Often when people first start cycling it’s common to make newbie mistakes that could easily be avoided. But that’s what happens when you jump into a new hobby, you learn things the hard way. So in an effort to prevent these rookie mistakes from happening to you we have compiled the most common ones to avoid. Please add any others we may have missed.
- Riding with your seat too low. Often new cyclists ride with a low seat because they feel safer since they can touch both feet flat on the ground while siting down. However, this puts a lot of stress on your knees while peddling and severely limits your peddling power.
- You should raise your seat until you have only a slight bend in your knee while your foot is at the bottom of your peddle stroke. You should just be able to touch the ground with your tippy toes.
- Unaware that your bike can be customized to give you a better fit. Fitting your bike properly can prevent body pain and give you a more powerful and efficient ride.
- Be aware of the parts that can be adjusted. For many road bikes the most simple adjustments are the seat height, seat angle, horizontal seat distance, handle bar height, and handle bar angle. For example, if your riding in a high traffic area it may be useful to tilt your handle bars upwards to give you a more upright riding position so you can see and navigate amongst cars. Below is a great, short video that sums up the more important points for a good fit on a road bike.
- Stranded with a flat on the side of the road.
- Get a saddle bag and carry ALL the ingredients to fix a flat. These include a hand pump (or a CO2 cartridge WITH the connector nozzle), tire levers, and spare inner tube(s) (if you have room carry two. Double flats on one ride has happened to more people then you think). If you do group riding dont rely on other people to have what you need.
- Wearing underwear underneath your biking shorts.
- Get them out of there and just wash your bike shorts often.
- Over lubed chain. Great, so your trying to take care of your chain, but make sure your doing it the right way. Your chain should not be wet to the touch. Any excess lube will collect dirt and grime which will shorten your chain life, the exact opposite of its intended purpose.
- After you lube up the chain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then use an old rag to wipe it completely dry.
- Ignoring mechanical issues.
- Bikes are often very low maintenance, but if something does seem lose or noisy try and find out whats wrong and fix it right away. Don’t be intimidated by all the working components on a bike. Bikes are inherently simple machines and many repairs can be done at home with a few basic tools. Make sure your quick release wheels are fully tightened, your shifters and breaks are responsive, and you have high enough air pressure to avoid those flats.