There is nothing worse than setting off on a bike ride to be uncomfortable and find you have created a situation that leaves you sore and wishing you had not gone. Here are some bike riding tips to keep you comfortable and make it more pleasurable so you can enjoy this exciting recreation time and time again.
Adjust your bike properly
It is very important to adjust your seat properly for you. If you share your bike with someone else you must make a mark on the seat adjustment with a permanent marker as to the proper height for you and them.
Set your bike seat so your knees almost fully extend. If it is too high, it becomes a stretch if too low a crunch on the knees. So a very slight bend in the knees when fully extended is good. You will know when you found the sweet spot because it will not fatigue your knees more than normal exercise fatigues them. (if you have problems with your joints or bones, be sure to take your vitamins..i.e. Fish oil, calcium(not carbonate), magnesium and potassium, as these will keep you free of cramps and stress on the joints.) Be sure to stretch before you begin your ride.
If your bike has several speeds, it’s a good idea to have the gears set to a start off position. Most multi speed bikes have three gears on the left, and several on the right. Start off on gear two on the left and somewhere in the middle on the right.
The rule of thumb for your gears is divide the right numbers into thirds. Keep your chain as straight as possible. You do not want to kink your chain by over stretching it. The right gears need to be divided by 3, the lowest numbers being the easiest gears to the highest being the hardest gears. When dealing with the middle of the road, your left is on 2 and the right is in the middle third of your numbers.
To make it easier to peddle, say up a steep hill you switch to number one on left and lower numbers on right. To make it really difficult or to make you go really fast, with few peddles, go to number 3 on the left side and the highest third of your numbers on the right.
Always adjust your gears one notch at a time alternating sides. This way you do not strain your chain and end up pushing a broken bike the rest of the way.
Always put your gears back on the start out position before putting your bike away, this way it is ready for next time.
Check brakes and make them snug up properly before you set out. You want them to ride just a few hairs away from the tire when not in use but not a huge distance away or you have to squeeze the brake lever too hard to stop. Make sure front and back brakes are even. Press both brakes at once to see if they feel the same is a good test.
Keep in mind, that if it starts raining you will have little or no brakes once your tires get wet.
Check your tires and make sure they are fully aired. Then ride the bike to see if they remain full enough with your weight on it.
Lastly adjust your handle bars so you can comfortably reach your brakes, and make sure your handle bars are at a 90 degree angle to your tires. If you have handle bars with multiple hand grips, adjust them to suit you.
Wear proper clothing.
If you are not dressed properly you will be uncomfortable. It is important to wear tight fitting pants or be prepared to tuck them into your socks. Even normal sized pant legs can catch in the chain at the bottom or on wires that go to your brakes, making you very uncomfortable and unsafe. Tight fitting, stretchy, shorts and tops are a good idea also.
You must purchase a helmet. Some states require this, some do not. All kids need a helmet. They make them now to look quite stylish and have adjustable dials on them. This is so convenient compared to the ones of times past. You used to have to add or remove pads to make the helmet fit you properly. This was inconvenient and sometimes you lost your pads and then it didn’t fit right anymore.
Not only will this helmet protect your head from the impact of a fall, but it also can work as a sun visor as some have a removable visor on the front. They are made very light and cool now so, you never have to worry about being hot. A hat is nice when it is cooler too,so, your helmet can shield you from the cold a little bit although it is filled with air vents for comfort.
If you tend to sweat allot on your forehead, this is convenient as well to wear a helmet, as the padding on the inside acts to prevent sweat getting in your eyes.
Be sure to bring your sunglasses. There are many reasons to wear sunglasses when you go biking. One , the wind can give you dry eyes, and this is very uncomfortable. Second, when the sun gets low on the horizon this can be quite uncomfortable in the eyes. Lastly there are sometimes bugs. Who wants to fish gnats out of their eyes, or spend the ride squinting.
If it is Spring or Fall, be sure to bring a jacket. You can tie it around your waste if you are hot and then you are comfortable when it gets chilly. It can get very uncomfortable quickly if it gets too cool and you can become sick.
__Put a storage bag or basket on your bike or bring a backpack. (store some safety items in it)
__Make sure you have reflectors on your bike for safety.
__Bring a water bottle to help you stay hydrated. Invest in a stainless steel one and avoid being poisoned by the typical hard plastic which is toxic.
__Pack a picnic for afterwards, or be prepared to eat out.
__Pack a pump for emergency airing of the tires. Many are made to attach directly to your bike.
__A small tool kit and flat tire repair items can come in handy, keeping you from carrying your bike if you get a flat tire etc.
__A poncho can come in handy. Get one that folds up the size of your hand.
__A bell can come in handy for alerting slower traffic that you are passing them.
__A rear view mirror is a nice feature if you are not real good at riding straight and turning backwards to check who is behind you.
__If you plan on being out at dusk , put a light on your bike. This can save you from being totally blind when darkness catches you off guard and you are a mile from your car or truck.
__Last but not least be sure to pack a first aid kit.
Pick the perfect spot to ride.
Forgetting to plan ahead can make or break your bike riding experience. Take the time to plan your ride. Pick a location that is safe. Most roads these days are not safe to ride on. You most likely will need to load up your bike and take it to another location that is suitable for riding. If you are so blessed to have a trail made by your city to walk or bike on, this is optimal. Be sure bikes are permitted.
If you have no such place to ride, pick a subdivision that is rarely traveled or a dead end road is nice as well if you don’t mind riding back and forth. Just pick your spot carefully and enjoy your day out on your bike.
If you are bringing kids with you, be sure it is a safe place to ride. You may even take them to a local park to ride in the parking lot if it is not too busy with cars.
With a little planning you can have a great biking trip. I hope these tips are useful to you the next time you decide to go for a spin.