A Beginner's Guide To Road Biking Basics & Safety

Posted on: 26 January 2016

You might have done some biking when you were child, but now you may want to go the extra mile and do some real road biking. The following guide will show you some basic pointers to help you get started.

Know The Positions

One of the most important things to master is the proper positions your body should be in (this works best when the bike fits your body perfectly). The following are the 3 basic positions that you should know about, and they will help you in different situations:

Neutral Position---This position resembles what you might remember about learning to ride a bike. Your hands sit on top of your bike hoods or the brakes and shifters. Your torso and arms should form a 90 degree angle, while your shoulders push back. And your back should be as straight as possible, which you can do easily by pushing your chest forward.

Descending Position---Another position that you need to master is the descending position, which starts with the neutral position but forces you to fall forward as you pick up speed downhill. You need to use your bike's handle extensions under the hoods of the bike during this time.

So bend the torso from your midsection during a descent, and push your buttocks back. Bending forward and coming slightly off the seat gives you more control over the center of gravity, meaning you'll have more control of your bike. And pushing your buttocks back puts more pressure on your bike's back tire, giving your more traction if you need to press on your brakes. Bicycling.com says that this position is easier to master if you actually relax; and, make sure your eye-line is about 4 to 5 riders ahead so you can watch for obstacles. Making sure your focus is farther ahead than your handlebars can be difficult at first since this position is hunched over, so make sure you practice this position on a slight incline before a large hill.

Climbing Position--This position helps redistribute weight and the center of gravity to make it more bearable to climb a steep road. You should start at neutral; then begin to stand up while pushing slightly forward. Make sure you push your torso forward using your hips. 

Know The Dangers

Yes, cars are a big danger, but there are other things that may pose a danger to you. Rain is your enemy, so ride your bike slower and wear highly visible clothes to be seen through the rain. Avoid patches with rainbow edges because it likely means there is oil, which can be very slippery.

Be wary of potholes and other debris. Use the climbing position to help you stay stable should you be unable to avoid an obstacle; just make sure you keep your arms and legs loose. And avoid sudden braking--trust your bike's momentum.

You can talk to your biking specialist about other things that you should know as a beginner.