The act of cycling is simple – just hop on, push the pedals, and you’re off. While it is considered as one of the easiest sports in the world, beginner cyclists commit a lot of common cycling mistakes when they start out.
There is a lot you need to learn before you get on the bike and head out for a ride. If you are looking to improve your riding skills and start riding with confidence, then we urge you to read on.
In this blog post, we listed down some of the most common mistakes amateur cyclists make. Avoid these cycling mistakes at all cost to make your riding experience safer and more enjoyable.
We’ve learned the long, hard way. You don’t have to be the same.
Riding the wrong bike
There are different types of mountain bikes – All Mountain Bike, Fat Bike, Trail Bike, Cross-Country Bike, and Downhill Bike. You can’t just walk to a local bike store and get whatever suits your taste and fits your budget.
In order to make the most out of your riding experience, you need to get a bike that matches your needs and the type of riding you will do. So before buying your first mountain bike, think about where and how you want to ride your bike.
If you are interested in meeting up with your friends at the local trailhead, a trail bike is the best option for you. If you are considering getting competitive or like a racier ride for your local trails, opt for a cross-country bike.
When you’re just starting to get out there and hit the trails, you probably grab on tight on the handlebars for fear of losing your grip and going down. This is something we’ve seen countless of times, and it can actually work against you.
You may think that you’ll have more control over your bike when you keep a tight grip on the handlebars, but it’s actually the opposite. By gripping so tightly, your body tense up. Your arms become stiff and they can’t bend and react to sudden movements. As a result, you have less control of your mountain bike.
If you keep that death grip for too long and watch your knuckles turn white, your hands will eventually take all of the abuse. The next time you go out on the trails, try relaxing and loosening your grip. It will increase your mountain biking efficiency and keep better control of your bike.
Not using gears efficiently
We often see newbies with their legs spinning furiously as they potter along at 5mph because the bike is in low gear. Some would even walk up the gentlest slopes because their bike is in the highest gear.
Gears are your greatest source of speed on a long, rolling stretch of road and your best friends on a climb. But it does that a little practice to get a hang of it.
Go somewhere quiet and play around with shifting. Ride around the back street or the parking lot while the supermarket is still close, and see how it feels to ride in different gears. With a little practice, changing gears can be as intuitive as pedaling.
Grabbing hard on brakes
This is one of the most common cycling mistakes, especially among amateur riders. The dangers of sudden braking includes loss of stability and control. Don’t just grab the brakes when you need to slow down. Braking should be done in a controlled manner the weight distribution of you and the bike remains as stable as possible.
The safest, most efficient technique is to brake gently, but enough to slow you down. Use both front and rear brakes simultaneously, with slightly more emphasis on the front brake. Also, remember to brake before the corner, not as you are on the corner. This can result in the bike locking up and you losing control and crashing.
Forgetting spares or tools
When heading off on a ride, you need to be prepared to fix a flat tire, tighten a loose bolt or repair a broken chain.
A flat tire is the most common problem cyclists face. The problem is that most novice cyclists tend to forget their tools. Worse, they have no idea how to fix a flat tire. If your backup plan is to phone a friend, think again. With the right tools and the know-how, you’ll be back on the road in 15 minutes.
Wrong saddle height
Wrong saddle height is one of the most common cycling mistakes amateur riders make. Many of them aren’t even aware of it. Sitting too high can lead to joint ache. Sitting too low can put an undue stress on your knees. It can also lead to back pains.
Make sure your saddle is set at the proper height. When seated, your legs should be able to move through their full range of motion without having to stretch for the pedals.
Riding through water
As you ride through a mountain stream, it’s exhilarating to feel the splash of water on your skin. This is especially true on a hot summer day.
While charging into a stream is a lot of fun, water is already making its unfortunate magic on your bike and bearings. Eventually, your chain and bearings will become weaker due to corrosion. Not only will it cost you money, but your chains may snap in the midst of a particularly gnarly climb.
Do yourself and your bike a favor and ride slowly or carry carry your bike across puddles and streams. Be sure to thoroughly clean your bike after a long ride.
You overdo it
There is nothing wrong with aiming high, but if you take on too much mileage before you’re ready, then you may experience fatigue and burnout. Worse, you could get injured.
Build up slowly, ease in, and give your body time to adjust to new distances. Don’t overdo it on your first ride. With a little practice and patience, you’ll soon be knocking out centuries.
Neglecting rest and recovery days
Image via Unsplash
As an amateur cyclist, we understand that you want to improve your cycling skills and perform better. You ride the bike every chance you get. You rack up endless miles and push yourself to your limit.
Overtraining is among the most common cycling mistakes cyclists make. While regular training is good, it is important to schedule rest and recovery days into your training routine. Too much training may result to an exasperating reduction in performance. You become depleted rather than stronger.
A suppressed immune system is one of the biomarkers for overtraining. You may find yourself getting sick often or suffering from constant muscle soreness.