Smart Cycling Tips
Use these tip sheets to learn more about how to ride safely and perform maintenance on your bike.
Basic Bike Check (Just Remember: ABC QUICK CHECK)
- Inflate tires to the pressure listed on the side of the tire
- Use a pressure gauge to insure proper pressure
- Check for damage on tired and replace if damaged
- Inspect pads for wear; replace is there is less than ¼" of pad left
- Check pad adjustment; make sure they do not rub the tire
- Look to see that you can fit your thumb between the brake lever handlebar when the brakes are squeezed all the way
- Pull your cranks away from the bike – if they are loose, tighten the bolt
- Check your that your chain is free of rust and gunk
- Make sure your quick releases are all closed
- They should all be pointing to the back of the bike, so that they don’t get caught on anything
- Take a quick ride to check that it is working properly
- To find the right size helmet, put one on your head without fastening the straps.
- The front of the helmet should be level and two-fingers width above your eyebrows.
- Shake your head from side to side: There should only be a little movement.
- The side straps should come to a point just below your ears - move the small tabs on the side of these straps up or down until they are a half an inch or less under your ear lobe.
- The chin strap should be about half an inch below your chin when your mouth is closed.
- Wearing a bike helmet with loose straps is the same as not wearing a bike helmet at all.
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What to Wear
- Wear a properly fitted helmet
- Make sure that the helmet fits on top of the head and is parallel to the ground
- After a crash or impact on your helmet, it should be replaced
- You don’t have to wear special cycling gear in order to ride a bike, everyday clothes work just fine
- If your bike doesn’t have a chain guard, you can keep your pants away from the chain by rolling up your pant leg or using a leg band
- Tight, close fit keeps fabrics from rubbing your skin and causing irritation
- Bike shorts should be worn alone or under another pair of lightweight shorts
- Wear layers
- Gloves and ear warmers are particularly helpful
- Wear bright colors and reflective gear
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Wear bright colors and reflective gear
- Jerseys help pull moisture away from your skin and have pockets on the back for food, tools, and money
- Cycling shorts offer cushioning
- Bike gloves help distribute pressure across your palms
- Frame size is important for comfort and cannot be adjusted
- When standing over a straight tube, there should be 1" to 2" between you and the frame for a road bike and 3" to 4" on a mountain/hybrid
- On a step-through bike, your leg should be slightly bent when the pedal is pushed down all the way
- Your local bike shop can help you fit a frame
- While seated, you should have a slight bend in your knee when the pedal is pushed sown all the way
- Beginners may want their seat a bit lower for comfort and security
- The seat should be tilted no more than five degrees up or down
- Handlebar setup is a personal preference; higher for comfort, lower for performance
- Seats come in gender specific as well as comfort and performance models
- If you hurt after you and your bike shop adjust it a few times, try a new one
- Explore your choices; your seat should not hurt you or cause numbness
- When it’s getting harder to pedal, shift into an easier, lower gear
- When it’s getting easier to pedal, you’ll want to be in a harder, higher gear
- On flat ground, you’ll want to be in the middle of your range of gears
- Be sure to shift into a comfortable starting gear before you stop
- For best results, the chain needs to be in a generally straight line -- if you are in your hardest front gear, you don’t want to be in your easiest back gear (you should be able to hear it if your chain isn’t in a straight line)
Share the Trail
- Respect all trail users
- Yield to slower users
- Obey the rules of the trail
- Use a bell, horn or voice to indicate your intention to pass
- Warn other well in advance so you do not startle them
- Yield to traffic at places where the trail crosses the road
- Yield to other users at trail intersections
- Stay as close to the right as possible, except when passing
- Pull out only when you are sure the lane is clear
- Allow plenty of room, about two bike lengths, before moving back to the right
- Travel in a straight line unless you are avoiding hazards or passing
- Indicate your intention to turn or pass
- Most trial users will not have lights at night; use a white front and red rear light.
- For group rides, use no more than half the trail
- Stop and regroup completely off the trail
- Place all litter in its proper receptacle