Biking is a great hobby to have. It’s a lot of fun whether you do it alone or with other people, and there are a million different places you can go! You can have leisurely bike rides, more difficult rides, rides in your home town, rides on name it, you can do it on your bike!

One particular reason I love biking is that it helps me to stay fit without even really realising it because I’m having so much fun. This guide will take you through everything you need to know if you’re a biking newbie, so you can find the perfect bike and know just how to use it!

Selecting the Perfect Bike

Before you can pick the perfect bike for your requirements, it’ll help if you know a little more about the kinds available to you.
  • Old fashioned bikes that have been around for years are still in use today. They usually have single speeds and you must pedal backwards to brake. They are good if you plan on only leisurely riding your bike and you won’t be overcoming any obstacles. It’s always best if you live in a bike friendly area with little traffic to ride one of these bikes comfortably. They’re not great when many cars are around!
  • BMX bikes are good if you’re more of an experienced biker and plan on competition biking and doing trail courses.
  • Road bikes are best for a good ride on pavement.
  • Mountain bikes have fairly small frames, but are good for off road use. If you’ll be tackling hills and obstacles, this type of bike is perfect. Mountain bikes are also good due to the fact they are versatile and can be used on the road too. This is a great all round bike if you’ll be doing a mix of everything.
  • Tandem bikes are for two people who wish to ride together, but they are very difficult to get used to! Beware that a bike like this will test your relationship with the other rider.
  • A recumbent bike has the rider in a reclining position and the pedals forward. It looks a little difficult, but it’s actually a more natural position for the rider. They are no good for racing, however, as they are just too heavy.

The kind of bike you choose will all depend on where and how you plan on riding it. Do you want a lot of gears? A bell? A basket? These are all things you need to consider!

When viewing bikes, make sure you test one before you buy. Most shops should let you do this, as you can’t realistically be expected to buy without trying it first. It’d be like buying a car without a test drive!

Now, unless you’re skilled at putting bikes together, you should probably have somebody at the store do this for you. You don’t want it to fall to pieces as you ride it!

Keeping Fit on Your Bike

Many people get a bike for the sole purpose of keeping fit. If this is your goal, you’ll need to know a few things first.
  • Your bike needs to be set up correctly so you can get the most benefit from it. Your saddle height needs to be spot on, as well as handlebar height.
  • Interval training is a great method to use on a bike to help you get fit. The idea is you pedal as fast as you can for 30 secs -1 min, then recover for a couple of minutes before repeating. This will help you to improve your speed on your bike. If you only ever pedal at a steady pace, that’s all you’ll ever be able to do. Interval training will improve your endurance and speed!
  • Once you’ve finished riding your bike, you should always stretch to release tension and help your muscles to repair. Never do this before, as it makes no sense to stretch a cold muscle. Simply warm up on your bike by going at a steady pace for 5-10 minutes before getting started properly.

Ensuring Your Safety

Your safety should be your number one concern when out riding a bike. Accidents do happen, so you need to be extremely careful. If you have an accident that isn’t your fault, contact a company like Russell Worth solicitors. Here are some safety pointers that you should stick to religiously:
  • Your helmet is an important bit of kit. You need to make sure that it fits you, and that you wear it properly each time you ride your bike. It should be worn level, and not pushed back so you can see your forehead. This way, it protects your head, face, and neck properly. If it’s too loose, it’ll come off when you need it.
  • Get a headlight so that other riders and drivers can see you when it’s dark or foggy. You can also consider wearing fluorescent clothing.
  • Indicate when you need to by using arm signals, so that other road users know which direction you’re going in.
  • Slow down at junctions and when you need to.
  • Stay away from the left hand side of lorries, as this is how a lot of people have fatal accidents each year.
  • Wear proper riding clothes if possible, such as trousers and tops that are tight fitting to avoid snagging in your bike. They will need to be flexible though, so you can move freely.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Don’t ride too close to the kerb, as drivers will be less likely to see you.
  • Follow traffic signs and signals as you would if you were driving a car.
  • Follow lane markings.
  • Always check your bike before getting on it and going out to make sure it’s in good condition. This is especially important if you plan on riding a long distance.
  • Follow the laws stated by your specific country/state. Everywhere is different!
Hopefully, you now feel more comfortable when it comes to riding your bike and staying safe. This is a brilliant hobby to have, but you should never get too confident or cocky. Happy riding!

Image: echiner1