6 Cycling Safety Tips for First-Time Riders

So you’ve decided to get into cycling? Cycling is an excellent way to get exercise and fresh air. You don’t need fancy gear to start a cycling hobby, but you should get a helmet and understand traffic laws for cyclists. Additionally, these six tips should see you safely on your way.

Proper Seat Height

When your seat is too low, you can experience frontal knee pain. When it’s too high, you can get pain in the back of the knee. Measure your inseam and multiply by 0.883. The resulting number should equal the distance measurement between the top of the saddle and the bottom bracket of the seat tube. Your knee should be slightly bent when the foot is pedaling down.

Proper Bike Fit

The size and fit of the bike itself are just as important as the seat height. Your torso and arms should make a 45-degree angle when you are grasping the handlebars. If your reach is too long, you can experience back problems.

Set the Right Pace

Don’t try to take on too much mileage when starting out. Avoid burnout, fatigue and pain by giving your body time to adjust. When on a training run, treat the first third of the ride like a warm-up session. Settle into a comfortable riding tempo for the second part, and finish the third part by giving it your strongest effort.

Refuel Your Body

If you’re out and about for less than two hours, you don’t need to consume any snacks on the bike. For rides over two hours, though, start eating about 45 minutes after your start. Continue to snack every 15 to 20 minutes to avoid going into a hypoglycemic state. However, always bring water, regardless of how long you’re riding.

Identify Hazards

The main cycling hazards for cyclists are related to weather and road conditions. Pay attention to forecasts and heed weather warnings. For example, precipitation causes slippery surfaces and loss of traction. Beware of rough, uneven roads and objects ahead. Slow down on slick surfaces, and walk your bike around obstructions.

Make Safe Choices

Since bicycles are much smaller and more vulnerable than vehicles, you should learn safe behavior patterns in order to protect yourself. Don’t wear headphones and keep both hands on the bars, except when using them for signals in traffic. Always look left, right and left again before entering any roadway. Avoid cycling in the dark or during twilight hours.

Even with proper preparation and care, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Carry a cell phone, and always let people know where you’re going. In a worst-case scenario, like getting hit by a motorist, make sure to follow up with a personal injury attorney at a firm like the Law Office of Daniel E Goodman, LLC. Try to remain as visible as possible, especially at night, and you’ll be able to avoid most issues. Enjoy your new healthy hobby!

the author

"Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan."

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