Basic Cycling Tips

There are countless ways you can learn to be more safe when riding a bike. We have learnt that most of these are simply due to experience and you are bound to have some hiccups along the way - this is completely normal and you shouldn’t be afraid when the inevitable happens. We’ve compiled a list of tricks/tips we have learnt from our experiences when riding. 

  • Don’t wear headphones: Headphones are a complete no when riding along busy city roads. The distraction is simply not worth what it could mean if you were distracted. You wouldn’t wear headphones while driving so don’t when riding, similarly with answering phone calls. Only do this when you are stationary and safe. 

  • Put lights on your bike: If you’re riding at night, you need lights for both the front and back of your bike. This is especially useful in the winter months when the sunset tends to creep up on you. Our Oliver Cycling lights are perfect for this as they are solar rechargeable and come with different settings for different times of day . Make sure you remove those lights before you lock your bike up outside. They’re an easy target for thieves. 

  • Ride a city-appropriate bike: Mountain bikes might make you feel safer because they tend to be giant tanks that can crush through anything (which is fun in its own right), but they’re not actually great for navigating the city. Road bikes (specifically our Oliver Bikes. These bikes are single speed, which cuts down on maintenance and eases you into riding a bike again because you don’t have to worry about shifting. 

  • Ride a bike that fits: You wouldn’t wear shoes that were two sizes too big? That’s what happens when you’re on a bike that doesn’t fit, except you’re going 30 miles per hour. When a bike doesn’t fit you, it’s not only uncomfortable, it’s also extremely hard and actually dangerous  to ride, which leads to accidents. You can visit our size guide on our website which will help you choose the right bike for your height. 

  • Treat the bike lane like a lane, not a safe zone: People tend to think bike lanes are some type of magical barrier that you can safely ride in. They’re not. They’re just another lane on the road, and cars will merge into it sometimes, cut you off, and people will open doors from parked cars into the lane. Just because you’re in a bike lane doesn’t mean you’re behind some protective barrier.

  • Practice on side streets: “It’s just like riding a bike” isn't a true claim. If you haven’t ridden in a long time, getting on for the first time will feel strange. Stick to side streets without a lot of cars to practice until you get comfortable. If you’re commuting, there’s no shame in avoiding the big roads until you’re ready.

  • Use Google Maps: Google maps has cycling directions, and they’re fantastic. If you don’t know how to get around, plot out your route in Google Maps first. This will guide you along bike-friendly streets and paths so you can avoid accidentally getting on some four-lane road with no room on the side.

  • Don’t be a bad cyclist: Drivers generally don't like cyclist and that's just the way it is. So don’t go out of your way to upset them. Follow the rules, remember to enjoy yourself. 

We hope some of these basic tips help you when beginning your journey into cycling. And we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!