Essential Cycling Tips That Beginners Need to Know

Cycling consistently ranks as one of the most popular physical activities in the United States. According to Statista, roughly 67 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 64 have cycled at least once in 2018. But whether it’s for leisure, exercise, transportation or a combination thereof, beginners should follow some basic tips when cycling.

Use Both Brakes to Decelerate When Going Down a Hill

To decelerate on even terrain, beginners should only use their bike’s front brake for maximum stopping power. When going downhill, however, beginners should use both brakes to decelerate. Only using the front brake when going downhill can have disastrous consequences, potentially throwing the cyclist over the front of his or her bike. Applying even pressure on both the front and rear brakes allows cyclists to safely decelerate on a descent.

Learn the Gears

A typical bike has one to 27 gears, and it’s important for beginners to learn them so that they can cycle more efficiently. The gears on the front of a bike, for instance, can help cyclists climb hills using less energy. The rear gears, on the other hand, allow for a deeper level of tuning across all types of terrains.

Wear a Helmet

Because there’s no federal law requiring cyclists to wear them, beginners often assume that a helmet isn’t a necessity. A study cited by Big Think, however, found that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injuries when cycling by 85 percent. Therefore, beginners should invest in a high-quality helmet before hitting the road with their bike.

Face Forward

Looking down doesn’t improve aerodynamics when cycling. Rather, it increases the risk of injury by restricting the cyclist’s field of view. Unless a cyclist is on a closed course, he or she will likely encounter a variety of hazards while cycling. From road debris and animals to potholes and passing motorists, cyclists must look for common hazards such as these by facing forward.

Turn Corners By Leaning Bike

When approaching a corner, cyclists should lean their bike into the turn. Some beginners make the mistake of leaning their body into turns, which destabilizes their body and increases the risk of an accident. The correct way to turn is to push the handlebar into the direction of the corner just enough so that the bike leans.

Cycling, like most physical activities, requires practice. By spending more time on their bike, beginners can strengthen their cycling skills while improving their health in the process.

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