Tom’s Tips on Bike Riding:
I’m talking about a bicycle not a Harley, although much same applies to both.
A bicycle has two wheels. The back one drives. The front steers.
Bike has frame, handlebars, seat, wheels, brakes, gears, drive train/chain, gears. AND the brightest back and front flashing lights you can buy!
There are basically road bikes, mountain bikes, cross-fit, crushers and cruisers.
There are all types of frame materials and components and accessories. Your shop will help set you up.
Today wider tires have low roll-resistance and better handling. Inflate your tires to the proper PSI (printed on the sidewall of the tire) before every ride.
A good bike shop will help you in choice of bike. Try it before you ride it. Make sure to get your bike properly fitted by an expert.
Quality counts in clothing and equipment. Layer and stow a wind/rain breaker.
Getting started. Join the local bike club and pick easy, no rider left behind rides first.
Balance is key. Once you learn, you never forget.
To get on your bike, hold a brake on, lean the bike over slightly, swing the leg over
Do a quick pre-ride inspection around your bike. Make sure gears, brakes, tires are in good condition.
Get into one cleat first, release brake, pedal down to get going, then quickly get into the other cleat.
Biking is more efficient if you are clipped into your pedals. Get bike shoes.
When selecting pedals, cleats and shoes, remember you have to walk in them too.
Preferably wear proper bike clothes to help with road rash.
Dress for success. helmet, gloves, glasses wind breaker for cold starts.
Rain options if on a long trek. Winter clothes as weather demands. Stow and layer.
If it’s a sunny day fine, but prepare for overcast temperatures. Ride comfortably.
Always look in the direction of travel, with 360 degree situational awareness.
Respect the rules of the road. Avoid road rage. You’ll lose.
Ride on the far right side of the road and follow the rules at stop signs and lights.
Give hand signs when changing directions and slowing or stopping. Shout! “Air Biscuit!”
When braking, engage the rear brake first. Try not to slide the tires. Bikes stop quickly.
You must turn left to go right, just like in a race car. Seem odd? Try it.
Find someone to ride with.
Hydrate And take along fun energy snacks.
Be alert for the unexpected.
Practice riding in a pace line. Ask before joining a pace line.
When your tired of pulling, ease left and fall back to tail end.
When riding single file in a pace-line, have a place you’re going when it collapses!
In a race, draft as much as you can (except a triathlon where it is not allowed).
Biking is the only sport where you must cooperate with your opponent to win.
Spin. Keep your cadence. Around 80 to 100 pedal revolutions per minute.
When hill-climbing follow your own pace.
When approaching a hill, just as you feel to hill rise, shift two gears lower and spin. You will pass others struggling.
At the top of the hill, shift up two gears and proceed to a swift decente’
Lean into curves with your weight on the outside pedal (Careful not to drag the inside pedal) A bike will take more lean than you think. Trust it.
When descending, tuck to lower your wind resistance, straight back and head parallel to the road, pedals level, except in turns.
On curvy mountain roads, expect the car coming towards you to be encroaching.
If all else fails, lay it down!
Stretch after the ride not before.
Take good care of your bike and it will take good care of you. After a ride wipe clean and re-lube the chain. Recharge your extremely bright LED front and back flashing lights ready for next ride.
Always carry a CO2 cartridge and pump, spare tube and tire tool with you. At some point you will have a flat. Practice how to change a tube.
To fix a flat, turn bike upside down, take the entire wheel off the bike using quick release. Take only one side off tire off rim using tire tool. Pull old tube out, carefully FIND the object that punctured it (Otherwise you will flat again asap). Install new tube, then push tire back onto the rim ( note: the last couple inches use your thumbs to push hard and snap tube on). Inflate tube. Put back on bike. Re-tighten the quick release. Enjoy the rest of your ride. Note sure how to change tire, someone in the group will know😉
If your chain slips off, put it back on and tweak the chain adjusters (or take it to the bike shop).
Older bikers should consider electric assist bicycles. They extend your biking years.
Whether you’re riding in the neighborhood, street, open two lane backroads, racing or not. ENJOY!