6 Common Cycling Mistakes to Avoid
When first starting in cycling, it is easy to make mistakes. If left unchecked, these mistakes can become habits affecting your performances and enjoyment of the sport. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at the most common cycling mistakes new riders make.
1 Incorrect Saddle Height
An incorrectly positioned saddle leads to all kinds of issues. You are more at risk of injury if you are not seated correctly. You may bob up and down as you ride or bounce on the saddle.
All of this is a waste of energy. You should be focusing your energy through your glutes and legs.
One way to know your saddle height is to get a professional bike fit. The ideal saddle height should see your leg almost fully extended if you push the pedal down with your heel. You can use this method to work out your saddle height quite accurately.
2 Overdoing It
We all want to ride further and faster, but overextend, and you could find cycling isn’t quite as much fun as you first thought. Take the time to build up gradually. This will not only reduce the risk of injury, but you will grow in confidence with each ride, getting more enjoyment with each mile ridden.
Getting your nutrition right is important, and there is a balance to find. Too much food and you’ll overload on carbs and feel sluggish. Too little and you’ll run out of energy and ‘bonk’. Take the time to get to know how much food and drink you need to pack away to keep the pedals turning on longer rides. It is good practice to take more food on long rides than you think you’ll need. You can check out our cycling nutritional posts for advice.
Always take plenty of water with you on every ride. The importance of keeping hydrated can’t be overstated.
4 Carry Spares
It is essential you prepare for a puncture or two on every ride. Being stranded miles from home is no fun should something go wrong with your bike. Being able to change innertube is an invaluable skill. As a minimum, ensure you pack:
- Two innertubes
- Tyre levers
- Puncture repair kit
- Lightweight pump or gas canisters
It is good practice to take a bank card and a note just in case you run into issues.
5 Maintain Your Bike
Although this is obvious, routine bike maintenance can be ‘something I’ll do later’ especially if you have a full, busy life. Poorly maintained bikes develop more faults, and there is a significantly increased risk of breaking down mid-ride.
Essentially, you want to ensure that your bike is well lubricated, and you inspect your tyres for wear, and you keep the brakes and gears in good working order. While you’re about it check for rattles in the handlebars. If you are super busy, you may want to schedule maintenance with your local bike shop a few times a year.
6 Braking Too Hard
Braking is a cycling art in of itself. If you can learn to control your speed using your brakes only when you need to, then you’ll find your cycling will be more efficient. In other words, it will be faster and more enjoyable.
A common mistake is to slam on the brakes hard rather than applying them just enough to keep at a manageable, safe speed. If you learn to use your brakes effectively, you will not lose valuable momentum and expend less energy.
Slamming on the brakes and almost coming to a stop slows you down, requiring more effort to get back up to speed and this eats into your energy. Unless you have to do an emergency stop or have to stop dead for junctions and the like, try and keep the bike moving as much as you can.
Cycling mistakes are common; however, once you’re aware of them, you can work on eliminating them to ride more effectively. One of the best ways to avoid cycling mistakes is to cycle with us in Mallorca on one of our holidays and training camps. This is where the pros train, and after a week’s cycling with our pro coaches, you’ll soon be riding mistake-free.