Road biking is a terrific exercise, and it is also something you can do on multiple levels. You may opt for a slow, scenic ride, or step up the pace for a cardio workout. Biking seamlessly makes the transition from recreation to transportation, plus it’s an environmentally friendly activity.
So, if you’re someone starting out on road biking and want to know all the useful guides to it, then this article is for you. Here, you’ll learn helpful tips and guides. In addition to this, I will provide you the basics on how to ride a bike such as shifting gears, descending, and turning your bike, too!
Getting the Right Fit
This should be something you work on the moment you get your own bike. It doesn’t matter if you are just a recreational ride, it’s important to get your bike set up properly. A bad set-up bike compromises your technique and can lead to injuries. It’s also uncomfortable, reducing the likelihood of your training regularly.
Commonly, people have the saddle too high (a telltale sign is if you rock in the saddle) or too low, which reduces your power and overall efficiency. To fix this, you may go to a specialist store to get fitted and explain what your goals are for cycling so they can fit it perfectly for you.
When looking for road bikes and gears in the market, go to a specialist bike shop for expert advice, rather than a department store, and spending so much more than you’re supposed to.
- Helmet. The first necessary accessory you’ll need is a helmet. Make sure that it is well-ventilated and easily adjustable. Other factors must include absorbent pads for moisture control and an adjustment dial to tighten or loosen the cradle that holds the helmet to your head.
- Bike shorts. Almost as important is a pair of decent bike shorts. In the market, there are loads of styles and brands to choose from – but prioritize ones that have good padding and a seamless inside leg for anti-chafing.
- Road bikes shoes and clipless pedals. Well, you can ride a bike in just about any shoes, but anyone who rides regularly can benefit from shoes designed specifically for bicycling. The stiff sole of these shoes will allow you to transmit force through the ball of the foot. And to hold your feet securely on the bicycle, cycling shoes are usually paired with “clipless” pedals. This offers excellent control with a minimum amount of your pedaling energy lost.
How to Ride a Road Bike
- Cycling cadence. As the terrain around you changes on your ride, you will be needing to shift gears in order to maintain a steady cadence. Under most conditions, it’s usually most efficient to pedal between 80-100 revolutions per minute (rpm). When you turn the pedals at a much faster or slower cadence, there’s a higher chance for you to fatigue quickly. If you encounter problems at pedaling at an average cadence, then you’re probably riding in too high of a gear. To solve this, simply shift to a lower gear. The same goes for when you are pedaling too fast or meeting no resistance – it’s time for you to shift up to a harder gear.
- Pedaling efficiency. Instead of just pushing down on your pedals on the downstroke and pulling up on the upstroke, three-time Tour de France winner Greg Lemond has a tip for you: When you pull your foot through the bottom of the stroke, imagine you’re scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe.
Front chainrings, rear cassette, chain, derailleurs, shifters comprise the five main parts of the standard bicycle that let you shift gears and change how easy it is to pedal your bike.
The left shifters control the front chainrings while the right shifters control the rear cassette. To have a large jump in the resistance of the pedals, use your left shifter. While using your right shifter will fine-tune the resistance. Ideally, you should feel some resistance but not so much that it is difficult to pedal smoothly.
Use only one shifter at a time and only shift when you’re pedaling, or else you may mis-shift, causing the chains to jam or drop the chain off the chainrings or cassette. Also, don’t pick a gear that will put your chain on opposite extremes of the front cogs and rear cassette at the same time. This is called cross-chaining, it most likely causes your chain to drop or break.
Here’s another helpful tip as well – try to anticipate the terrain and shift just before you need to. And when you approach a stop, it is prudent to shift down, so you can easily get started again from a fully stopped position.
Descending on Your Road Bike
When getting ready to descend, all you need to do is move toward the back of the saddle and place your feet level. This will keep your center of gravity over the bike, protect your pedals from hitting the pavement on sharp turns and allow yourself to shift your weight side to side as needed to help you handle tighter curves.
Turning on Your Road Bike
When getting ready to turn, make sure to brake and slow your speed before entering the turn. Head for the outside corner of the turn then lean the bike into the turn (not your body) by gently pushing on the handlebar and pedal on the inside of the turn. As you come out of the turn, you can start pedaling again.
Following this technique of leaning will allow you to navigate the turn more easily, with only a nominal adjustment in the actual handlebar.
We hope that this beginner’s guide will be a great help for your road biking journey. Remember to start with the right goals and follow them. Together with that and this helpful information, you will surely come a long way with this journey!