Biking for transportation and recreation is steadily growing in popularity. Due to rising fuel costs, more and more people turn to bicycles as a cheap and fast way to commute. And unlike other forms of transportation, you also get to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
You must take every opportunity to use a bicycle, especially if you’re fit enough to use one regularly. And even if transportation isn’t an issue for you, just biking for exercise can go a long way in improving your fitness.
Whether you’re a casual user or a cycling aficionado, there’s no single right to use a bicycle. Some people want to get from one place to another, while others chase speed for the sake of it. Of course, there is no sports radar gun for cycling, which is why you need to be mindful of your speed. Biking has also become easier in many places, thanks to infrastructure such as parking racks and bicycle lanes.
Since you’re relying on your body to move the bike, comfort can be an issue for some. Here are a few tips to make the ride more comfortable and convenient.
1. Wear safety gear
There’s no denying that biking is a fun activity, but things can quickly go sideways if you’re not careful. That’s why you need to wear safety gear before heading out, even if you’re going on a quick ride.
Recent statistics show that over 500,000 bicycle-related injuries are recorded every year. Some are lucky enough to escape with only a few scratches. But many have died due to head and body injuries. Parents need to emphasize the importance of safety when teaching their children how to ride a bike. On the other hand, adults need to take the necessary precautions before riding out.
For starters, you need to pick a helmet that fits your head. Don’t just get any helmet, however. Go to a bike shop and ask for a helmet with proper safety documentation. Choose a bright color such as green or orange so motorists can see you in the dark.
2. Pace yourself
If you’re new to biking, you can’t just head to the hills and hope for the best. You need to develop your skills and endurance, something that will take a while. Start biking on flat terrain at low to medium speeds until you’ve gotten a hang of your pace.
If you feel you’re ready for inclines and rougher terrain, make sure to do it slowly to avoid accidents. While you can ride alone for commutes, it’s best to join a group if you want to turn this into a hobby.
3. Get a comfortable seat
Not all bicycle seats are made the same. If you have a racing frame, then the seat is probably designed more for performance than comfort. Women often complain about narrow seats that make biking a challenge. Thankfully, you can replace your saddle with one that fits your needs. Ask your bike shop for a seat that has better ergonomics.
If you want to take your comfort to the next level, consider investing in soft covers or gel saddles that make the seat more comfortable. How you sit can also affect your comfort. Adjust the seat in proportion to your height. If your knees are strained, then you need to lift the saddle higher.
4. Mount your mobile phone
Many of us rely on mobile phones for communication, information, and navigation. Gone are the days when we’d get lost while on a trip downtown. You can input your destination on Google Maps, and the app will tell you where to go. Bicycle users also use web mapping services to plot routes and identify obstacles ahead of the trip. But using a phone while riding is unsafe, which is why you need to have it mounted.
5. Watch what you wear
Proper cycling requires you to wear the right clothes. Even when commuting to work, you need to wear proper cycling gear. After all, you don’t want to ruin your office attire on your way to work. Wear cycling shorts and a biking jersey when biking for long distances. Cycling fabric is designed to minimize skin irritation due to prolonged contact.
Leather shoes are a big no-no when it comes to bicycles. Proper cycling shoes are more comfortable and are designed to lock into the pedals, which improves your grip. Change to your regular day clothes once you’ve arrived at your destination.
The bottom line
These six pointers will make your bicycle ride more comfortable and convenient. Cyclists follow the same rules as motorists. Make sure to read up on local traffic laws. You also need to be careful of pedestrians.