Your Quick and Easy Guide to Biking

Sarah Sung
by Sarah Sung
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Your Quick and Easy Guide to Biking

Happy National Bike Month! The days are finally warmer, the roads are drier and the sun is out longer. It makes sense that May is the month we’d want to celebrate biking by actually taking a ride.

Whether you haven’t hopped on a bike in years or you haven’t been on your bike since last fall, we’ve got a primer that’ll help you get back in the saddle and never want to get off.

THE BASICS

First, you’ll want to appreciate the diverse spectrum of all the bikes out there — from the standard road bike and mountain bike to the more specialized cyclocross and tandem — you might not be able to narrow down your bike to just one. Hint: no real cyclist ever does.

Then you’ll want to nail cyclist’s lingo. We’ve also got eight tips for beginner road cyclists (Like: go easy on the descents, learn how to draft and invest in a good saddle). Tips like using clipless pedals are also great ways to become a more effective rider.

KNOWING BIKE MAINTENANCE

Taking good care of your bike is one of 5 ways to be a better cyclist. By highlighting bike maintenance and knowing how to change a flat tire, you’ll be self-sufficient on the roads or trails. However, you’ll want to beware of a few common bike maintenance mistakes like over-inflating your tires or using too much chain lube.

BEING COMFORTABLE IN A GROUP SITUATION

One of the best things about cycling is it’s really a team sport. As with any group endeavor, there are some dos and don’ts to be aware of, so we covered group ride etiquette with nine useful tips (like: don’t spit), and we highlighted 10 major cycling hand signals.

CONQUERING HILLS

Of course, hills are probably the most daunting aspect of biking. Hills are challenging and climbing them is a necessary skill, so we covered five ways to improve your climbing.

What goes up must come down, which is why we wrote about seven ways to take on descents. Finally, when working on your climbing, there’s a key metric to get to know, and that’s vertical climbing speed.

Finally, in terms of training, there are 17 strategies for getting stronger, faster and fitter on the bike. And don’t discount spinning class or indoor cycling as a component of cycling training when you can’t get outside. Hey, life happens!

After you nail all of these foundational points, you’ll probably easily identify as a cyclist. We counted 35 signs you’re a cyclist — but we know there are more.

Leave yours in the comments, and see you on two wheels!


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About the Author

Sarah Sung
Sarah Sung

An avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, yogi and all-around gym rat, Sarah Sung has written lifestyle, health and fitness content for publications including AFAR, San Francisco Chronicle, Sonima and UrbanDaddy. Now she manages editorial for MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness. In her spare time she teaches indoor cycling in San Francisco and has raced in triathlons in California and Hawaii. Traveling and checking out the latest dining scene are always high on her to-do list.

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