Tips For Making Your Rides Safe And Less Tiring
A lot of people may know how to ride a bike, but not everybody knows how to share the road with others. In order to be a cyclist in the truest sense of the word, you need to be able ride with others safely and comfortably. And so, to make your rides safe and successful, the following tips and techniques are highly recommended:
Ride a Straight Line to Keep your Strength
As simple as it may sound, riding in a straight line can do wonders for your bike riding! It is not easy; indeed, it takes great skill to ride straight without swerving or drifting away from the line. If you are able to do this, you become more visible in the road, and ultimately, safer.
Why is it so important to ride in a straight line? You see, riding straight means you should have a good sense of balance. This is easier said than done, since it depends on several factors, including how your bike fits your body, the strength of your leg, and your pedaling technique.
When you practice riding in a straight line, keep your eyes ahead, at a distance of about one to two blocks. Furthermore, try riding at different speeds while following a straight, painted line. In time, you will realize that you are not wobbling as much as before.
Another skill that you should master is to glance over your shoulders while riding in a straight line. Practice looking in both directions, to the right and to the left. It will be difficult at first, but you must remember that this is a necessary skill in staying safe while on the road.
Know How and When to Brake
In spite of what some people say, the best way to slow your bike down is by using the front brake. This is because the front brake is more powerful than the rear one. When you squeeze the brake, sit back on your seat so that your body weight goes forward into the bicycle.
Moreover, bear in mind that wheels tend to have limited traction, which can be utilized in accelerating, braking, or cornering. And so, it is best to slow down prior to going into a corner, then release the brakes upon turning so that you can go faster and safer at the same time.
By knowing how and when to brake, you are helping to keep yourself and the people around you safe.
Take Care When Cornering
Take note that cornering relies on your stability, balance, as well as traction. Be sure to turn the pedal in a low position and then press down hard to ensure the strength of your foundation. In addition, press down on the handlebar with your inside hand, so that the bike would lean towards the corner.
Meanwhile, rather than look at your front wheel, glance at about five to 10 meters around the corner instead. Remember that wherever your line of sight is, the bike follows. It would also help to lean as your drop, as this will improve your balance and generate extra leverage on the brakes.
Learn How to Ride with Others
If you are not in a rice, the best position would be in front, behind, or beside your bike buddy, depending on the amount of space available. As much as you can, avoid half-wheeling, which happens when your front wheel overlaps partially with the rear wheel of another biker.
This is dangerous because the other biker might not know that you are behind him or her and bump against your bicycle.
Slow Down Before Stopping
Whether you are stopping for a red light or a first aid station, don’t forget to shift down to an easier gear before you come to a full stop. This makes it easier for you when you start to accelerate again.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Always remember to keep your eyes on the road, even while you are reaching for your water bottle. You must learn how to get your water bottle without looking, as even a quick glance away from the road can cause you to swerve and lose control for a while.
Practice Cycling in Private
If you are just a beginner and riding in busy streets makes you nervous, practice cycling during times when the roads are not so busy, or choose a place where there are few people.
The important thing is that you learn how to ride in a long, straight line smoothly and confidently. You need confidence in order to ride successfully, especially on city roads.
However, if you do not have access to a quiet location and would like to have an extra layer of protection, then consider fitting stabilizers to your rear wheel.
You should not feel ashamed of having to use them, when your personal safety and those of others is at stake. So think carefully and consider investing in a good pair of stabilizers for your bicycle if you truly need them.
Exercise Your Muscles
Aside from focusing on your bike and its parts, do not forget about yourself, too. One of the best ways to improve your riding skills is by keeping your body fit and healthy. We are not just talking about your arms or legs here; you need to work out your entire body.
Whenever you ride your bike, basically all the muscle groups, from your head down to your feet -- are in motion. And so, you need to warm up before you ride, starting with the neck, arms, shoulders, and then down to your legs and knees. Move your limbs in clockwise as well as anti-clockwise movements to stretch your muscles and to keep your body relaxed.
Meanwhile, pay special attention to your back, as it is crucial in the movement of your limbs. Likewise, work out your leg muscles, too, because they are the key to a powerful pedaling stroke technique.
A Final Note:
One final tip in keeping your rides safe is to avoid going out on your bike when you feel really tired or stressed. When your body is tense, your mind will be affected as well, and you would not be able to concentrate properly. When it comes to safety, you need to be both physically and mentally fit.