Are you thinking of jumping into cycling? Whether for your commute, exercise or simply for fun, cycling is an incredibly versatile activity and there’s no better place on Earth for it than sunny San Diego. Here are some tips for beginners to help you get the most out of your ride.
- Don’t just buy any old bike and helmet. Your helmet should be snug and brightly colored (for biking in low light), and it should meet the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Your bike should fit your frame; when straddling the bike, you should have about one to two inches of clearance between your body and the top tube. Your handlebars should be one inch lower than the seat top. Make sure the seat is anatomically designed and comfortable enough for long-term use (many racing bikes have hard, narrow seats that can be uncomfortable.)
- Start slow, especially if you aren’t in the best shape. A 30-minute ride every day on flat terrain for a few weeks will get you acclimated to cycling, and from then on you can vary the intensity of your rides as well as the distance ridden and terrain you are able to handle.
- See and be seen. Most cycling accidents occur between 6pm and 9pm, so make sure you do everything you can to remain visible during low light. Wear reflective or bright clothing and make sure your bike has lights and reflectors. Pay attention to traffic around you and make sure to communicate your intent to other drivers.
- Learn the universal hand symbols used by cyclists to communicate with other drivers. Practice controlling your bike with one hand in your first weeks so that you can get used to signaling.
- As tempting as it might be, don’t ride with headphones on. It is extremely dangerous to do so. You might not hear traffic or emergency vehicles approaching from behind.