Top 10 Common Cycling Mistakes

Top 10 Basic Cycling Mistakes. Going out without spares or money Your bike is ready, you feel fit, it’s a beautiful
day, and you’ve headed out over a lovely route that takes you to places you’ve never been. As you reach the furthest point, on the verge
of heading back home, disaster strikes. You suffer a mechanical – a simple puncture, a
loose pedal, and you have no spares with you to fix the problem. What awaits you is an
expensive taxi home or a long wait for someone to come and pick you up. Most bike problems can be fixed with a relatively
small toolkit. Here at GCN we’ve got a roadside mechanical playlist which explains what you
need to take with you, and how to fix the majority of problems that you might experience
whilst you’re out. Going out without food or water Hitting the wall or bonking is something that
happens to every regular cyclist at some point or another. The feeling is like no other,
and once you’ve done it once, it’s something you don’t want to repeat! It simply means running out of energy, making
you feel light headed, weak, and in some cases incapable of walking, let alone riding. Heading out on a decent ride without adequate
food or drink is a common mistake for new cyclists – our recommendation? Go out with
more than you think you’ll need, and also enough money to buy food or drink if you run
out. Grabbing the brakes too hard unnecessarily. Pros make riding look easy – cruising along at 50kph, at incredibly close proximity to each other, and seemingly hardly even needing
to concentrate. If you’re new to the bike yourself, however,
you’ll find it hard to comprehend how they can be so smooth on these stiff, lightweight,
twitchy road bikes. One of the first things you should learn is
not overreact to a hazard by grabbing the brakes. Doing this will often lead to a lack
of control over the bike, potentially locking one or both of your wheels up, and also be
a major hazard to those around you if you’re on a group ride. Of course, there are situations when you simply
need to stop as quickly as you can, but in general, a light feathering of the brakes
should suffice if you concentrate on making sure you’re riding in the correct position
within the group. Not having your saddle at the correct height. One of the biggest indications of a novice
bike rider is their saddle height – too high, or too low, it’s a common mistake. Having your saddle at the correct height is
important to allow you to be efficient at putting power through the pedals, and it’s
not hard to do. Ride along, and put your heel on the pedals.
When the crank is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, your leg should be almost straight.
This should put you in an efficient position, whilst still allowing you to still put your
toes on the floor on either side of the bike. Putting your rain cape in the tumble drier. You’ve done your ride in the pouring rain
on mucky roads, and upon returning home, proud that you’ve accomplished something in adverse
weather conditions, you strip off, get in the shower and put your clothing in the wash.
Not wanting to risk a wet chamois the following day where you’ve planned a further epic ride,
you shove everything in the tumble dryer, rain cape included. What comes out at the end of the cycle is
perhaps slightly more aerodynamic than you’d like, and may as well be resigned to your
kid’s wardrobe. Being unable to unclip when you get to a junction
or come to a stop. Whilst this can be very funny for any onlookers,
it’s potentially very painful. Having bought a new bike, you decide you need some dedicated
cycling shoes and pedals to make you look like a proper cyclist. Everything is going fine, you’re thinking
about what you’re doing and are having no problems at all. That’s when the problems
start, as you get more and more comfortable, you lose concentration. As you’re gradually slowing down towards the
junction, remember to unclip your foot in readiness. This will avoid any embarrassing
moments when you finally come to a stop. I missed the bean bag! Braking once you’re already in the corner. Just like motor racing, or even general driving,
the braking should be done before you get to a corner, not through it. Braking through the corner, with your bike
banked over, is more likely to lock your wheels up, a situation that will make it very hard
to stay rubber side down. Putting too much lube, and the wrong lube,
on your chain. Nobody likes a squeaky chain, and we all know
what prevents it right? Oil, or lubricant. That said, you need to make sure you use the
correct type – pouring castrol motor oil through a funnel probably isn’t going to do your drivetrain
much good, and yes, we have seen somebody do that before. Specific bike lubricants might be slightly
more expensive, but they serve a purpose, keeping everything running smoothly and not
attracting too much dirt. Try and lubricate a clean chain too – putting
lube on top of lube, on top of lube, can leave you with the ultimate in novice marks, a 4th
cat tat on your calf. Using the wrong gear or cadence One thing which has continually developed
on bikes is the number of gears. From the early days, when to change your gear you had
to reverse your wheel, to now, where road bikes often have 22 gears, and mountain
bikes sometimes even more. Those gears are there for a reason, to allow
you to ride at a comfortable cadence over all sorts of terrain. Use them to your advantage,
and don’t get caught grinding at 40rpm or spinning at 140. Also, make sure you learn
which part of the lever moves the gears in the direction you want – the last thing you
want as your cadence slows is to accidentally shift into an even harder gear. Wearing pants or underwear under your
shorts. Visible panty line or VPL isn’t a great look
at the best of times, let alone underneath your cycling shorts. The chamois inside cycling
shorts is meant to be worn against your skin, not against your Calvin Kleins! Careful of those knees Matt, there’s not much
life left in them as it is!