Top 10 tips for new bike riders
11 February, 2020
It can be really exciting to get your first real bike and you're obviously keen to get out for a spin. The roads, bike paths and trails are waiting. If you've just bought your bike and are excited to get out and explore, WAIT! You need to read our top 10 tips for new bike riders. These tips and guidelines will ensure you have a fun and safe experience on your brand new bike.
1. Wear a comfortable helmet
It may not look as cool as your new haircut, but wearing a well fitted helmet is vital to protecting your head when on the bike (plus, it’s the law in Australia). Make sure the helmet doesn’t move around, but sits firmly on your head (look for a Dial-Fit feature to help here).
Keep the straps tight so it stays in place in the event of a mishap and keep the front rim sitting two finger widths above your eyebrows. To avoid a fine your helmet must comply with the Australian Standard, so check for the AS/NZ marking when shopping. All Reid helmets comply with these safety standards.
2. Stay pumped
Nothing so obviously affects your ride like tyre inflation – if they’re flat, you will be too. Before each ride make sure your tyres are pumped to the correct pressure (written on the tyre’s side wall) and enjoy an easier ride with less likelihood of getting a puncture. You can check out our great range of pumps here.
3. Brake pads
We use them all the time so always make sure they are working properly. Have the pads worn down? Does each pad contact the tyre at the same time? Is the full pad contacting the rim? If not, then either fix it or contact one of our Workshops.
4. Loose parts
Bikes have a lot of moving parts and can get knocked around in bike racks. Regularly check all your bike’s bits, including baskets or racks, to make sure everything is safely secured and don’t let a rattle spoil your ride.
5. Saddle position and height (AKA bike seat)
Saddles can be tilted, raised and lowered, and whilst it is best to be level or slightly lower at the front, it needs to be comfortable for you. When you next sit on your bike, adjust the saddle height to make sure your heel rests on the lowered pedal with your leg straight. Our friendly store staff can further help you to set up your bike to ensure an efficient riding position - key to a happy ride.
6. Lock it up – even at home
Unfortunately most bikes that are stolen are done so from the home. So, keep them locked up - even in the garage. We recommend a U-lock (AKA D-lock) as they are typically much harder to cut through with bolt cutters.
7. Light up
Legally, when riding at night, you need a white light on the front and a red light and red reflector on the back (yes, you can be fined). Use the flashing LED kind to really stand out in low-light conditions for extra safety points. These lights aren’t really there to help you see the road like a headlight, but they will ensure others on the road see you. To be sure, always carry a spare backup set.
8. Get hydrated
Regardless of the length of the ride, take water and stay hydrated. For every hour of exercise you should drink 1 litre of water to replenish lost fluids. Snacks are particularly good for longer adventures.
9. Dress appropriately
There are reasons why people go full lycra, but you don’t always need to go that far to be comfortable on the bike. Top tips would be wear layers you can shed as you warm up, apply sunscreen on high UV days and carry a rain jacket if there are clouds about. If in doubt, check the BOM website before your ride so that you know what you are in for.
10. Know the road rules and your rights
Bicycle Network keeps a good eye on these rules for all states and territories. If you’re unsure about cycling a roundabout or right of way at the lights, click here.
So get out there, be safe and enjoy exploring on your new wheels.