By Nathaniel Wu
Everyone makes mistakes, especially beginner bikers. Some mistakes are common but easily fixable, so we will discuss a few common biking mistakes that will drastically improve biking if fixed.
#1 Not shifting
Beginners often avoid shifting gears because they are unfamiliar with or don’t know when to shift. Although bikes usually have gears in the front, focus on shifting in the rear, which is done on the right side. The lowest gear has the biggest cog and is easiest to pedal, which makes it ideal for climbing. The highest gear has the smallest cog and is hardest to pedal, but generates the most speed. Generally, try to maintain a steady riding cadence: shift down if you are pedaling too slow, and shift up when you are pedaling too fast.
#2 Braking too hard
Just like driving a car, hard braking is very uncomfortable and unsafe on bikes. In the worst cases, it can cause the rider to go over the bars and/or cause a crash. Hard braking is sometimes unavoidable, but the best way to brake is by feathering or lightly pressing the brakes to control speed. When stopping, just apply light pressure and gradually increase it to stop. Each bike has different braking distances, so get familiar with how much distance is required before going out on rides. Just don't clamp down on the brakes.
#3 Wrong saddle height
Saddle height is one of the most overlooked mistakes, but it can change how one rides. Generally, the ideal saddle height is measured when one pedal is in the lowest position, and the leg is very slightly bent. This makes it easier to pedal and climb hills. For descents, lowering the saddle is ideal to allow the seat to move freely under the rider.
With these changes, you should be on your way to be a much more efficient rider. If you would like to bike with others, which can be even more helpful to improving skills, feel free to join us on one of our weekly trips! Happy biking!