I am a cyclist, and I want to share some tips that will help you get your bike on the road. Riding a bike is an excellent form of exercise. If you’re not in shape, it’s hard work at first but after some time you’ll find yourself getting stronger and faster. You can also save money by not paying for gas or parking downtown. There are many benefits to riding your bike to work so why don’t we start with how?
1. Plan your route
This is especially important if you’re not familiar with the area. Cycling on city streets can be dangerous, so it’s important to know where you’re going. If you can find a route that avoids major roads, that’s ideal. Google Maps has a great feature that allows you to plan a cycling route. You just enter your start and end points and it will give you turn-by-turn directions.
2. Get a good bike
If you don’t have a bike, now is the time to get one. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy bike, but do make sure it’s in good condition and fits you properly. If it’s been a while since you’ve sat on a bike, you might be surprised how big your butt feels on the seat!
3. Dress for the weather
The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to dress for the occasion. In the summer, I like to wear a light shirt and shorts. In the winter, I add a jacket, long pants, and a hat. Make sure to pack some sunscreen, water, and snacks if you’re going on a longer ride.
4. Go somewhere new
Pick a route that takes you someplace new each day. If you always go downtown, try going across town instead. You might find a store or restaurant on your way that surprises you. The reason this tip works is because novelty tends to activate the reward center of your brain. And once we learn that an activity can provide us with reward, our motivation increases.
5. Make sure your bike is in good condition
If your bike isn’t in good condition, it can be dangerous to ride it. You should always check the brakes, gears, and tires before you go for a ride. If something doesn’t seem right, take your bike to a shop and have them look at it.
6. Wear a helmet
This one is a no-brainer. A good helmet can save your life in the event of an accident. Make sure it’s properly fitted and always wear it when you’re riding your bike.
7. Use hand signals
When you’re cycling on the street, you need to use hand signals to indicate your intentions to other drivers. This will help keep everyone safe on the road. You can find a list of hand signals here.
8. Obey the traffic laws
Just like drivers, cyclists need to obey the traffic laws. This means stopping at stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, and using bike lanes when available.
9. Be aware of your surroundings
This is especially important when cycling in a busy city. You need to be aware of cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Keep your head up and don’t text or listen to music while you’re riding. It’s also a good idea to carry some ID and emergency contact information with you in case something happens.
10. Ride defensively
Expect the unexpected and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary. Remember that cars don’t always see cyclists, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
11. Take breaks
Riding a bike can be tiring, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Make sure you take breaks every once in a while to rest your legs. This will help you stay safe and avoid getting too tired to ride home.
12. Have fun!
Cycling is a great way to get exercise and see the world around you. Make sure you enjoy yourself and don’t take it too seriously. If something goes wrong, laugh it off and try again tomorrow.
13. Keep an eye on your speed
Don’t cycle too fast or you may lose control of your bike. It’s also important to keep an eye on your speed when you’re going around curves.
14. Use hand brakes
If you have to stop quickly, use the hand brakes to do so. This will help you avoid skidding or falling off your bike.
15. Drink water
It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re cycling, especially in hot weather. Carry a water bottle with you and drink often.
16. Beware of potholes and other obstacles
Be careful when cycling over potholes and other obstacles in the road. They can cause you to lose control of your bike or even fall off.