Cycling is a great escape from the busy roads full of traffic and smoke. It helps you wind through small alleys and allows you to enjoy the fresh wind which whizzes past your face.
Whether you want a reasonably priced vehicle for commuting, going on a tour or stretching your muscles a little—cycling covers it all.
Notwithstanding the development in technology, bicycles will always remain a popular mode of transport. Even today, when you go out in the streets, you will see people riding a bicycle to school or to work.
The bicycle is undoubtedly one of the best inventions of mankind. It does not lead to any pollution and uses simple mechanisms for providing a pleasant experience.
Get a decent bike from a bike shop for long rides with minimal risks of a flat tyre. New riders can join group rides and enjoy riding and learning new tricks. Visit a bike shop to get accurate cycling shorts, energy gels and a decent pair of bike fit clothes.
Get all the advice and remarkable tips for cycling from authentic cycling club members and experienced riders for fun long rides and bike maintenance.
Many of us believe that cycling is a waste of time. When you can reach the same place in ten minutes in an air-conditioned car, why spend thirty minutes pedalling?
Just replace a car, motorbike or public transportation with a bicycle, and you can stay fit without devoting much time. Depending mostly on your use, there are many kinds of bicycles. Here are a few major types of bicycles to help you know which one is right for you.
But, there are many reasons why a bicycle is exactly what you need right now.
- Comes at an affordable price – Almost everyone can afford a bicycle. Cars and motorbikes are much more expensive, and a family often has to save for months to buy one. A bicycle, on the other hand, is extremely cheap compared to cars and is definitely worth its price.
- Lesser maintenance costs – Even if you buy a car, keeping it in proper condition and driving it takes up a major portion of your income. You have to bear the fuel costs, taxes, insurance costs, repair expenses and many more. The fuel expenses alone increase your monthly expenditure by a huge amount. Maintaining a bicycle is cheaper. You can clean and oil the bicycle yourself. You can even pump air into the tires using an air pump. You only need to spend money on inexpensive repairs.
- Easy to learn – Many people find it difficult to drive a car. If you are among these people, then riding a bicycle is the best solution. Learning to ride a bicycle is much easier, too. Once you learn balance, the rest is child’s play. Also, unlike cars, you do not need a license for riding a bicycle. So, if you think you cannot pass a driving test, buy a bicycle right now.
- You can take it anywhere – Bicycles are very small in size, which means you can ride in small alleys and narrow roads with ease. Traffic and crowded roads don’t bother you if you are on a bicycle. Moreover, a bicycle is the best mode of transport for short distances. It is perfect for running errands, or for meeting friends who live a few blocks away.
- Doesn’t matter how old you are – It doesn’t matter whether you are six years old or sixty years old, you can always ride a bicycle. The young riders may use training wheels, while the older riders may opt for recumbent or adult bicycles.No matter how old you are, you cannot be deprived of the pleasure of riding this awesome vehicle.
- Does not emit harmful substances – Cars and motorcycles emit a lot of smoke, which not only harms the environment but also makes roads congested and uncomfortable. On the contrary, bicycles do not emit any smoke at all. The manufacturing of bicycles is also environmentally friendly. A bicycle consists of simple parts joined together with nuts and bolts. Thus, the bicycle factories cause almost no pollution compared to car factories.
When was the bicycle was invented?
Don’t worry, I won’t bore you much with history, just a brief introduction of how this product came into being.
Baron Karl von Drais, a German, invented the first bicycle in 1817. It looked very different from the modern bicycle, but the idea was pretty much the same. It had two wheels and the rider was supposed to balance the cycle.
Now, what was the first bicycle called?
It was called Draisienne, Laufmaschine or “The Dandy Horse.” However, this model didn’t have any pedals, and the rider was supposed to push the vehicle with his or her feet while controlling the direction through the front tires.
Then in the early 1860s, French inventors Pierre Lallement and Pierre Michaux invented a model which had a large front tire and pedals to make riding easier.
Many developments followed, with the aim of increasing speed and enhancing comfort. Brakes, wheels, locks and pedals were developed until the vehicle was modified to the version we know today.
Cycling became immensely popular in the late 1800s. In the 1870s, cycling clubs opened in various places, and races and tours became quite common. This was a time when horses were the main mode of transport.
In 1888, the Raleigh Bicycle Company was founded in the city of Nottingham in England. This went on to become the biggest bicycle manufacturing company.
In 1905, Paul de Vivie, a French cyclist and writer, invented the first rear derailleur gear with two-speed settings.
Many innovations were added to this design in the 19th century until we reached the current gear pattern, which resembles a slant parallelogram in shape. Today, SRAM (Scott, Ray and Sam) of the USA, Shimano of Japan and Campagnolo of Italy are the main manufacturers of bicycle derailleur gears.
How does a Bicycle work?
The inner workings of a bicycle are a perfect example of how the simple laws of physics can do the most wonderful things.
The bicycle converts the energy you exert in pedalling to move forward. Almost no energy is wasted during this process, thus making a bicycle the most efficient vehicle ever invented.
When you push the pedal, the crank arm rotates, which in turn sets the chain into motion. The chain is connected to the hub of the back wheel.
As the chain moves, the rear tyre starts rotating too, and the cycle begins to move forward. The front wheel catches the momentum started by the back tyre and the bicycle starts moving forward rapidly. The harder you push the pedals, the faster the bicycle goes.
You can steer the bicycle with the handle. When you move the handle to the right, the bicycle moves towards the right, and vice versa. Go to a local bike shop to understand the huge difference between the front brake and rear brake of bicycles.
Also, you need to balance yourself and keep your back straight. Leaning towards a particular side will tilt the bicycle in that direction, thus increasing the risk of falling.
The Working of the Brakes
Bicycles have brake levers attached to the handle. These brake levers are connected with the front and rear wheels through cables.
In order to stop the bicycle, the rider needs to press these levers. These brake levers work in two ways depending on the type of bicycle you own.
Most bicycles use traditional rubber blocks to bring the bicycle to a halt. When the levers are pressed, two rubber blocks press into the rim of the wheels. This causes friction between the wheel and the block, thus forcing the bike to stop.
Some modern bicycles have car-like brakes. These are called disc brakes. The wheels have a metal disc in the middle.
When the levers are pressed, a brake pad slams into the metal disc, causing the disc to stop moving. Being attached to the disc, the wheels also stop moving, thus bringing the bicycle to rest.
It is widely believed that disc brakes are more efficient. Rim brakes are exposed to climatic conditions like rain, which may reduce friction and lessen the effectiveness of the brakes. Disc brakes, on the other hand, have no such drawback.
The choice of the brake also depends on the purpose for which you are buying a bicycle.
Some bicycles also have coaster brakes. In order to halt these bicycles, you need to pedal backwards, that is, in the opposite direction. However, most bicycles have brake levers.
Though the chain is the heart of the bicycle, it is extremely important to keep your brakes in good condition. Improper brakes may lead to accidents.
Many people use their feet to stop the bicycle, but that brings the bicycle to a sudden halt, which may push your head towards the handlebars and cause serious injuries, especially if you are riding at a high speed.
The Working of the Gears
Gears are wheels fitted with teeth, linked to the chain and designed to multiply the efforts of the rider. Gears help the cyclist cover a longer distance in a single turn of the pedals.
The gears provide speed when going straight, and provide strength when going uphill. Bigger wheels also provide speed, but they are risky when going downhill.
Gears are a great addition to traditional bicycles, as they ensure comfort and speed.
Gears transmit the force from the pedals to the rear wheel in order to multiply force or speed, depending upon the setting in which you have kept the gear. When you apply force near the pedals, the gear wheel turns in a specific direction which multiplies speed.
This wheel is connected to another gear wheel which moves in the opposite direction, providing force but decreasing speed. So, you are supposed to put the gear in a setting that favours the road you are cycling on.
But you cannot gain anything without losing something. Gears have a drawback too. You cannot use force and speed at the same time.
If the gear provides you with speed, it will reduce the force and vice versa. Needless to say, when you are riding uphill, the gear should be set to increase strength by multiplying force, and when you are cycling on flat terrain, you should set the gear to increase speed.
So, one can definitely say that a gear completes the bicycle.
Benefits of Cycling:
The health benefit of riding a bicycle is immense. Let’s take a look at some of them.
If you start riding a bicycle, you will not need a gym subscription. Cycling is especially useful in toning your legs. Cycling helps you lose about 400-1000 calories in an hour. So if you keep your diet in check and cycle daily, you will never have to worry about being overweight.
Keeps you active and energetic
Cycling exercises almost all your major muscles (especially your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes). It also helps in preventing and curing pain in joints. This helps regular riders stay active throughout their old age. When you start cycling regularly, your muscles slowly get accustomed to the workout. This improves your stamina and enhances the endurance of your muscles.
Helps you stay away from diseases
Regular cycling prevents your body from various diseases. Cycling five days a week for thirty minutes reduces the risk of infections by almost 50%. It ensures that the immune cells are working properly.
Some studies have shown that regular exercise (for example, cycling to work) can reduce the risk of cancer by almost fifty percent. It ensures that the cells work properly, and also reduces the risk of breast cancer in women.
Key to a sound mind
Cycling takes away all your stress and helps fight depression and anxiety. It also helps you to fight insomnia, as working out ensures that you sleep more deeply. Research has shown that regular cycling can increase sleep time by about an hour. Cycling also enhances the ability of your brain by about fifteen percent. This is because when you cycle, you use almost ten times more oxygen. Many artists and writers get creative and innovative ideas by cycling. Cycling also improves the ability to think of solutions to problems.
Reduces risk of heart disease
Cycling helps in burning cholesterol and keeps your weight in check. This reduces the risk of blocked veins. Exercise also increases your heart rate, which facilitates the flow of blood in the body.
Cycling twenty miles per week can reduce the chances of heart disease by about half. Some doctors believe that if people stay fit, almost 10,000 life-threatening heart attacks can be avoided every year.
Cycling is a great exercise for people with Type 2 Diabetes. It improves blood circulation in the lower portion of your body, thus reducing the swelling and pain in your feet.
Cycling also uses up the glucose present in your cells, which helps in reducing your blood sugar level.
Cycling saves time
Cycling helps you reach your destination faster by allowing you to avoid the crowded streets, and go through narrow alleys. Also, you do not need to search for a parking spot for your bicycle. You can park it in a small space, and can easily lock it to prevent theft. You don’t even need to pay for parking your bicycle!
Stay fit on the go
In today’s busy life, people don’t even get time to exercise. Riding a bicycle helps you exercise while you are on your way to work.
Types of Bicycles
As the name suggests, this bicycle is more useful for off-road cycling. If you are planning to go hiking, riding uphill or riding on unpaved surfaces, this is a perfect choice. In order to fulfil this purpose, this bicycle has small and broad tires with deep treads. These ensure a stronger grip, which prevents the cycle from toppling off steep slopes. Also, the bicycle has strong brakes, so that you can stop the bicycle at the right time.
The Mountain Bicycle also called the All-Terrain Bicycle (ATB) has a low gear ratio, which multiplies force, but reduces speed.
BMX stands for bicycle motocross, and these bicycles are designed mostly for people who bike for sport. These are generally racing bikes, with lighter frames made of carbon or aluminum. Modern BMX bicycles have smaller gears to ensure lighter weight and easy clearance. This bicycle comes in various models: – Freestyle BMX (FBMX) bicycles are designed for riding in parks. It distinguishes itself by removing unnecessary burdens through the smooth transfer of weight. – Dirt FBMX bikes have tires with a better grip to ensure safety in slippery areas.- Racing BMX bicycles have bigger front sprockets, leading to a higher gear ratio, which enhances speed.- Street FBMX bikes are meant for rough streets. This bicycle is heavier and stronger, enabling the vehicle to sustain damage. Generally, these bicycles do not have brakes in order to prevent the brake cable from hindering the act of turning. The rider stops the bicycle by putting his/her foot against the back tyres.
The Road bicycles are meant for riding speedily on paved streets. These are similar to racing bicycles but also focus on endurance. Whereas racing bicycles are only concerned with speed. The handlebars of the bicycle are bent forward, which forces the rider to lean, thus reducing the air resistance. Road bicycles generally have narrow and smooth tires to ensure speed on streets.
These bicycles are useful for leisure riding, for example, going on a family picnic, running errands or going on a ride just to enjoy the beauty of nature. These may be considered a more comfortable version of mountain bicycles. The handlebars are settled at a higher position and the seat is filled with foam or gel to maximize comfort. Comfort bicycles have wider tires with larger treads, filled with more air, so that the ride is not bouncy and small pebbles do not cause discomfort. Apart from this, the bicycle also has a suspension system to reduce or absorb shocks.
Hybrid bicycles are a smooth blend of road, mountain and touring bicycles. This enables the riders to use them in varied situations. These are characterized by large wheels found in road bicycles. The wheels are narrow and have smaller treads to maximize speed.
This bicycle has straight handlebars so that the rider can sit in the upright position for maximum comfort. This also facilitates mountain riding.
Hybrid bicycles usually have carriers attached at the back, which is mostly found in touring bicycles. This allows them to be used while travelling, or by commuters.
A comfort bicycle is designed solely for comfort, and a hybrid bicycle focuses more on fulfilling multiple purposes.
Touring bicycles have features to ensure a comfortable ride when you go on tours. These bicycles come with a variety of handlebars, which you can choose according to your convenience.
Also, the seat is soft with a comfortable saddle, so that you can travel for long hours without much discomfort.
Needless to say, the bicycle has a carrier with bottle cages, luggage racks and fenders, so that you can carry your luggage without worrying about getting them soiled.
The wheels are strong enough so that they don’t burst under the weight of heavy luggage.
A recumbent bicycle takes comfort to the next level. It allows the rider to lie back while riding the bicycle.
The front tire wheels are generally smaller than the back wheel to prevent the pedals from colliding with the front wheel.
The frame is extended in the front to hold the pedals. As you recline in the seat, you need to extend your legs towards the pedals to push them. You are almost lying down while riding this bicycle.
The recumbent bicycles have suspensions on the front and rear wheels to absorb shock and ride on rough surfaces with ease.
Looking at the name of this bicycle, people often assume that it is nothing but a motorcycle. Do you need to pedal on a motorcycle? No. But you do have to pedal on an electric bicycle.
The electric bicycle only has a small motor to assist the rider. It multiplies the rider’s effort and assists in helping them ride the bicycle easily.
A major benefit of electric bicycles is that most countries do not have strict laws regarding the ownership and use of such bicycles.
The bicycles use rechargeable batteries. This is easy to use and environmentally friendly. Electric bicycles can provide an incredible speed of 25 km/h-45 km/h depending upon the model you purchase.
This bicycle has been designed for more than one rider to ride. The seats are arranged one behind the other.
Multi-rider bicycles, mostly twin bicycles, can go faster than bicycles with one rider. This is one of the major reasons behind the popularity of tandem (twin-rider) bicycle races.
These bicycles are mostly used in Paralympics for the visually impaired and other similar events. You may also use it for tours. Also, many parks nowadays have tandem bicycles for entertainment
These bicycles can be folded into a very compact form so that you can take them on public transportation and store them easily in a small space.
A folding bicycle is smaller than conventional bicycles in overall size. This difference is mostly due to the distances between the handlebars, the bottom bracket and the saddle. Folding bicycles also have smaller wheels.
The folding mechanism of bicycles varies with the model purchased. The main mechanisms are the mid-fold system, vertical folding, triangle hinges, magnet folding, etc.
The basic purpose of these bicycles is to increase portability and make them easier to store. If you want to go out of town cycling, you can easily carry your bicycle on public transport like trains or buses.
Many airlines allow passengers to take folding bicycles as luggage.
These bicycles are designed to transport cargo. They have containers attached either in the front or back, and the rider has to apply more force to bear the weight of the cargo.
There are many types of cargo bicycles:
– Cycle Truck has a smaller front wheel and a larger rear wheel. The backside tyre generally measures twenty-six inches, and the front wheel twenty inches.
– Boda Boda bicycles may be called bicycle taxis. They have a comfortable foam seat attached behind the saddle for the customer to sit. They are more popular in East Africa.
– Long John Bicycles have a long box or basket located in front of the handlebars at a low position. The front wheel (attached to the basket in the front) can be steered through a link mechanism that connects it to the handlebars.
– Off-road Long John Bicycles are a variety of Long John Bicycles which can be used on tough terrains like mud, snow or sand by using broader tires and electric motors.
– Longtail Bicycles are easier to adapt to than other cargo bicycles because they have a container at the back, which does not change the steering mechanism like Long John Bicycles.
– Tricycles or Cycle Rickshaws are used to carry passengers and goods over short distances. A fabric cover may be added to provide protection against weather
These bicycles are used for commuting, that is, for transportation from home to work and back. Commuting bicycles have racks for storage so that you can carry your bag easily. They have battery-powered lights to increase visibility, so you can ride your bicycle on your way home, even at night.
This bicycle has a chain guard which protects your clothes from getting soiled. It also has fenders to provide protection against the weather.
The handles of the Commuting Bicycle are located close to the seat so that you can ride in an upright position. This improves visibility and is more comfortable.
These bicycles have been designed keeping in mind the safety of young riders. The bicycles are appropriate for 5-6-year-old kids.
These bicycles generally have a basket attached to the handle to keep water bottles and other things. They have removable training wheels and are a great way to teach cycling to your children from the very beginning.
For 3-4-year-old children, there are tricycles. These have one wheel in the front which has pedals attached, and two backside tyres. Tricycles are safer and smaller to help small children learn to pedal.
Adult trikes look similar to recumbent bicycles, as they also have a recliner seat, which distributes the rider’s weight equally between the front and rear wheels.
However, this bicycle is different from the recumbent bicycles in the way that recumbent bicycles have only one smaller front tire, while adult trikes have two front tires arranged side by side.
The seat is positioned almost between the two tires, and this brings the pedals closer to the seat compared to recumbent bicycles. The arrangement of the wheels also facilitates balancing.
Adult trikes are appropriate for people who face trouble balancing, or just want to enjoy cycling without using effort to balance the bicycle. It can also be used for transportation.
The Parts of a Bicycle And Essentials
A bicycle is made of simple machines. Simple laws of physics do wonders to make this vehicle.
The frame is actually a combination of metal rods that acts as the basic support for the bicycle. Mostly, the frame of ordinary bicycles is made of an alloy of steel and aluminum, or hollow tubes of steel.
Racing bicycles are made of a stronger, lighter and rust-proof material which is more expensive.
The main function of the frame is to distribute your weight evenly between the front and the back tyres. It consists of the top rod (supporting the steering), down rod (supporting the pedal), seat tube and seat stay (which supports the seat) and the chain stay (which supports the chain).
The wheel also has subparts. The spokes (thin metal sticks) are attached to the hub (centre) of the wheel and support the rim. The rim has a valve to blow air inside the tube. This tube should be filled completely with air to ensure a smooth ride.
The hub of the wheel distributes the weight of the rider to the spokes (there are about twenty-four of them). This distribution is uneven and the weight born by each spoke changes rapidly as the wheel rotates. This ensures that while riding uphill or downhill, the rider doesn’t lose balance and fall.
The wheel is made of a rubber tube filled with compressed air. This ensures that the bicycle is light and can move forward easily. This tube has treads to improve grip.
Generally, racing bicycles have smooth and bigger tires, which maximize speed, while mountain bicycles have thicker and smaller tires with better grip to ensure safety.
Clearly, this is the area where the rider is supposed to sit and ride. This is also called the saddle area. It consists of the main saddle (seat) and the seat post, which is a metal rod designed to keep the seat in a high position. Usually, the height of the seat can be adjusted to some extent. learn more about the best bike saddle.
The seat is settled at a distance from the handle. This implies that the rider has to lean forward, which distributes his weight almost equally between the front and rear wheels.
The pedal is where the rider applies force. The pedal is rotatable for ease of use. This area also includes the crank arm—a rod connecting the pedal with the chain mechanism. When the pedal is turned, the crank arm also moves, thus setting the chain into motion. Here you can find the best pike pedal.
Handle and Brakes
The handle is attached to the front wheel with the help of the head rod. It is in the form of a ‘T’ and helps you steer the vehicle.
The handle also has brake levers attached, which when pressed, put both wheels to a stop.
The levers are connected to the front and back wheel with the help of cables. Some bicycles have coaster brakes. This means that in order to stop the bicycle, you have to pedal backwards.
The chain may be described as the heart of the bicycle. It is the most important part of the bicycle which keeps it working. It is made of metal pins linked together.
When the rider pedals, the chain moves and sets the hub of the wheel into motion. This rotates the backside wheel, which sets the bicycle into motion. The front wheel catches momentum and the cycle starts moving
Gears are basically wheels fitted with teeth, which are connected to the chain. Gears are essential because they offer speed on plain terrain and strength on hilly terrain. This reduces effort, making cycling more comfortable and enjoyable
Removable Training Wheels
Learning to balance on a bicycle can be pretty tough. In order to help beginners, bicycles come with training wheels, which can be removed once you learn to cycle.
Training wheels are two broad wheels attached to either side of the rear wheel of the bicycle, and they keep the bicycle straight.
When these wheels are attached, the bicycle will not lose balance, thus making it safe to ride even if you do not know how to balance. Once you think that you can balance the bicycle on your own, you can remove the training wheels.
This is an optional part that you may or may not add to your bicycle. A toe clip is attached to the pedal and covers the front part of your feet. This helps maintain a proper posture for your legs, which increases strength and speed. It also protects your feet from dirt or mud.
A carrier is an optional part attached behind the saddle. This is useful for those who want to carry luggage while riding. The device is structured so that you can attach bags to the sides and keep something at the top of the carrier.
Water Bottle Clip
This optional part is especially useful for those who ride long distances on a bicycle. The clip is attached to the seat tube or the down tube and is designed to attach to a water bottle.
Headlights and Rear Lights
The purpose of these is almost the same as in cars or motorcycles. The headlights illuminate the road a few meters ahead and facilitate riding in the dark.
The rear lights have the function of making the people behind you aware of your presence. This helps in avoiding accidents in the dark.
As a bicycle enthusiast, getting the perfect bike is only half the battle won. There are cycle essentials that you’ll need such as a helmet, bike lock, front and rear light, water bottle holder, pump, spare tubs, phone mount, etc.
Popular Bicycle Brands
Started in 1972 by King Liu, Giant Manufacturing Company Ltd. manufactures bicycles in the Netherlands, Taiwan and China. The company is especially famous for its mountain bikes and is preferred by professionals and champions. They also offer hybrid bicycles.
John Burke founded this bicycle company in 1976. It has many brand names like Trek, Gary Fisher, Bontrager and Villiger Bikes. Trek bicycles are characterized by tough frames and smart construction. They manufacture mountain, road and city bicycles.
Specialized Bicycle Components Inc. is an American bicycle company founded by Mike Sinyard in 1974. It is based in California. The brand uses its own alloy called Functional Advanced Composite Technology (FACT).
If you are looking for a mountain or road bicycle that is light and strong at the same time, this brand is ideal for you.
This Swiss company was started in 1958 by Ed Scott. The company introduced the aerodynamic handlebars in 1989 and the suspension fork called “Unishock” in 1991.
The company places more emphasis on European markets and introduced the first mountain bicycle with full suspension in 1992.
Founded in 1971, the company has headquarters in Connecticut, and assembly and manufacturing facilities in Taichung, Taiwan and China. Cannondale Bicycle Corporation produces different kinds of high-quality bicycles.
The frames are made of aluminum and carbon fibre which make them appropriate for professionals.
F.I.V. Edoardo Bianchi S.p.A is the oldest bicycle manufacturing company that is still active. Bianchi was founded by Edoardo Bianchi in 1885 in Italy. The company introduced the public to equal-sized tires and pneumatic tires.
The cycles are conventionally Celeste (Bianchi green) in colour, even though the shade has changed over the years.
This bicycle company was founded by Richard Long and Gary Turner in California in 1972. GT manufactures mountain, BMX and road bicycles. The bicycles were manufactured in the USA and the company is now a division of Dorel Industries of Canada.
Fuji Bikes was founded in Japan in 1899 by Okazaki Kyūjirō. The company’s name and logo are inspired by Mount Fuji located in Japan. It symbolizes strength and endurance—the distinguishing feature of Fuji Bicycles. In the USA, the company is owned and managed by Advanced Sports International (ASI).
A bike shop is a great place to get cycling tips in an easy way and go faster every time with new skills. Not checking the inner tube is a common mistake made by a road cyclist. Do not fall for impartial buying advice as they may suggest the wrong clothes for cycling.
Check the bicycle
Before getting on the bicycle, check all the parts properly. Make sure the tires are filled tightly with air and are not worn. Oil the chains and ensure that the handlebars and the brake levers work properly. Also, check that the seat is adjusted and locked at the proper height.
Protect yourself from injuries
Always wear a helmet while riding. The helmet should be properly secured. The gap between the strap and your chin should tighten so that two fingers, at most, can fit there. The helmet should cover your forehead properly and the edge of the helmet should be slightly above your eyebrows.
Wear guards to protect your knees and elbows. These are essential because if you fall the knees and elbows are damaged the most. Make sure your shoelaces are properly tied, so they don’t get tangled with the pedals.
Make yourself visible
If you have to ride at night, make sure you are visible to other drivers. Use rear lights to make the drivers behind you aware of your presence. Use reflectors on the front, rear, spokes and pedals.
Moreover, wear light-coloured clothes at night. Even in semi-darkness, follow these rules to stay safe. During the daytime, wear bright-coloured clothes, and if possible, avoid riding at night.
Follow traffic rules
Even if you are not in a car, traffic rules must be obeyed. You should follow the basic traffic rules regarding traffic signals and other signs.
Apart from this, you should flow with the traffic. Even though your bicycle can easily wind in and out of traffic, you should try to avoid this because the car drivers may not notice you. This can lead to serious accidents. Make sure your moves are predictable.
Indicate your next move
Always let people know about your next move. Use hand signals to indicate whether you want to go right, left, or if you want to stop.
Use the bell or horn when you turn into a street. This will alert the vehicles in that street, and thus help to avoid collisions. Be extra careful at crossings and intersections.
Your safety is in your hands. It is extremely important that you concentrate on the road ahead, and stay away from all distractions.
Never listen to music or talk on the phone while riding. Otherwise, you may not hear the horns of other vehicles. Always look straight towards the road, and not towards the pedals. Stay alert and watch out for small hazards like big stones or opening car doors.
Keep first-aid handy
Accidents never knock on your door before entering. If you think you are going on a busy road or to a place where accidents are common, keep a first-aid box with you.
If you are riding in summer, keep a water bottle with you to stay hydrated. Carry some food if you are going on a long ride. This will keep you energized.
Learning to Ride a Bicycle
Many believe that riding a bicycle is really tough, but in reality, it is almost like walking. Learn to balance and learn to push your legs forward. And once you learn cycling, you will never forget it.
So, check the steps to learn cycling.
Choose the right bicycle
Before starting to ride, ensure that the bicycle is appropriate for you, not only in terms of design but also in size. You should choose a bicycle which is perfect for your height.
How can you choose the right size? Simple. Sit on the bike and your feet should touch the ground. Also, you should be able to reach the handlebars and brake levers.
Choose the right place
Since you are a beginner, you should ride in a place that is safe and easy. Avoid crowded areas, and look for a park or open area. You may prefer a grassy area, as that will help you avoid serious injuries in case you fall.
It is advised that you start riding on a flat terrain where it is easy to balance. Start with a flat, paved road, as riding on rough surfaces can be very risky
Learn to balance
In order to ride the bicycle, you will have to first balance the vehicle. Once you learn balancing, half of the work is done. The best way to learn to balance is to glide on a bicycle. For this, you may choose a place that slopes down a bit, as that will make gliding easier.
Leaning opposite to the direction in which you are falling is the key to balancing. This means that if you feel you are falling towards your right, lean towards your left, and vice versa
Glide with or without training wheels
If you want to learn with training wheels, you should gradually push the wheels up. When you begin, let the training wheels touch the ground, and glide.
By gliding, we mean that you push the bicycle forward with the help of your legs and then let it move forward. Then, after a few days, push the training wheels up a little so the wheels do not touch the ground. Make sure they can still support the bicycle when it tilts because that is when you lose balance. Keep on doing this, until you do not need the training wheels at all.
Learning without training wheels is faster, but also riskier. You have to push the bicycle forward with your legs, and then try to balance as the bicycle moves forward. Keep on trying until you can glide for at least 4-5 seconds without losing balance.
Practice getting off and on the bicycle
It is extremely important that you are comfortable with your bicycle. You should practice getting on and off the bicycle until you are comfortable, and feel like you are not using any effort in doing so. This will help you get accustomed to your bicycle and prevent you from losing balance while getting on or off the bicycle.
It is easier to use your dominant foot to mount the bicycle. Suppose you are left-handed then stand on the right side of the bicycle. Keep your right leg planted firmly on the ground, lift your left leg over the seat, and put it on the left side of the bicycle, then lower yourself slowly on the seat, while ensuring that you sit straight.
Walk beside the bicycle while pushing it
You should hold the bicycle by its handlebars and push the bicycle while you walk beside it. This will help you get familiar with the weight of your bicycle, so you won’t feel uncomfortable while riding and pushing the bicycle forward.
Practice applying the brakes
Brakes are an extremely important component of bicycles as they ensure safety. So once you practice applying the brakes, you will feel safe riding the bicycle, because you know you can easily stop it if required. While applying the brakes, make sure you press both the levers with equal force and at the same time.
One brake lever controls one wheel. To make it easier, let us suppose the left lever controls the front wheel, and the right lever controls the rear wheel. If you press the left lever with lesser force or press it later, the front wheel will not stop at the same time as the rear wheel. So, the bicycle may skid, and you can lose balance. Similarly, if the rear wheel does not stop at the right time, the bicycle may pitch forward.
Pedal and start riding!
After you have learned to balance and have familiarized yourself with your bicycle, you have to learn to pedal and balance simultaneously. Sit on the saddle and put your dominant foot on the pedal (which should be in a higher position, so you can push it down).
The non-dominant one should rest on the ground for balance. Push the pedal hard, and as the bicycle jerks forward, pull your non-dominant foot up onto the pedal, and push the pedal again. Keep on pushing the pedal, and voila! You have learned to ride the bicycle.
Hold the saddle and handlebars
If you are not sure that you can balance the bicycle properly, ask someone to hold the saddle and handlebars as you pedal. This will not only protect you from falling, but you will stay confident that even if you lose balance, your friend will not let you fall. Ask your friend to leave the bicycle once he/she feels you are confident enough.
Now that you have learned to ride straight, it’s time you learn to turn. Steer the handle in the direction in which you want to turn. Do this slowly and turn the handle only slightly. Slow down the speed of the bicycle when the turn is approaching. If you try to turn at a high speed, you will lose control of the bicycle. Also, do not try sharp turns in the very beginning.
Take care of your vehicle
If you want a smooth and safe ride every day, take good care of your bicycle. Always keep the tires filled tightly with air.
Clean and oil the chains at regular intervals to avoid rusting. Clean the bicycle at least once a week, and make sure both the brakes work properly.
Learning to ride a bicycle may take time. You may face a lot of failures, but after all, failures are the stepping stones to success. So keep trying, because it’s worth it.
Summing it up
The bicycle is one of the best inventions of mankind. It proves that the simplest things can be the best.
The bicycle is not only a mode of transport but an exercise to keep you fit. You can ride a bicycle just for fun or take part in bicycle races. It is next to impossible to list all the benefits of riding a bicycle in one place
It keeps your body and minds healthy and active. It takes you far from all the stress and introduces you to the beauty of life. It is easy to learn and amazing to ride. You can take it everywhere, on every street and corner of your city, and to every city.
Through this article, I tried my best to tell you everything about this amazing vehicle. From the invention of the first bicycle to the most recent developments. I hope that you got to know everything you wanted to know.
What are you waiting for now? Buy your bicycle, learn to ride, and explore the beauty of the world on two wheels. The streets are waiting for you to ride through. Enjoy the journey!
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Get accurate cycling tips for a professional bike fit clothes, cycling sunglasses, clipless pedals and more that can make a huge difference when you ride your road bike or mountain bike. Cycling club members hand out cycling tips for new riders and new cyclists. Other riders have the basic tools for most bikes based on their personal preference that offers pedalling efficiency for different tyre pressures.
New cyclists should wear the yellow jersey for the safety of other road users. Apart from learning new skills check out the top tips to avoid common mistakes and find out about other factors to overcome the common problem of riding.
A mountain bike and a road bike have several differences. Visit a local bike shop or check out the Mountain Biking UK magazine for accurate bike maintenance cycling tips. A beginner cyclist should also get a test ride to check tyre levers and pedal stroke.
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