No matter what reason you're thinking about getting into bike riding, the best part of your new hobby will be experiencing some amazing new things. Riding a bike will help you be healthier and feel joy, explore new things, and enter a whole new world. But before you get along with it, here are a few tips to improve your bike riding experience.
Let’s get started with a few tips to improve your bike riding experience
Select the Perfect Fit
Your bike is the core of your riding experience. You should get the perfect bike that matches your physique and riding style. When going bike shopping, make sure the bike fit aligns with your body and riding style. You should be able to handle its weight and manage it easily.
When a guests comes to one of our Bicycle Warehouse locations we don't ask them what bike they're looking for, but rather what kind of riding they're most interested in, the price range they want to spend (more on that later) and use that info to tailor a few suggestions for the perfect bike.
Consider your Seat and your Height
If your bike saddle height is not adjusted properly to your body it may cause knee or back pain. Remember, your upper body should be at about a 45-degree angle when sitting on the bike and holding handles. However, the knees should have a slight bend when your bike pedals are at the bottom of your pedal stroke. While stopping the bike, you can place your foot on the road straight by standing a little up from the seat. You can save your knee, shoulders, and back from being hurt in this position.
Invest in the Right Gear
There is a huge variety of bicycling gear available out there, but there's no need to get overwhelmed - if you're just getting started there's just a few important pieces to make sure you have. We suggest using the 80/20 rule when purchasing your first bike. 80% of your budget for the bike and the remaining 20% for gear to make sure you're getting the best experience. If you blow your entire budget on the bike and don't have something like a bike floor pump to keep your tires inflated and ready to ride you won't have a good time.
Gear for You
Never ride without a bike helmet! If you haven't worn a bicycle helmet in awhile you'll be surprised at all of the technological advancements. Bike helmets have gotten substantially lighter and packed with tons of new technologies to keep your head cool. Once you hit the road you'll practically forget you're even wearing one. You can get an amazing helmet for around $60-$100 that will last you for many miles to come.
If you're considering buying or just bought a mountain bike consider investing in elbow and knee pads. Your first crash can be a little jarring, but once you dust yourself off and get back riding you'll be glad to have avoided skinned elbows and knees.
Rather than upgrading your bike saddle right off the bat a pair of padded bike shorts can do wonders for your comfort, especially if you are new to riding and double especially if you'll be riding a road bike and racking up lots of miles. As you ride more your body will become more familiar with your riding posture, but in the meantime protect those sit bones and avoid post-ride soreness.
Gear for Your Bike
No matter what type of riding you'll be doing the first piece of gear you'll want to invest in is a floor pump. Before every ride check your bike tire pressure to make sure they are properly inflated. Over and under inflated bicycle tires can lead to flats which can ruin a ride, especially if you're unfamiliar with fixing a flat.
Speaking of flats: they're inevitable! Even the most experienced riders get flats from time to time. Invest in a fix a flat all-in-one kit and check out our guide on how to fix a flat bicycle tire.
You'll also want to invest in a set of bike lights. Lights help you see and be seen, even in daylight hours. Many states, like California, have laws on the books requiring a front light and red rear reflector or light in twilight and night time. We always suggest a combo light set that is USB chargeable so you don't have to worry about having spare batteries on hand and can be fully charged up before you're planning to ride.
There's plenty of more cool gear as you learn more about your riding style, but we'll save that for another time.
Learn about Bike Mechanics
When you are passionate about bike riding, learn more about its mechanics. You should understand the common bike issues and how to fix (or at least diagnose) them yourself. It reduces your dependency on others and helps you deal with any situation easily.
Your local bike shop may have clinics to help teach basic maintenance techniques if you're interested in the DIY, route. Check out our events calendar, Bicycle Warehouse locations frequently host beginner bike clinics packed with maintenance tips from our team.
Maintain your Bike
Bike maintenance is essential for its life and your amazing riding experience. After every ride, clean your bike to avoid rusty chains. Check the tires for any nails, rocks, or damage in there to avoid any trouble on your next ride.
Usually, beginners won't have to worry about replacing tires for a few hundred if not few thousand miles. Over time inspect your brake pads, and keep them checked and maintained. It is good to take your bike for a maintenance review once quarterly if you're riding regularly.
Carry Basic Bike Tools
You should keep the basic fixing or maintenance tools for the bike in your home or garage. On the ride, you should have a mini pump, a puncture patch kit, and a spare tube. Tire levers aren't 100% necessary but are cheap, light and will make your life a lot easier if you end up with a flat.
These basic tools can help you fix a flat tire and be back on the road within fifteen to twenty minutes. Even if you can't fix the bike yourself, you may find other riders are happy to help so long as you have a spare tube and the necessary tools.
With these tips and some time riding you won't be a beginner for long! Welcome to the wonderful world of cycling.