Tips for new riders

The coronavirus crisis has led to a lot more people biking. Some of them are new to riding in the city every day. Here are some basic tips. Please share others if you have them.

  • Make sure your tires are pumped up!
  • Your seat should be high enough so your legs are just a few inches from being totally straight at the bottom of your pedal stroke.
  • Make sure you have a front and rear light if you’re riding at night.
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I’d add that a good many bike shops and Plaid Pantry’s offer pumps/ free air just in case you need a bit. One personal thing I like to keep in mind is riding as if I am a car so I can somewhat predict what a car near or close by is probably going to do. I also do get too caught up with any perceived safety on greenways because cut thru motorists love to blow stops signs no matter how close you are. Hope this helps.

Ride with the flow of traffic.
Don’t hide from the rest of traffic, become part of it.
Learn to check over your left shoulder for traffic while maintaining a straight line.
Signal your intentions.
In the rain, wear no cotton. Polyester or wool keeps us warmer.

A mirror is a fantastic defense against a wide variety of problems and is a great tool to help you communicate with motorists and cyclists behind you.

If you keep track of what’s going on behind you, you can tell who can see you, who isn’t paying attention, and who’s about to pass and cut you off. Glasses and helmet mounted mirrors allow you to see behind at any angle with no space distortion.

Good communication via positioning, hand signals, and eye contact go a long way to making riding safer and more fun.

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Never blast through busy areas or enter a corner faster than they can safely negotiate it.

Inspect your tires regularly for glass chips and pop them out with a small blade – those tiny shards eventually work themselves in and puncture your tubes, especially when lubricated by wet conditions.

You’ll get a lot fewer flats if you do this.

On a related note, packing nitrile gloves along with your flat kit allows you to arrive clean in the event you do get unlucky.