It can be stressful navigating a new city, especially with summer construction and busy traffic, but. taking a different route -- such as bike trails -- might be the best way to get a feel for a community.
It sounds simple enough: just take your bike on the road and pedal! That's true, but don't miss out on these tips on how to ride the road like a pro.
Before heading out on the streets with your bike, make sure that you have the necessary safety gear so that you are safe, visible and protected while riding your bicycle.
In addition to these bicycle accessories you'll also want to dress comfortably for your ride. Find more info on biking comfort here.
Whether you're commuting to work or school, or joining a group ride and getting your daily workout, you may find yourself cycling on the road. While any set of two wheels will get you moving, there are some important differences between "commuter bikes" and "road bikes" that you'll want to consider when choosing which bike is best for you. If you're interested in partaking in group or family rides click this link for some helpful tips to stay safe while doing so. Group rides exist for beginner cyclists as well as advanced rider and are a fun and safe way to build community and meet fellow cyclists. They're also a great way to begin biking consistently.
Incorporate a local paved bike path into your commute to cut down on the traffic you encounter during your ride. You can find beginner-friendly bike routes and rides in your local My City Bikes resource. Click here to find and download your local app.
Whether you're a beginner or advanced rider it’s crucial to know your hand signals when riding your bicycle on the road. Need a refresher? Click here.
Loving the road but interested in taking your bicycle out on the countryside? Here's some helpful info on mountain biking that applies to riders beginners to advanced.
Biking is a fun and healthy recreational activity. If you prefer riding solely for recreational reasons you can find safe beginner biker info right here: (recreational biking entry)
Questions or suggestions? Contact us.
Wondering what the best choice of bike is for your child? Look no further. Here we break down everything you need to know about bike safety and bikes for your kids.
Kids love bikes! Whether they are in tow in a trailer, gliding on a balance bike or pushing their own pedals bikes are a childhood favorite. Follow this helpful guide to biking with your child to find the perfect bike and have a fun, safe ride together as a family.
HELMETS ARE A MUST: This rule goes for kids and parents even if you're no longer a beginner cyclist. Not only will both your noggins be covered, wearing your helmet teaches your child to do the same by example.
CARS COME FIRST: It can save their life for a child to understand that moving vehicles are a danger when walking and biking. As a beginner, little rhymes like this one can help children remember to be aware if they are near a road:
"Stop, look and listen before you cross the street.Use your eyes, use your ears and then use your feet."
Repeating this rhyme and demonstrating the actions of "stopping," "looking," and "listening" when you and your child are together at crosswalks will help them learn to be safe.
Family biking requires a lot of options for bicycles since we all come in indifferent shapes and sizes.
CHOOSE A BIKE THAT FITS YOUR CHILD NOW: Select a frame and components that match your child's current size and level of coordination and strength. Click here to learn more about Bike Fit. Visiting your local bike shop is great way to make sure you get the perfect bike fit for your child. Find your local expert here.
OPT FOR A LIGHTER WEIGHT BIKE: The heavier the bike the more difficult it is for a child to move it. Most children's bikes are made with heavier materials than adult bikes, so try and find the lightest option you can. This will prevent biking from being a strenuous activity. Click here to find out more about Bike Comfort.
A child seat is a great option for children as young as 12 months up to age 5. It is recommended to go with a back-mounted child seat for optimum safety. Child seats are similar to car seats in that they have secure straps, a back rest and often foot rests as well. Be sure that the seat you choose gives enough support for your child's stage of physical development, with younger children needing more support. This is a good choice for very young children, and for long or commute rides that are too fast or far for kids.
Bike trailers are carts or bike seats that attach to an adult's bike to tow children along for the ride. Most trailers accommodate one or two children. As beginner bikers, this makes it easy for your entire family to enjoy the ride. Cart-style trailers allow a child to sit and typically have a screen and/or weather shield that creates an enclosed space. Bike seat trailers have an extra wheel and seat that give the feel of being on a bike and are good for slightly older children.
A balance bike, sometimes called a run bike, is a bicycle for young children and beginners that helps them learn how to balance and maneuver. Balance bikes have no pedals or training wheels. Instead they are low enough that a child can sit on the seat with their feet touching the ground. They build up speed and momentum by doing a running motion with their legs (hence the nickname "run bike") while steering with the traditional handlebars. Adult supervision required.
A tricycle is similar to a bicycle, but instead of 2 wheels it has 3, two in back and one in front. Tricycles are great and safe for young children because the tripod construction is more stable than a traditional bicycle leading to a smoother ride. Children learn to sit, pedal and steer on a tricycle, but they do not learn to balance as they would on a 2-wheeler or balance bike. Adult supervision required.
Children moving up to their first "big kid" bike will typically require training wheels to help prevent falls while they develop their balance and maneuvering skills. Training wheels attach at the rear of the bike with one small wheel on either side to give more stability for a child and beginners teetering on his or her 2-wheeler. Adult supervision required.
Most children by around age 6 have developed the strength and dexterity to ride a bicycle without training wheels. The removal of training wheels means that the child must balance on his or her own, and adult assistance is strongly recommended as this skill is developed. There are two types of brakes on a bike, hand brakes and coaster brakes. Coaster brakes work by pedaling backward to slow the bike and are the best option for younger riders. Hand brakes work by squeezing a lever attached to the handlebar. Children biking under 6 generally lack the strength and dexterity to use hand brakes. Adult supervision strongly recommended.
Worldwide 1.9 billion adults and 42 million children under the age of 5 are overweight or obese (WHO). Biking is a safe, family-friendly activity to help maintain a healthy weight.
To learn more about bike maintenance and suitable rides for your family click here.
Feel free to contact us with questions and suggestions!
Have you ever wanted to get into biking but had concerns about discomfort? Worry no more. Here are some words from the wise on how to maintain the utmost comfortability when biking.
Barnett Bicycle Institute instructor Chris Caunt knows a thing or two about cycling after 40 years of riding and fixing bikes. His sage advice: "Body comfort is huge. It doesn't matter how slick your derailleurs are, if your buns are hurting you hate cycling. If your rear end is comfortable you'll have a great time. The three points of contact: your rear end your hands and your feet are very important. Then you have to add a helmet to be safe."
Even if your plans are solely recreational, always remember your head, hands, feet and seat when you're heading out for a bicycle ride:
For the utmost bike comfort, let's have a look at the three points of contact:
Questions or suggestions? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us.
Bike theft happens every day, but a few simple precautions can keep your bike safe.
How to lock up your bicycle
Step 1: Find a permanent, sturdy fixture like a bike rack.
Step 2: Put the back wheel of the bike close to the rack. Loop the U-lock through the back wheel of the bicycle and the frame of the bicycle, and lock the U-lock around the bike rack.
IF YOU HAVE A CABLE OR CHAIN...
Step 3: Take the cable or chain lock and thread it through the front wheel and through the locked U-lock, and lock the cable or chain around the bike rack.
IF YOU HAVE A 2ND U-LOCK...
Step 3: Loop the U-lock through the front wheel of the bicycle and the frame of the bicycle, and lock the U-lock around the bike rack.
With all of the different options for cables, chains and U-Locks it may feel a little overwhelming. Stopping into your local beginner-friendly bike shop to speak with an expert is a great way to make sure you're safe and secure every time you ride.
Barnett Bicycle Institute teacher Chris Caunt takes us through the most crucial items needed for on-the-go bike maintenance. A veteran bike mechanic, Chris has been teaching riders how to take care of their bicycles for more than 40 years at the Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI) where everyone from beginners to professionals can go to learn bike mechanics and even about bike comfort. Chris' advice for the safety of beginners is to learn how to be self-reliant and prevent maintenance problems whenever you can.
The experts at BBI advise that the most important thing a person new to biking needs to know is how to take care of a flat tire. Riders should have:
"That's really all you absolutely have to have on a ride," says Chris. Even if you don't yet know how to fix a flat, by having these tools with you you'll be prepared and equipped for a more experienced rider to be able to help. Here is a guide to get you started:
Click the buttons below for step-by-step videos for any beginner getting ready to ride or seasoned vet that simply needs a review. Questions or suggestions? We'd love to hear from you! Click here.
As a beginner it's easy to assume that once you get on a bike you're stuck with the way it fits. Not true! Here are a few tips on getting the perfect fit...
Click on the images above for a larger view.
The charts above will give you a sense of the size bike you need and the following tips will lead to a fun and safe biking experience. Once you've found the correct sized bike for your build, its time to make some minor adjustments to your seat and handlebars so that it fits just right. Here are some handy rules for you to begin understanding bike fit.
While they seem simple, these measurement techniques are 100% customized to your body size and have been tested in an M.I.T. study of more than 700 cyclists! Talk with an expert at your beginner-friendly local bike shop to double check the settings on your bicycle and help you make any of the final adjustments you need to be comfortable and have a great ride.You can find your local beginner-friendly bike shop by checking your local My City Bikes app here.
1. Saddle to Stem: In addition to the bike frame being the right size for you, bike seats move forward and backward. This measurement will help ensure your bike is the right length and your seat is in the right position for a safe ride. Standing beside your bike with your elbow touching the front edge of your seat, the tip of your middle finger should end exactly in the middle of your "steer tube," the tube that comes up from the front wheel and attaches to the handlebars. Move the seat forward or backward to adjust as needed.
2. Seat Height: Proper adjustment of your seat height will give you the most power to pedal and help prevent injury to your back and knees. Before you begin your ride, stand next to your bike, place your armpit on the bike seat in the same place you would if you were walking with crutches. With your arm fully straight, the tip of your middle finger should just touch the top edge of the "bottom bracket." The bottom bracket is the circular center of your "crankset" which connects to your pedal. Move the seat up or down to adjust as needed.
3. Stem Position: The "stem" of your bicycle is the piece that connects your steer tube (see "Saddle to Stem" above) to your handlebars. Place your hand on the side of the bike stem with the outside edge of your ring or pinkie finger touching the top rim of the steer tube where the stem is inserted. From the rim of the steer tube to the top where the bike stem goes forward toward the handlebars should be 3-4 fingers in height. Adjustment of this part may require a new stem. Speak with your local beginner-friendly bike shop about the options for your bicycle and for some basic bicycle maintenance tip you can click here.
With this knowledge you’re on your way to an awesome and safe biking experience! Time to ride! Keeping these three bike fit checks in mind will lead to safety and comfort on your bicycle. For more ride tips on safety and biking comfort check here.
In addition to bicycle comfort, you'll want to take in some tips for biking on the road to make sure you're safe and prepared.
You can bring your entire family in to your local beginner-friendly bike shop and get everyone fitted to their bikes properly before setting out on a family or group ride. For more info on family biking click here.
Questions or suggestions? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us.
Do you have a boardwalk near your beach? A nice bike path in your neighborhood park? Then Cruiser bikes are perfect for you.
Before heading out on the trails with your bicycle, make sure that you have the necessary safety gear so that you are safe, visible and protected.
Regardless of being a beginner or advanced rider, when preparing for a recreational bike ride these items are necessary:
Cruiser bicycles are built for comfort and safe recreational biking. If you're a beginner they're a great choice for you. They are heavier in weight and have thicker tires to easily coast over paved paths. As the name implies, cruisers are not built for speed but instead for going for an easy ride and taking in the scenery. In addition to a cruiser bicycle there are other accessories to keep in mind for bike comfort.
While cruiser bikes will give you the most comfortable ride, you can take any type of bike - road, mountain or commuter - on scenic trails. With any bicycle you want to make sure it fits you perfectly before you begin biking. As a beginner this is an important step to a fun and safe bike ride experience. Here are some tips on getting the best bike fit. You can also visit your local beginner-friendly bike shop for further assistance. Find your local expert here. Questions or suggestions? Contact us here.
Hand signals while riding your bike are as simple as 1-2-3. Let's have a look.
Whenever you're riding in traffic or with a group there may be a car or another rider behind you. Just like you use your blinkers and brake lights in a car, it is important to always use basic hand signals on your bicycle to keep you and other riders safe, and help avoid an accident. For more information on road biking click here.
Here are the hand signals:
If you're in a group or family ride setting and are riding in front of the other cyclists then pointing down to any danger you encounter on the road will be helpful to the other cyclists on the ride that are behind you.
These hand signals are imperative in making sure you have a safe and successful ride with your bicycle. For more tips on family biking click here. Group rides are a great way to practice these hand signals. Learn more about group rides here.
Many local bike shops offer group rides. You can find your local beginner-friendly bike shop in your local My City Bikes resource. Find yours here. Questions or suggestions? Contact us!
Bike racks let you take your bicycles anywhere and everywhere! Here's a guide to help find the best bike rack for you you and your vehicle.
Trunk Mount Bicycle Racks
Trunk racks can be adapted to almost any vehicle and are relatively easy to put on and take off of your car as needed. They can also be safely stashed in your trunk when you're not using them. The attachment points are designed to avoid scratching your paint, but that is a risk with this type of rack. Also, the design of the rack can lead to the bike(s) swinging, which can possibly damage your bike and/or car. Overall, the better quality trunk rack you buy the fewer issues you'll have. This does make your car longer, so be careful when parking, backing up, and lowering your garage door with the rack on. Thinking about biking on the mountains? Here's some beginner need-to-know info.
Hitch Mount Bicycle Racks
Hitch mount bike racks connect to your vehicle like a trailer hitch. Most cars, trucks and SUVs have the capacity for this type of rack, but to be safe be sure to consult your local bike shop to make sure that your vehicle can manage the load. With hitch style racks you generally have free access to your trunk.
Hitch racks are not as light or compact as trunk racks, but they can manage more bikes. As long as the type of hitch is the same, hitch racks can be switched from vehicle to vehicle. Again, this does make your car longer, so be careful when parking, backing up, and lowering your garage door with the rack on.
Roof Mount Bicycle Racks
Roof racks are a more permanent bike rack option. Roof racks are professionally installed on your vehicle and cannot be easily removed or switched from vehicle to vehicle. While roof racks are a great option that many people prefer, it takes height and strength to load and unload the bikes from the top of a vehicle. Keep that in mind if considering this type of rack. Roof racks can also reduce fuel efficiency when bikes are mounted. With bikes attached this does make your car taller, so use caution in underpasses and parking and home garages. When not loaded up with bikes, the roof racks do not impact the gas mileage or size of your vehicle. Going on a road trip with the entire family and need some family biking tips? Click here.
For more information on roof racks contact your local beginner-friendly bike shop for assistance. You can find them in your local My City Bikes resource.
Let's have a look at everything you need as a beginner for a fun, safe, and successful group bike ride. Before heading on your favorite group ride, make sure that you have the necessary safety gear so that you are visible, prepared and protected on your bicycle...
With group bike rides it's a good idea to arrive about 10-15 minutes early with your bicycle and talk to the ride leader, especially if you’re a beginner and it's your first time. Let them know that you're new, ask about group riding etiquette and which pack of riders to stick with based on your experience level. It's also a great idea to plan ahead for the weather so you know just what to expect. Here's a link with more info on weather prep. Happy riding!
Riding in a group can be a fun way to get your biking in, but there are certain "rules of the road" that all riders, beginner to advanced, should abide by in order to have a safe, enjoyable ride. It is a good idea to talk with someone at your local bike shop or a more experienced rider in the pack before you roll out on your bicycle, but you can start with three basics:
1. ALIGN YOURSELF: If you are biking behind someone pace yourself based on their speed and keep the front wheel of your bicycle directly in line with their back wheel with about 1-3 feet of space in between. If you are riding beside someone keep your handlebars directly in line with theirs so that you remain side-by-side with about 2-3 feet in between.
2. USE YOUR HANDS: Use the standard hand signals when biking to let the group know if you are turning, stopping or slowing down.
While riding your bicycle, If you see an obstacle in the road that could cause a problem like a pothole or broken glass, point down to the obstacle as you bike around it so that other riders behind you can do the same. This is an important rule to follow when biking regardless of being a beginner or advanced rider. Watch for these same signals from the riders in front of you so that you can respond safely. We know that road biking can be pretty intimidating. You can click here for some safety tips to make you feel confident and ready-to-go:.
3. STICK TOGETHER: If you find yourself drifting away from the pack, do your best to catch up and bridge the gap. If you are in a group that is breaking away or "dropping" slower riders "soft pedal," meaning that you slow your speed and intensity, until they are able to catch back up with you. If you need some on-the-go maintenance you can contact your local expert via you’re My City Bikes app, or check here for some maintenance info.
For more beginner tips on safe biking find your local My City Bikes app here. Questions or suggestions? Reach us here.
Riding on the mountainside and MTB trails is quite different from biking on the city streets. Here are some tips to get ready for the terrain.
Even if you're not a beginner, before heading out on the trails to ride with your bike, make sure that you have the necessary safety gear so that you are safe, visible and protected while biking.
In addition to these items you’ll want a perfect fit for your bicycle before setting out on the trail. For safe bike fit tips click here. You can also visit your local beginner-friendly bike shop for hands on adjustments. Find your local expert here.
Mountain bikes are built to give you grip and stability to tackle any type of terrain. Your mountain bike will carry you across dirt trails, rocky technical challenges and rough and tumble roots. Mountain bicycles are quite different than recreational cruiser bicycle and there are tons of options for your ride. As a beginner it's a great idea to speak with your local expert to get the best recommendations. Because of the difference in design you would not want to wind up on a dirt mountain trail with a cruiser bicycle. It simply just isn't built for the rough terrain. Preparing for the mountain bike trails means you should also prepare for the weather. Here are some tips on preparation for the weather.
No matter where your bicycle takes you, and regardless of your skill level – beginner or advanced, be sure that you're safe and prepared with:
If recreational biking is more your style then check out these safe beginner tips for riding your bicycle.
Mountain Biking can be fun for the entire family but there are additional fun beginner tips for everyone involved to keep safe before heading out on your ride. See them here.
Questions or suggestions? Contact us!
It takes some preparation for some weather changes to get in your way and there are still many options for riding even when the weather isn't on your side.
Hydration for Biking
To have a safe and healthy ride, you need to be prepared for the heat. Check the temperature and drink water or sports drink before you ride and every 15-20 during your ride to keep your body hydrated and healthy in all weather conditions. If you are on medications or have an illness that makes you sensitive to heat and/or sun exposure, be sure to consult with a health care professional before going on bike rides in hot weather.
Cold Weather Biking
Cold outside? Not to worry. With a few adjustments you can still get out (or stay in) and go for a ride! Take the safe beginner-friendly steps below to prepare yourself for biking during the winter weather.
A "trainer" is a device that you attach to your regular outdoor bike that converts it into a stationary bike. Trainers can be very convenient any time of the year, but especially when weather makes it uncomfortable/impossible to ride outdoors. They're a great and safe solution to biking during inclement weather.
There are many different brands and safe designs when it comes to trainers, but the main choice you'll have to make is whether you want one that creates resistance from magnets, liquid or air. Air resistance trainers are generally more affordable and can be quite loud. Magnetic and liquid resistance trainers are generally more expensive but much quieter. As a beginner you'll want to rely on your local bike shop expert to answer your questions. They can help you make the decision on which trainer is best for you as well as help with your bike fit.
You can adjust the intensity of your ride by changing the resistance of the trainer itself before you get on your bicycle, and then again by changing gears just as you would on a regular ride. You can hop on your trainer and watch TV, or get a cycling DVD that recreates the visual experience of riding outdoors in the comfort of your living room. When a bike race like the Tour de France or the Tour of California is on, tune in and race with the pros!
While trainers attach to your bike in the same general way, be sure to talk with your beginner-friendly local bike shop to find the best settings and adjustments for your bike.
Want to stick with your regular ride? Check with your beginner-friendly local bike shop for studded tires that give your commuter/road bike better grip in the ice and snow to keep you safe. A little tread adjustment can make all the difference and give you a more secure winter cycling experience. Gloves are very important in these conditions to make sure you don't slip and fall off of your bicycle. Click here for more info on important bicycle accessories.
Getting dressed to bike outside in the winter is key. A few important things to keep in mind are:
You are generating your own wind chill. However breezy it may be outside, add to that the fact that you're moving at a quick pace. Pick fabrics that are warm AND wind-proof and be sure to cover your hands, chest and face.
You're going to warm up. Biking to your destination means that you're generating some heat of your own. While an outfit may be toasty walking out the door, you are likely to be uncomfortably hot a few blocks into your ride. Layers are a good option so that you can adapt your clothing as your body temperature rises. Click here for helpful info on road biking.
Sweat happens. When you're pushing pedals under multiple layers of performance fabric, wool and who knows what else you are likely to break a sweat. It's a good idea to carry wipes, deodorant and any other travel-sized toiletries you may need to freshen up when you arrive at your destination.
Fat Bikes are bicycles with thick, broad tires that roll through snowy, muddy and rainy environments with ease. Their knobby treads give you grip and stability where other regular road/commuter tires slip which makes them ideal for wintry conditions. They may be a bit slower than your typical road or commuter bike, so if you're riding to commute be sure to give yourself some extra time. Visit your beginner-friendly local bike shop to find the best fat bike for you.
When choosing to stick with your normal ride being prepared for any on-the-go bike maintenance is vital. Click here for more info on basic bicycle maintenance.
Questions or suggestions? We'd love to hear from you!
This guide will help breakdown the four key design components to keep in mind for women cyclists.
More and more women are biking for transportation, recreation and sport. Female cyclists are incredibly diverse. This is your guide to the different types of bikes for each type or riding preference, so you can find the safest and best option for you. If you need assistance in finding the perfect bike for you be sure to visit your beginner-friendly local bike shop.
BIKE DESIGN FOR WOMEN
Most major bike companies today are making unique models for women. Because women have different bodily proportions than men, these bicycles are designed to be as safe, comfortable and efficient as possible for the female anatomy whether you're a beginner or advanced rider. What's the difference between men's bikes and women's bikes? Four key components: bike saddle width, top tube length, handlebar width and brake lever reach.
SADDLE WIDTH: As a beginner, the right bike saddle can make or break your biking experience. A bike saddle can be swapped out on any bicycle, so even if you are not ready to get a women's bike a saddle built for your anatomy is a great first step. Women's specific bike saddles (the seat of the bike) are designed for their wider pelvic bones. Women's saddles are typically wider than men's saddles, and a cutout or depression in the center of the saddle relieves pressure on sensitive areas for a more comfortable ride.
TOP TUBE AND HANDLEBAR STEM LENGTH: Women's torso length (the trunk of the body from shoulders to hips) and arms are typically shorter than men's. To accommodate, the "top tube" and "handlebar stem" of women's bicycles are shorter. The top tube is the horizontal part connecting the seat parts with handlebar parts. The handlebar stem connects the handlebars to the steering tube. In other words, the distance between the seat and handlebars is shorter so that women can have the most comfortable riding position. For more on bicycle comfort click here.
HANDLEBAR WIDTH: When comfortably gripping the handlebars a rider's hands should be shoulder-width apart. Men have broader shoulders than women and standard handlebars usually measure between 42-44cm wide to match the average man's build. Since women's shoulders are narrower, women's handlebars average around 38-40cm wide.
BRAKE LEVER REACH: Since women tend to have smaller hands the grips on women's bikes are smaller for a better fit. For the same reason, a woman's bike will have a shorter reach on her brake levers ensuring a safe and comfortable ride while biking.
In addition to being aware of these design elements it's also imperative to know some basic bicycle maintenance. Whether you're a beginner or advanced rider, these four design elements will lead to a fun and safe biking experience.
Planning on taking the family out for a weekend ride? Here are some helpful tips.
If you’re a beginner and just starting out then building a community of women cyclists can be a lot of fun and help lead to consistent bicycle rides. Here are some handy tips.
Having a safe bike also means that you have a bike that fits. For more info on getting the perfect bike fit click here.
Questions or suggestions? We'd love to hear from you! Contact Us.
Whether you're renting a bike or riding your own, My City Bikes DC offers tons of resources for a smooth ride. It has helpful tips for parents and kids. There's a section for women featuring bikes based on style and riding preferences. The app even integrates videos like "tips for the bicycle curious" that offers best practices for cycling in the city. Also for commuting, the app encourages riders to use local bike paths such as the Metropolitan Branch Trail and Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and others that stretch farther into D.C.'s suburbs like the Cabin John and Cedarville State Forest trails.—Christina Sturdivant