If you want to get going on your bike, there are a few basic skills that you must know. If you are starting cycling for the first time, this is the perfect article for you.
Setting off for the first time
Let’s start right at the beginning, setting off for the very first time. Assuming that your bike is set up to your size and everything is in good working order, what you should do before setting off is to stand your bike 30 centimetres away from the curb and set your cranks to a reasonable level. It is recommended that you set the cranks to the three o’clock position for your favoured leg.
Whilst holding the bars and saddle, lean the bike towards you, then remove your hand from the saddle and swing your leg over. Next, grabbing both brakes, steady your weight over the bike, place your best foot on the forward pedal, shift your backside onto the saddle, and look over your shoulder to check for traffic. You’re now ready to set off. So push down on your forward leg and maintain a relaxed balance over the bike.
Now that we’re off and riding, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about how to stop. This is a really important skill to get dialled in, especially how to stop with control. This could also be advanced to timing and modulation.
Braking force is transmitted mostly through the front wheel. You could test this by walking next to your bike and putting the back brake on full. Look what happens to the rear wheel. Repeat this action by fully pulling on the front brake. What happens? The rear of the bike starts to lift off the ground, meaning you no longer have the ability to apply braking force to the rear wheel.
That’s an extreme, but the same principle applies. If you want to slow down, mastering your front brake is necessary. Practice makes perfect with this one. However, being at one with the time and distance it takes to stop is crucial to a fun, fast, and enjoyable ride. Practice on as many different gradients and road surfaces as possible so you know just how much grip each service allows you.
Cornering is one of the favourite techniques to master on the bike. Start by keeping your weight over the tires as this will afford you the most grip available from the road. To do this you want to put your outside leg down, and put the weight through your outside arm as well. This posture will help you turn. Ideally, you should practice this away from traffic like in a large car park.
With these basic skills, you’d have no problem participating in challenges such as the #TOGORide2020 challenge. You could enhance your skills as you complete the challenge and at the same time collect custom-designed rewards!
Photos by BikeRadar & Road.cc