The Basic Do's and Don'ts of Cycling
The Basic Do's and Don'ts of Cycling
How many times have you sat down for a post ride coffee where conversation turns to dos and don’ts of cycling? There are so many unofficial “rules” that cyclists live by that it is hard to keep up. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, it’s always good to brush up, choose to follow the rules… or break them… it’s up to you!
Put your helmet on the table. The table, where you eat your food is no place for your sweaty helmet. Place it on the floor under your chair, or leave it out on your bike. Same goes for your gloves and sunnies, they belong with your helmet away from the good food!
Wear ankle socks. Socks are a very important and controversial subject among cyclists! Socks generally must be at least 4 inches long. Unless you are a triathlete, or maybe at a stretch riding indoors! There are also codes about colour, I say the brighter the better as long as they match your kit!
Half wheel your riding partner. It can be really annoying for your friends when you constantly ride half a wheel in front of them. Keep those wheels even, and slow it down if your friend next to you is struggling with your pace! If you are being half wheeled, don’t get angry, ask them to stop - because they may not realise!
Wear your underwear under your knicks. Obvious to some, but very important. Underwear under your chamois will just chafe you in places you don't want to have chafed.
Bonk (hunger flat). Bonking is not a fun experience, for you and your riding buddies. So make sure you bring enough food and water on your ride (plus some cash for coffee and treats). Bonking is an awful feeling and should be avoided at all costs.
Brake hard when riding in a bunch. This is a hard one to master, because you have to learn to control most of your speed with your pedal strokes. We’re not saying don't brake at all, but braking less and more smoothly will mean you and your riding mates will have much more efficient and smooth ride.
Turn up to a ride with a dirty bike. Remember a clean bike is a fast bike. Wipe your bike down after each ride and remember check him/her for a service at least every 6 months!
Try a pair of bib shorts. They may seem a weird idea, but are so so comfy. Padded bike shorts will add an extra layer of comfort to riding. Bib n brace clips are a cool feature that means you don’t have to strip all your layers off at the bathroom or roadside nature break!
Offer a helping hand when you see someone changing a flat. As the saying goes, “what goes around comes around”. Offering a hand will give you some good karma for the future!
Carry a $5 note. Not only essential for the post ride coffee stop, but this handy little fiver also works great for lining the inside of a tyre if you get a nasty puncture!
Clean your chain regularly. A clean chain will help your gears run smoothly and efficiently, essentially give you free speed. A clean chain will also make your bike quiet as a mouse, so you'll be able to sneak up on your friends in the bunch or the local bunchy sprint point.
Wait at the top for your friends. Everyone climbs at a different speed, so make sure you stop to regroup. This is a perfect opportunity to take some snaps for Instagram. #yourrideyourrules
Challenge yourself. Whether it is on the local Strava segment, a gran fondo or an all out traffic light sprint between friends, push yourself, challenge yourself to go further or harder than before - you'll get faster and fitter because of it!
Point out obstacles on the road. It is especially important to point out obstacles on the road so that your friends following can avoid them too. You can either point, call it or both! Even more important when riding in a big bunch.
Stop for a coffee post ride. This is the best part of cycling, stopping for a post ride coffee, enjoying the company of your friends and a great time to upload some Instagram pics. #healthycatchups
Above all enjoy it. Explore new areas, meet new people, achieve a goal and enjoy the freedom riding a bike can bring!
By Verita Stewart
Verita is part of the Specialized Women's Racing team, works at Total Rush in Melbourne, started cycling seriously through commuting, is a Strava enthusiast and solid Instagrammer! Follow Verita @lowercasev