Tips for Riding a Bicycle on a Busy Road

Riding a bicycle either as a sport, recreational exercise or as a means of transportation is becoming popular these days. More often, cyclists choose roads with less traffic. However, when it cannot be avoided, some bicycle riders have to go through busy streets and bike their way through traffic.

When riding a bicycle through a busy street, no matter how covered and protected you are with your helmet and safety gears, if you don’t follow traffic rules and road discipline, you might be putting yourself at risk with danger.

Accidents do happen anytime and anywhere but there are things that you can do to avoid encountering one when you ride your bicycle on a busy street.

A bicycle, once it hits the road, it is treated like any vehicle on the road. Therefore, when you ride your bicycle on a busy street, it is advisable to follow traffic rules such as stopping on a red light, know when to yield, avoid overtaking on the shoulders, and follow bike lanes or bike paths if there any.

When on the road, you might want to remember to always keep your hands on the handle bars and a finger or two over the brake levers so you can be prepared to hit the brakes when needed.

More experienced bicycle riders advice beginner riders on the road to be heard and be seen. You may want to use a horn or bell so pedestrians can hear you or other motorists can be alerted of your presence. Have your bike installed with reflectors as well as with head lights and tail lights. You may also want to remember to avoid a driver’s blind spot so cars and trucks ahead can know of your presence.

You can also avoid accidents if you ride in a predictable manner so that cars can go around you without bumping into you. Using hand signals will also alert motorists of your movements and can spare you from road mishaps.

Just like any motorist on the road, it is wise to observe road courtesy. You may want to smile when you make that turn or wave as a signal of thanks when you are given the right of way.

Good riding habits are also important to remember. Just like driving cars, it is not wise to ride a bicycle when you are intoxicated as this may affect your reflexes and may result to poor judgment on the road. Another road hazard to avoid is texting while cycling.

Finally, it is wise to plan your route and stay alert when riding on a busy street.

How to Teach Your Child to Ride a Bicycle

Cycling training – a different approach that works!

Hey, it’s much easier than you think. The old way of doing it (running behind or along side your child and pushing her) is an outdated and undue punishment for both you and the frustrated student. A punishment for you, the parent, because you quickly run out of breath (you’re not the sprinter you used to be in high school), and a punishment for your child because she doesn’t understand why on earth she crashes every time you’re getting tired and release your grip of her saddle. She realizes that learning to balance is a scary and stressing ordeal.

Well, I’m here to break the good news: kids aged 4 to 6 can easily and quickly (and I mean quickly) learn to independently ride without training wheels and without an adult gripping their saddle from behind.

The technique described here is much safer than the old one and has a much higher rate of success, based on the experience of many happy children who learned to ride this way.

This is how it works: remove the training wheels and remove the pedals from your child’s bicycle. Lower the saddle so your child can easily place both her feet on the ground while seated. From this point on, your young student takes full control. She is in charge of moving the bicycle, with no help from you, with no pushing or balancing on your part (unless she asks for it). You can compare the bicycle with no pedals to a two-wheel scooter, which kids love and enjoy riding and balancing with no fear.

A word on children’s capabilities: it may come as a surprise, but little children do have good instincts and common sense which translate into self esteem and confidence it they get a chance to use them. In the old way, the student is taught to rely on someone else to balance the bicycle, and not on himself. The adult was the one who controlled the situation, the movement, the speed. The adult was the one preventing crashes and providing a false sense of safety which crashed when he let go. This erodes trust and makes the experience scary.

With the suggested technique, your young student is the one making the calls. She determines how fast she goes, she is the one moving and balancing, and controlling the bicycle from the get go, she is the one preventing the crash by simply placing her feet on the ground. This builds trust. Trust in her capabilities. This builds self esteem and confidence.

You explain to your student that all she has to do is create a little movement ahead while balancing. You tell her that she can’t fall, because the minute something doesn’t feel right, she can always put her feet down on the ground (which is the starting position) and brake. She has to try and hold her feet in the air a little while and keep pushing this way.

Make sure you choose the right spot for this training: flat ground (no slopes), no vehicles, and no obstacles. You can also take her to the park and find a grassy field, so if she does crash, it’s a softer landing. Long pants are advisable, to prevent scratches when falling. Use this opportunity to teach your child to wear a helmet, so she can get used to it.

After just a couple of lessons your child will get the hang of it. Now she feels the balance, and she masters the first and very important skill of balancing. You can now replace the pedals, move the saddle up an inch, so her feet comfortably reach the ground, but not as easily as before.

Next, choose a grassy field with a gentle slope, and let your child go down the slope, balancing with her feet on the pedals. After a few runs, she will feel comfortable and add pedaling. It’s important you explain to her in advance how to apply the brakes. At this point all you have to do is behold the magic: your child enthusiastically pedals and just can’t get enough!

Many parents say that after years of painful failures, their child finally gets the hang of riding a bicycle with this technique. Enjoy.

How to Take Care of Your Bicycle’s Chain and Deraileurs

If you ride your bicycle long enough your chain will become worn and stretched and need replaced. You can buy special tools that will measure how much it has stretched and most shops have these. Most riders however do not purchase a special tool just to see if their chain is stretched.

The simplest way to find out if you need a new chain without buying a special tool is to use a 12″ ruler. Hold the chain straight, I like to lay it on a flat surface like my workbench and measure from the center or a rivet to the center of the rivet closest to 12″ away. If the distance is more than 12 1/8″ throw out the chain and get a new one. A new chain right out of the box should be exactly 12″. Some riders simply keep track of their mileage and change the chain every so many thousand miles. Depending on the rider and sometimes on the rider’s pocketbook that is often anywhere between 2000 and 4000 miles.

Sometimes you may hear scraping noises coming from the crank area. This noise often indicates that the chain is rubbing the front derailleur. If the front derailleur is bent like one I got in just the other day, replace it. Sometimes though you can fix it with a slight adjustment, simply by moving the derailleur enough to center the cage but not cause a shift.

Sometimes on some bikes extreme chain angles occur if you are using a gear combination like using the largest rear gear with the smallest front gear or vice versa. Some people would say just don’t use those combinations. I have a Giant OCR 2 and a Specialized Expedition and have ridden numerous other brands and models of quality bikes. I have used those combinations both ways on more occasions than I can count and have never heard noise from that area on any quality bike. I have only heard this noise on some of the department store bikes I have ridden at various times. Personally I think if the bike is a quality bike is maintained properly and the parts adjusted properly you won’t have that problem.

Your chain should be kept lubricated, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much oil or lube can cause a build up and may cause sand and grit to cling to the chain and soon damage the chain, cogs, and cassette. The general rule is 1 drop of lube per link, wipe off the excess and allow chain to dry for 24 hours before riding if at all possible. This will allow the lube’s liquid carrier to evaporate and keep the drivetrain much cleaner.

If you ride in the rain, your will find it best to hose off your bike which will remove most of the grit and grim from it. You should also towel it off and spray some lube in the derailleur and brake pivot points anywhere where water may accumulate such as the ends of cable housings to keep those areas from rusting and causing problems in the future. Again wait 24 hours before riding and wipe off any excess lube.

Using Your Bicycle to Get in Shape Fast

If you have a bicycle, it may be easier than you think to lose weight and get in shape. Riding a bicycle on a regular basis can really help you to lose those extra pounds that you want, get in shape and feel better. There are a lot of positive reasons why you would want to ride a bicycle and not only is it a great way to get in shape and get everywhere that you need to go, it is also a very affordable way to get the exercise that you want and can help you to use the bicycle instead of having to spend a lot of money on other types of gym memberships.

If you have been thinking about joining a gym or investing a lot of money into new exercise programs, you may want to consider spending more time on your bicycle instead. There are a lot of easy ways that you can begin to use your bicycle instead of driving or riding public transportation around the city. If you want to start getting in better shape, and lose weight, try to find a way to use your bicycle to commute to your job, do some of the shopping that you need to do, and go for rides around in the park or area near your home.

Riding a bicycle is often much more affordable than other means of getting around like driving or public transportation, and you can find the benefits not only in helping you to save money, but in the weight that you are able to lose and improve your health. If you do not already have a bicycle and need to find a new one, you can find many that are affordable and fit your style. There are a lot of great web sites that sell used and new bicycles so that you are able to find the one that you want.

You can also find a lot of different styles and types of bicycles that can be used for different riding both in the country, and in the city. The bike that you choose to ride depends on where you are going to be doing most of the riding, and what size and type of bicycle you are looking for. If you have been trying to find a new and better way to get in shape and feel great, you can find that riding your bicycle even some of the times that you would normally use other transportation can not only help you get in better shape and make you feel good, it can also help you save money and you can feel better.