You can make biking easier, safer and more fun with these video tips and tricks from bicycling experts.
Pre-Ride Checklist for a Safe Ride
Every time you go for a ride, there are a few things you should check as part of your pre-ride checklist. First, make sure the wheels spin freely and are not rubbing on the brakes or other parts. Second, check to make sure the wheel is securely attached to the frame. Third, test the brakes to make sure they are working. And finally, air up the tires to their proper inflation level.
Proper Shifting Technique
Bicycles have gears so you can match your pedaling speed with the speed of the bicycle. You should always be pedaling your bicycle when you shift gears. As you move between gears, make sure to adjust both the front and back gear so that the chain between them remains straight. If you don’t, you’ll hear a clicking or rubbing noise that indicates that you’ve crossed chain and are in an incorrect gear.
Most bikes have both a front and rear brake. You should learn to use both brakes in a coordinated fashion, not just one or the other. Remember, the front brake has most of the stopping power, but be careful of squeezing the front brake too hard or you could pitch over the handlebars.
Finding and Fitting the Right Bike
There are three basic types of bicycles. Mountain bikes have heavy-duty shock absorbers that allow you to travel on trails and rocky areas. Road bikes are high-speed, lightweight bikes that are best for smooth roads, and hybrid bikes are a combination of the two. All bikes come in a variety of sizes, and they can be adjusted for a comfortable ride.
Cleaning Your Bike
It’s important to wash your bicycle to keep it running smoothly. The first step is to pre-rinse your bike with water to remove dirt and debris. If the chain is dirty, you may need to use a degreaser to loosen up some of the dirt. A small brush can be used to get to hard-to-reach spots and break loose the most stubborn gunk. Then rinse again with clean water and scrub the bicycle with a mixture of soap and water. Finally, rinse again with clean water and dry with a towel.
Gear to Make Your Ride More Comfortable
Padded bike shorts, gloves, and a sweat-wicking bike jersey will give you a more comfortable ride, and a properly fitted helmet is always a necessity.
Changing a Bike Tire
When you’re out on your bike, there’s always a risk that you’ll run something over that causes a leak in a tire. When this happens, the first step is to remove the wheel with the leak. Once removed, you’ll need to remove the tire itself, then the tube that sits between the tire and the rim. Inspect the tire for debris (nails, sharp rocks, glass, etc.). Next, inspect the rim and ensure that the spokes aren’t poking through. Then, you’re ready to place the new tube on the rim and inflate it. After it’s inflated, you can reinstall the tire, and attach the wheel to the bike.