How to ride

See Bicycling Street Smarts for an online manual about how to safely ride on roads.

You should know about the laws that govern cycling in your locale. Search your government's official website for the motor vehicle code. Within that, search for the word bicycle to find sections relevant to cyclists like you.




Beyond those general guidelines, I want to give some random tips here:

Many cycling guides I've read suggest that beginners pedal too slowly (in a gear that's too high), and that doing so is inefficient and causes fatigue and joint strain. They claim that a cyclist should turn the cranks at a fast rate (maybe 80 to 100 revolutions per minute). If you don't have a cycle computer to monitor your pace, you could pace yourself with a watch: 3 revolutions per 2 seconds is a 90 RPM rate. You could also use a stationary exercise bike at a gym, to learn what 90 RPM feels like. Hopefully, you will eventually be able to choose that pace unassisted.

Unless your ride is short and easy, you may be risking soreness or even injury if you just hop on the bike and go. It's safer to do the following:

When going down a very long and steep hill, squeeze and release your brake levers periodically. If you hold them continuously, the friction will heat the rims, tires, and contacting surface of the brake pads. In extreme cases, the pads could degrade and the brakes won't work like they should.

You can rise up from the seat and pedal in a semi-standing position. This is useful if you are sore but don't want to rest, or if you're traveling up a hill that's too long or too steep to handle with regular pedaling.

If you ride with locked elbows so that your arms are straight, then all the vibration from road bumps is transmitted to your wrists and the rest of you. That could create wrist soreness, among other problems. If you leave your elbows bent, then your arms can loosely follow the bike's motion and act as shock absorbers.

When motorists face a rising or setting sun, they often can see only vague outlines of larger objects. They might not be able to see a cyclist at all! Avoid any situation where blinded drivers could collide with you.

Check my page about commuting for the first time to see more tips.