Summer is officially here, which is a great excuse to get on your bicycle, especially if you’ve been looking to ride for a while. Maybe your friends have been riding and you’ve been wanting to join, or maybe your children recently learned to ride. Either way, if you haven’t ridden in a while, here are some tips on how to avoid the most common mistakes made by beginning bicyclists.
Riding with a seat that is too high or too low is probably the most common mistake made by cyclists. If the front of your knees hurt every time you ride a bike, then your seat is probably too low. Conversely, if the back of your knees hurt after each ride, your seat is probably too high. You can go to a bike shop to get fitted, or you can go online to search for tips on the proper height for your seat.
Before you go out for a lengthy ride, make sure you’re carrying enough food and water. Riding a bike depletes your glycogen reserves, and riding a bike when you don’t have a lot of glucose in your system is dangerous. You may find yourself dizzy, lightheaded, extremely tired, and shaky if you are not hydrated or fueled. You might also have heart palpitations and feel anxious, confused, or irritable.
Carry spare tubes, especially if you’re going to be riding far or out of the city. Sure, you might have friends that can drive to you and bring you and your bike back to your house. But it’s best to be self-reliant. Always carry a couple of spare tubes, a patch kit, tire levers, and a mini-pump for your bicycle in case something unforeseen happens.
Lastly, biking is not a competition in and of itself. Cycling is just like any other exercise, so don’t do too much too soon. Doing so could lead to burning out and muscle aches, and you might even be turned off from biking altogether. If you have a goal in mind, it’ll also take longer to reach because you’ll need to rest even longer before riding again.
Ken Selander is a personal injury bicycle accident lawyer in Seattle. If you were injured in a bicycle crash because of poorly maintained roads or a careless motorist, call Ken today at 206.723.8200 for a free consultation.