How to Ride a Road Bicycle

How to Ride a Road Bicycle
Riding a bike to work, on errands, or just for fun, is a great way to stay in shape and lower your carbon footprint. Road bikes are different than mountain bikes. They have thinner tires, typically no suspension and more streamlined frames. When riding on the road, you don't need large tires or suspension, but you need reduced friction for speed. So go ahead, jump on your road bike and hit the road.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Equipment

Things You’ll Need:
  • Helmet Bike Pump
  • Helmet
  • Bike
  • Pump
Step 1
Wear a helmet. The road makes for a hard landing, and other road users can make mistakes even if you don't.
Step 2
Get a pry-baby, or other tool, that helps loose the tire from the wheel rim. You'll need to be practiced at changing your tires if you become a regular road bike user.
Step 3
Use a bike pump to inflate your tires. A pump with fittings for both Presta and Schrader valves is useful. It can be used on different tire types.
Step 4
Don't be afraid of toe-caps or clip-in pedals. They allow you to get more out of your stride. There's a knack to stepping out of these when necessary, so get used to the action to reprogram your reflex. Clip-in (or clipless) pedals require a new set of shoes.
Step 5
Consider bike shorts and shirts to minimize air resistance. If you're commuting on your bike, a sidesaddle can carry your office equipment and a change of clothes.
Step 6
Carry a couple of spare inner tubes in case you get a flat.

Hitting the Road

Step 1
Learn all traffic signals and road maneuvers. Always take a look over your shoulder before changing lanes, or moving to the middle of the road to execute a left turn. Bikes can be hard to see, and easily disappear into a drivers' blind spot. Most accidents happen when a driver hasn't seen you, not the other way around.
Step 2
Get used to smoothly changing between gears. The left shifter changes the gears on the pedal ring. The right shifter changes the gear on the rear wheel. The larger the gear cog on the pedal gear relative the gear cog on the rear wheel, the higher the gear, the more revolutions the rear wheel will make with each pedal, and the faster you will travel. More force is required to turn higher gear ratios, so use low gears for uphill and when starting off.
Step 3
Signal with the arms, left arm out for a left turn or lane change. Put your right arm out for a right turn, or lane change.
Step 4
Stop at all traffic lights. Shift to a low gear and put one foot down when stopping. Swivel the pedal into an up position for your first stroke when the light changes.
Step 5
Be particularly attentive to road crossings when riding the sidewalk. Drivers have a hard time seeing bikes coming to cross in front of them from the sidewalk, so make eye contact with the driver, if possible.
Step 6
Keep room between you and the sidewalk when riding the road, but don't ride in the middle of the lane. When in the left lane, stay more to the left side of the lane, but keep ample room between you and oncoming traffic.
Step 7
Don't let drivers bully you. Take your time. They will go around, giving you ample room.
Step 8
Watch for bus lanes, pedestrians, and other road-users at all times.
Step 9
Use bike lanes where applicable.

Tips & Warnings

 
A chain tool can be useful to regular riders. Always keep your chain lubricated.
 
A chain tool can be useful to regular riders.
 
Always keep your chain lubricated.
 
Watch the traffic! In any collision you'll be the loser, so it is up to you to stay visible and keep tabs on surrounding vehicles. Learn the rules of the road. You're a road user, and you will need to recognize signs and obey all postings and road rules.
 
Watch the traffic! In any collision you'll be the loser, so it is up to you to stay visible and keep tabs on surrounding vehicles.
 
Learn the rules of the road. You're a road user, and you will need to recognize signs and obey all postings and road rules.

Article Written By Benjamin Williams

Ben Williams is an award-winning reporter and freelance writer based out of Colorado. He has written for conglomerates of newspapers and magazines, supplying news, features, editorial and opinion. While running an Energy Services and consulting firm, he also writes for multiple websites.

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