the edges/rotors are what make you cease.
  5. Rims: Carry up the bike and spin the wheels. The edges ought to be straight and never wobble noticeably from side-to-side or up-and-down.
  6. Tires: Test for cracks or extreme put on. Make sure that they’re inflated to the right strain (indicated on the tire sidewall).
  7. Body and headset: Test the body for cracks. Maintain within the entrance brake and rock the bike backwards and forwards. Extreme play means the headset wants adjusting. Don’t journey a motorcycle with a cracked body or free headset.
  8. Gears: Spin the crank and shift by the gears. The chain ought to switch easily from gear to gear.
  9. Cranks: These are the arms attaching the pedals to the bike. Give each a pull to verify they’re tight. Don’t journey a motorcycle with a free crank.
  10. Chain: Make sure that it’s lubricated. Rotate the crank backwards and search for hitches within the motion.


Match Your Helmet

A helmet can solely work for those who put on it. In reality, helmets are 85%-88% efficient in stopping head and mind accidents. (Supply: The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration, www.nhtsa.gov.) Additionally, some state or native legal guidelines require a helmet, and you may even get a ticket for those who do not put on one.

Tip: In your state and chosen worldwide information, go to the Bicycle Helmet Security Institute’s Site, www.helmets.org/mandator.htm.

It is also necessary to have it match correctly. Heads come in several sizes and so do helmets, so get the suitable dimension. For tip on adjusting the match, watch our helmet-fitting video above.

Listed here are the fundamental steps:

  • Modify the match dial or cinching mechanism (or add/take away inside pads if offered) so the helmet suits snugly, however comfortably.
  • The helmet ought to be degree in your head, about 1 or 2 finger-widths above the eyebrow. If it falls beneath the eyebrows, it’s too massive. If it doesn’t attain to only above the eyebrows, it’s too small.
  • The place the straps kind a “Y,” be certain that the slider is just below the earlobe.
  • A buckled chinstrap ought to be comfortable with not more than 1 or 2 fingers width house between the chin and the strap.
  • Last checks:
    • Shake your head. If the helmet strikes to a special place, readjust so it is safer.
    • You need to be capable of open your mouth vast with out the chinstrap pulling the helmet down.

In the US, helmets should meet the requirements of the Shopper Product Security Fee (CSPC). A CSPC label could also be discovered contained in the helmet or on the packaging.

Tip: For kids, do not buy a helmet “to develop into.” Get one that matches proper for correct safety.

Decide a Protected Route

It might be a no brainer on which route you need to take, however for those who’re undecided:

Ask a fellow bike owner: If there’s a good friend or coworker who already bikes to work, speak to her or him. Contact a neighborhood biking membership or bike store. Generally they are going to have native insights you may’t discover on-line.

Go surfing: Test the web sites of native biking golf equipment, metropolis transportation departments or your state’s Division of Transportation. Message boards will be useful, too. Ones in your space can help you with routes or reply questions you may need.

When choosing your route, think about highway building, heavy visitors, crime downside areas, canine, hills and whether or not or not the streets have a motorcycle lane or shoulder.

Tip: Strive Google’s instructions at maps.google.com, zoom into your space then kind your begin and finish deal with. Click on and drag on it to alter routes. You get a route and mileage totals, too.


Take a Apply Spin

To journey a motorcycle, you simply have to know how you can pedal, steer and cease. Get reacquainted the basics of controlling your momentum. Keep in mind to all the time comply with the principles of the highway and pay attention to your environment.


If it has been some time because you final saddled up, listed below are just a few suggestions on your first outing:

  • Discover a vacant parking zone, sidewalk or paved biking path that’s not crowded.
  • Get a really feel for the brakes—squeeze the levers slowly and gently. When braking, squeeze the rear brake first after which the entrance brake. Stopping shortly with the entrance brake solely may cause the entrance tire to lock and the rear tire to stand up. And meaning you may go over the handlebar!
  • Coast along with your ft within the air and get a really feel of steering and stability.
  • Subsequent attempt utilizing the pedals, steering after which the brakes. Keep away from braking and steering on the identical time, particularly with the entrance brake.
  • If utilizing clip-in pedals, follow clipping in and unclipping, releasing and stopping.
  • Earlier than occurring the highway and in visitors, follow beginning and stopping uphill and downhill. For extra particulars on driving uphill see climbing hills. For more information on driving downhill, see driving downhill.

Tip: Maintain the pedals in a horizontal place when braking. This helps present extra braking energy and retains your ft away from any highway hazards.

Driving Suggestions

Subsequent, get in your bike and go. Go to a retailer for an errand, bike to a good friend’s home or meet somebody for espresso. Give your self a objective. On weekends, you would possibly need to bike to your office to get a really feel for what it might be commuting throughout the week (keep in mind, visitors will almost definitely be heavier when biking throughout commute hours).

If you happen to do need to cycle to work, think about simply making an attempt it one-way at first. Take the bus or have somebody drop you and your bike at work within the morning, after which attempt biking dwelling when you do not have the strain of attending to work on time.

Tip: Discover a good friend or coworker who could be a mentor. Or think about a fundamental highway biking class with the fitnessinf Outside College.

Shifting Gears

Shifting on the optimum instances will make your journey simpler. You do not need to be pedaling in a excessive gear when going uphill; you will be exhausted. You need to use a decrease gear so you are not pushing on the pedals so laborious.

You will even have extra enjoyable when cruising on the downhill in a excessive gear at a quick pace. The better it’s to pedal, the extra you may shift up. Or, you may take the downhill slowly and pump the brakes to decease pace.

No matter gear mixture you are utilizing, attempt to hold the chain so it isn’t being stretched diagonally. As an illustration, keep away from being on a excessive chainring and first gear (as proven on this top-view illustration). This method encourages an extended chainring life.

You probably have a motorcycle pc in your bike, you may examine the cadence (the variety of instances your pedals go round per minute). Essentially the most environment friendly cadence, or pedaling fee, is between 70 to 90 revolutions per minute.

Driving in Site visitors

Possibly you are one of many fortunate ones who’ve a delegated bike path to make use of or a marked bike lane. However at a while or some place, you will in all probability need to journey in visitors.

It is actually not that scary. Normally, bicyclists comply with the identical guidelines of the highway as automotive drivers. Simply fake you are driving your automotive as an alternative of your bike. On this manner, drivers know what to anticipate, and it is safer for everybody. Driving pointers:

  • Go together with visitors, not towards it.
  • Comply with visitors alerts, indicators and pavement markings.
  • Yield to pedestrians and different autos.
  • Get off of the highway whenever you’re not shifting.
  • Do not go on the suitable.
  • Watch what is occurring behind you. To make this simpler, think about sporting a helmet-mounted or eyeglass-mounted mirror.
  • If there are greater than 5 automobiles behind you, pull over and allow them to go.
  • Journey straight, and do not swerve out and in of visitors.
  • When turning, slowing or stopping, use hand alerts to let others know what you’re doing. Evaluate our video on frequent hand alerts for cyclists.


  • Look again over your shoulder, particularly when altering lanes or making a flip.
  • Put on one thing vivid; do not count on drivers to see you.
  • Look ahead to autos popping out of alleys, they might not see you.
  • Make noise—use a horn, bell or whistle or yell.
  • Semi-trucks have a blind spot when turning; keep out of this blind spot.
  • If a automobile blocks your view, transfer to the facet or decelerate to see round it.
  • Be able to brake, conserving your palms close to or on the brake levers so you may cease quick.
  • To see hazards, hold a minimum of Four ft of distance between you and any automobile.
  • Pedal robust when going by intersections.
  • Look ahead to drivers who overlook to sign.
  • Be predictable.

Tip: Simply since you’re on a motorcycle, doesn’t suggest you may’t be cited for a visitors violation. Comply with the principles of the highway.

Lane Place

This can be a frequent dialogue amongst cyclists, particularly these of us who journey solely sometimes. Our ideas:

  • Keep to the suitable when lanes are vast and there’s plenty of room. This enables autos to go you most simply.
  • Declare the lane (i.e., journey within the middle of the lane) in these conditions: the place roads are too slim for automobiles to securely go; you are in a tunnel, underpass or darkish space; when a parked automotive’s doorways are opening; the place there are sewer grates, uneven shoulders and particles; or for those who’re shifting on the identical pace because the visitors. This makes you extra seen and extra more likely to be handed solely when there’s sufficient room.

Driving Hazards

  • Don’t use headphones. Hearken to your environment.
  • Watch and hear for automotive doorways opening. Do not journey nearer than Four ft to a automotive, and hear for hints of motion.
  • Look ahead to floor hazards like drain grates that may catch your tire.
  • Do not comply with a automobile so intently that you’ve a blind spot. You might not see a hazard (e.g., a pothole) till it is too late.
  • Look ahead to particles or tough roadways.
  • Attempt to cross railroad tracks at a 90-degree angle to keep away from catching a tire.
  • When driving on a freeway and being handed by a big truck or bus, be ready to be pulled to the left from the automobile’s wake.
  • When passing different cyclists or walkers, ring a bell or announce “in your left” so they do not swerve into you.
  • Maintain house between you and different cyclists.

Darkness and Unhealthy Climate

You need to see and be seen when visibility is poor:

  • Use a white entrance mild and a pink, flashing rear mild.
  • Take into account a headlamp or helmet-mounted headlight to provide you extra mild and to assist achieve a driver’s consideration.
  • Have reflectors on each the entrance and rear of your bike. New bikes include them, however you might need to add extra for additional visibility.
  • Enhance visibility by including reflectors or reflective tape on shifting components of your bike.
  • Put on vivid clothes.
  • Put on a reflective vest, jacket, wristbands and/or leg bands.

In moist or chilly climate:

  • Give your self additional room in rain, ice, frost, snow or fog. When it’s moist, the pavement will likely be oily and slippery. Your brakes will likely be moist, too.
  • Bridges and overpasses will likely be icier than roads.

The Bus and the Biker

Some bike commuters do a mix of biking and taking a bus. Relying on the place you reside, buses might provide a entrance rack to carry bicycles. Whereas there are normally directions printed on the bike rack, it’s as much as you to load your bike correctly. Bikes with baby carriers or no-spoke wheels normally can’t be placed on the rack. Some bikes with vast handlebars or lengthy wheelbases may not match.

  • Put together the bike for loading earlier than the bus arrives. Take away all free objects (pumps, helmets, water bottles, and so forth.).
  • Don’t step in entrance of the bus till the driving force sees you.
  • Load your bike within the spot farthest from the bus or within the subsequent open place.
  • Carry the help arm and hook it over the entrance tire. Make sure that the help arm clamps the tire, not the body or fender.
  • At your cease, remind the driving force you can be unloading your bike earlier than you exit.
  • Take away the help arm, decrease it into place and take away your bike. Fold the rack up whether it is empty.
  • Step onto the sidewalk and watch for the bus to go away.

If you happen to’re simply driving to the park-and-ride, search for a safe solution to retailer your bike there after you hop a bus or do a carpool or vanpool. Some transit amenities have lockers for this goal.

Parking and Locking Your Bike

Regardless of the place you journey, it is a good suggestion to safe your bike.


  • If commuting, attempt to hold your bike in your workplace or different secured space.
  • In case you are parking exterior, use a motorcycle rack or another safe, unmovable object and ideally lock BOTH wheels and the body to it. Most bikes provide a quick-release entrance tire to facilitate this effort.
    • All the time lock it to one thing—do not lock simply the bike—as it’s simple to choose up and carry away.
    • Keep in mind, aluminum or wood posts, timber or to chain hyperlink fences would possibly look safe, however they are often reduce by decided thieves.
    • Test with the native police division for guidelines on the place bikes will be parked and locked. Some locations could also be unlawful.
  • Use both a cable lock, a U-lock, one among every, 2 U-locks and/or a combo lock. The extra time and bother it takes a thief to assault your bike lock, the much less doubtless it’s will likely be taken. See the fitnessinf Professional Recommendation article, Bike Locks: The best way to Select for particulars.
  • Attempt to lock it in a well-lighted, well-traveled location.
  • Some parking tons provide a spot for bikes at a decreased parking fee.
  • Unfasten and carry with you any components that may be simply eliminated—bike bag, pump, pc, lights or quick-release seat.


  • Register your bike’s serial quantity with the Nationwide Bike Registry (www.nationalbikeregistry.com). In case your bike will get stolen and is later recovered, irrespective of the place, it may be returned to you.
  • Even for those who do not want a lock throughout the workday, have one with you in case you cease someplace alongside your route.
  • Don’t use a lock bigger than you actually need. A decent-fitting lock makes it tougher for thieves to get their instruments into place to attempt breaking the lock.
  • You probably have a tubular pin-tumbler-style lock made in 2004 or earlier, it’s best to exchange it. Thieves have found out how you can disable these locks.

Taking It to the Subsequent Stage

OK, you’ve got taken just a few brief rides, and now you are prepared for extra. That is the time to start out fascinated by just a few of the extras that may make your rides extra comfy. For a printer-friendly model of this, go to our Primary Bike Guidelines.

Core Restore Objects

Until you are simply driving across the block, it’s best to all the time carry this stuff.

  • Mini-pump
  • Spare tube or a tire-patch package
  • Tire levers
  • Biking multi-tool (with Allen wrenches)

Tip: If buying a spare tube, be sure to select a appropriate dimension. Tire/tube dimension info will be discovered on the sidewall of most tires.

Core Gear

Convey some or all of those based mostly in your wants.

  • Eye safety (sun shades and clear lenses)
  • Water: For a brief journey, carry a water bottle hooked up in a bottle cage. For longer rides, it’s your decision a hydration pack.
  • Snacks or power meals
  • Sunscreen
  • Medical information/emergency contact card
  • Mobile phone (for when you do not really feel like altering a tire and need to name a good friend or taxi).

Bike Clothes

For informal rides or brief commutes, you might need to simply put on your informal/work garments. For longer rides or commutes, put on extra conventional biking gear for better driving consolation. You’ll be able to all the time change at your office or vacation spot if crucial.

Suggestions in approximate order of usefulness:

  • Biking shorts or pants: For longer rides, you want the additional consolation.
  • Moisture-wicking jersey: Helps hold you dry and regulate physique temperature whereas driving.
  • Padded gloves: These take up vibration and hold your fingers heat.
  • Socks: Light-weight, artificial kinds assist wick moisture away out of your pores and skin.
  • Jacket or vest: This is dependent upon climate circumstances.
  • Biking footwear: Commuter footwear or cleats make pedaling extra environment friendly.
  • Bike booties: These match over your bike footwear for additional water-resistance.
  • Helmet liner: Put on this beneath your helmet on chilly days.
  • Tights or leg heaters: Added insulation for cooler days.


  • Gown in layers so you may add or take away clothes as climate and your physique temperature change.
  • Use footwear that haven’t any vents or holes to maintain ft hotter.

Different Gear

Suggestions in approximate order of want:

  • Bell, horn or whistle: A bike owner’s model of a automotive horn.
  • Mirror: To see what’s behind you. Connect one to your helmet, glasses or handlebars.
  • Fenders: Safety from mud and water.
  • Additional reflectors: Most bikes include some, however you may add extra for additional visibility.
  • Headlight: Helps you see and be seen.
  • Taillight: Helps you be seen higher at night time or nightfall.
  • Additional batteries: For headlights and taillights.
  • Cargo rack: An excellent base for carrying groceries and kit.
  • Trailers: For hauling the children, canine or your gear.
  • Clip-in pedals and biking footwear: For better pedaling effectivity.
  • Bike pc: Takes the guesswork out of your distance and pace, plus presents different knowledge.

The best way to Carry Your Gear

This is dependent upon your private preferences and the way a lot you need to take with you:

  • Underseat bag (a.okay.a. saddlebag): Suits straight beneath the saddle. Often used to carry core restore objects and different small requirements.
  • Rack trunk: With a rack on the rear, these luggage match straight on high and maintain sufficient small gear for a lot of riders.
  • Panniers: Connect to the rack on the again of your bike. They’re an important answer for groceries or bigger quantities of labor/touring gear.
  • Entrance rack bag: Connect to a rack over the entrance tire, very like panniers.
  • Messenger bag (laptop computer messenger): Has a protracted strap to sling over your shoulder; some have extra padded strap to hold it like a briefcase. Inside compartments are normally designed to carry a laptop computer and different workplace wants. Others have sufficient room to suit a towel, footwear and garments, too.
  • Daypack: Conveniently attaches to you moderately than the bike.
  • Handlebar bag: Attaches to the handlebar to hold small objects for straightforward entry. Some have a transparent, waterproof compartment so you may see your map or buying record.
  • Baskets: Are available in variations that may connect to the handlebars or to a rack on again. Some are removable with a deal with, so you may use it as a buying basket, too.

Arriving at Work or Your Vacation spot

Cleansing Up: If you happen to’re lucky sufficient to have showers at your office, you will have it simple. If not, you are not utterly out of luck. Strive these solutions:

  • The “birdbath” choice: Simply use a washcloth, small towel and a toilet sink to clean up.
  • Pre-moistened towelettes can work in a pinch.
  • Be a part of a close-by fitness center. Some gyms will even promote you a “bathe solely” membership at a decreased fee.
  • Maintain your cleansing and primping provides on the office or fitness center so that you do not need to hold them on the commute, too.
  • If you cannot wash up as a lot as you would like, think about taking your bike on the bus with you within the morning, after which bike dwelling after work when it does not matter for those who get sweaty.

Dressing Up:

  • You’ll be able to both carry your work garments with you, or you may shuttle a provide of contemporary garments to your office on a non-biking day. If you happen to do not need a locker room, attempt your desk, a closet, behind a door and even between partitions for storage.
  • Attempt to use clothes that’s much less more likely to wrinkle.
  • Maintain additional footwear on the office.
  • Maintain a set of unpolluted underwear, socks and equipment on the office in case you overlook sooner or later.

Biking Q&A

Q: Is a dearer helmet safer?

A: No, all helmets should meet CSPC requirements. Helmets enhance in worth for consolation or efficiency options comparable to extra vents or much less weight.

Q: What ought to I do if it rains?

A: You do not have to bike that day, or you may costume in biking rain gear and nonetheless journey comfortably.

Q: What if there aren’t any showers at my work?

A: If you happen to can, journey to work at an off-the-cuff tempo so you aren’t getting too sweaty. You’ll be able to journey dwelling at a sooner tempo for a greater exercise. Some individuals do not bathe, others discover a close by fitness center.

Q: What’s the easiest way to hold groceries or work dwelling?

A: There are numerous varieties of gear-carrying options for bikes, starting from daypacks to panniers. For carrying children, canine or actually massive gear hundreds, think about a motorcycle trailer.

Q: The place can I study bicycle restore?

A: Your native fitnessinf Bike Store presents common clinics and lessons. Different native bike golf equipment and shops might provide lessons, too, or examine with the League of American Cyclists for his or her class information.


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