Bicycling is one of the most useful skills that a person can have. It offers a way to stay in shape and run errands at the same time, all while saving money on gasoline. It’s also a valuable hobby that provides a chance to explore nature and bond with other cyclists. Learning to ride a bike does take some effort, but the rewards are more than enough to justify that effort. There are even a few ways to make the learning process quicker and easier.
Choose the Right Bike
The first step in learning how to ride is getting your hands on a bicycle. There are a lot of different types and styles, so it’s usually best to start with rentals and try a couple of different models before you pick one to purchase. When renting, choose the bike that is designed for the task at hand. If you intend to go on rough terrain, choose a mountain bike. If you’re going to ride through the city, choose a road bike. It’s also important to choose a bike that is sized properly for you. In most cases, there will be someone at the rental shop who can help with this if you have any trouble.
Women’s bikes deserve some special attention. Men and women tend to have different body types, so getting the right type of bike is important for maximizing comfort. Women’s bikes are also more likely to come with accessories such as wheel guards, which can prevent long skirts from getting caught in the bike. Most people can manage with a bike designed for the opposite sex in an emergency, but it’s much better to get the right type whenever possible.
Keep at It
You will make some mistakes when you get started on your new bike. Most people manage to start biking adequately well within a few hours, but you should expect wobbling and sudden stops before that point. As long as you keep trying instead of giving up when you have trouble, you’ll eventually get better. If you’re embarrassed about your mistakes, try to practice in a secluded area where people are unlikely to see you. You only need a little bit of space to go in a straight line and try basic turning when you learn, so finding a private area shouldn’t be too difficult.
Since you should expect to fall a couple of times when learning, you should make a point of wearing safety gear. Everyone should wear a helmet while biking, but you should also wear thick and durable clothing to reduce the risk of road rash.
Choose Simple Routes
Biking, just like driving a car, is much easier in some places than in others. When you’re starting out, you should stick to places that are easy to handle. The most important thing is avoiding places with crowded roads or lots of tight turns. Those places provide plenty of chances for collisions, so they’re best reserved for more experienced cyclists. Roads with too many benches, lamps, or other objects along the side of the route are also dangerous, because they have less margin for error when turning. Rough wilderness paths with roots and rocks on the road are also best avoided.
Parks and secluded streets are usually the best choice. They’re paved, so you don’t need to worry about rough roads, but they tend not to be too crowded. Empty parking lots are a perfect choice for people who want to practice their turns.
Try a Class
You don’t need to learn on your own. There are plenty of classes for adult bicyclists, and they offer advantages beyond teaching basic skills. Most of the instructors will also pass on information about the best places to bike in the area and safety tips for biking in adverse conditions.
Bring a Repair Kit
Every biker should carry a basic repair kit when they hit the road, but it’s more important for novices. New bikers are more likely to get into accidents and less likely to recognize dangers when they see them, which means that their bike is more likely to sustain damage. Simply being able to mend a flat tire and fill it with air will be vital for ensuring that you can reliably reach your destination. Be sure to look up instructions on all the basic procedures before you go for your first long-distance trip. Most classes will cover this information, so this is most important for people who are learning on their own.