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Mistakes Made By Every New Road Bike Rider

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Cycling is one of the most accessible sports in the world but despite that it can sometimes feel a little daunting when you are and starting out, so in this article we’re going to put the spotlight on some of the most common mistakes made by new cyclists and how to avoid them, so you can enjoy the freedom, adventure, social and health benefits that cycling provides.


Mistakes Made By Every New Road Rider – at a glance

  • Helmet on incorrectly
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing
  • Wearing underwear under lycra
  • Failing to clip out on time
  • Going way too hard on the first ride
  • Not fuelling properly before, during and after your ride
  • Forgetting to bring spares like tubes and a pump
  • Incorrect saddle height which leads to sore knees

Helmet On Incorrectly

A helmet is an invaluable safety item and high on the list of things to buy when cycling, though it’s worth adding they aren’t required by law in most countries so you have the freedom of choice.

Mistakes Made By Every New Road Rider - Helmet On Wrong

If you’re choosing a helmet it’s worth making sure you’re wearing it right because not only will you look a little silly it’s also potentially dangerous. Most helmets have a front and back and this can be obvious, some helmets are even marked as such, but when they aren’t it’s not always so obvious. Ask the person in the bike shop when you buy it, or look at the buckle adjuster – this should be at the back of your head.


Wearing The Wrong Clothing

There’s no right or wrong clothing for riding a bike, anything goes. But if you want to cycle comfortably over long distances in a range of weather conditions then it can be worth investing in the right clothing.

Mistakes Made By Every New Road Rider - Wearing The Wrong Clothing

Padded cycle shorts will bring a big boost in comfort over any casual clothes while a technical jersey will keep you dry from sweat and the three rear pockets are useful places to stash food and your house keys. Waterproof and windproof jackets are essential if you’re aiming to ride in all conditions as well, they are designed for the demands of cycling with a fit that works in the cycling position.


Ditch The Underwear

Mistakes Made By Every New Road Rider - Ditch The Underwear

One of the most common questions posed by new cyclists is whether you have to wear underwear with padded cycling shorts. The simple answer is no. Cycling shorts have specially shaped foam pads which are designed to be worn next to the skin. Wearing underwear can risk irritation which you definitely don’t want.


Forgetting To Unclip

If you’ve invested in cycling-specific shoes and pedals that clip together then you can call yourself a proper cyclist. But you do need to practice the sometimes tricky task of safely unclipping.

Forgetting To Unclip

We would advise doing this in a park where you have a soft landing, so your first unclipping fall (and it’s only a matter of time, it happens to us all!) won’t lead to an injury. When you’re cycling on the open road it can be worth anticipating when you might have to stop at a traffic light crossing and unclip in advance. Don’t leave it until the last minute.


Going Too Fast Too Early

We get it, you’re excited and keen to get out on your new road bike but that enthusiasm can often lead to new cyclists going way too hard on their first ride.

Going Too Fast Too Earl

Problem is you aren’t used to cycling and if you’re not careful you can quickly tire your legs and run out of energy and find yourself struggling within a few miles of leaving the house. So our advice is take it easy to begin with, give your body time to get used to cycling before you really open up the taps.


Not Enough Fuel

The best thing about bikes is just how much distance you can cover but it’s all too easy to find yourself miles from home and suddenly running low on energy. So make sure you fill your pockets with some energy bars and snacks and take one or two water bottles and then eat and drink regularly to avoid running out of energy. Do that and you’ll bonk, or hit the wall, as it’s called by cyclists. We’ve all been there though, we know what it’s like.


Take Mechanical Spares

Take Mechanical Spares

No new cyclist likes to be stranded by the side of the road with a broken bike or flat tyre so make sure you have the essential tools and that you know how to use them. Punctures and flat tyres are the most common mechanical issue to strike so ensure you carry a spare inner tube, some tyre levers and a pump.

You can fit these inside a small bag underneath the saddle so it’s ready to use should you need it. It’s also worth having a good multitool which can tighten any loose bolts and a chain tool to repair a broken chain – it’s worth watching some video guides on how to remedy these most frequent mechanical issues. Better to be prepared and not need to use the tools is our motto.


Sore Knee From Incorrect Saddle Height

When you buy a new bike it’s really important to make sure it’s correctly set up for you, and top of the list is the saddle height. A saddle that is too high or low can quickly lead to sore knees and worse.

Sore Knee From Incorrect Saddle Height

Luckily setting the saddle is pretty easy, there are lots of guides and videos to watch. The easiest is to sit on the saddle and with the heel of your foot on the pedal at the bottom of the crank, make sure your length is straight. Then, when you bring your foot back to clip in, you’ll have a small bend in the knee. Simples!


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