Bicycle View

Get Started Cycling: Top 4 Bicycle Basics to Get You Going

Are you thinking of getting into bicycling this year? It's a wonderful way to stay in shape. However, while riding upright and peddling are pretty much all you really need to know to get started, there are also a few basic things you also need to be aware of before you set out on that beautiful street or path.

Hand Signals

Most bicyclists assume cars watch out for them on the street. The truth is that drivers don't have a magical way to figure out which way you are turning and neither do other cyclists if you happen to be with a group. This is where knowing hand signals comes in handy. In many places these six basic hand signals aren't just a suggestion, they're the law:

Stop - Put your hand behind your back and make a fist.

Turn Left - Stick out your arm perpendicular to your body and be sure to signal a good 10 yards before you intend on turning.

Turn Right - Just as with the left turn, stick out your right arm perpendicular to your body and be sure to do it 10 yards in advance too so motorists and other bicyclists will know your intention.

Identifying a Hazard - Stick out your arm and point to the hazard. You can slo rotate your arm in little circles to re-identify the hazard others should avoid.

Gravel or debris - Hold your arm at a 45 degree angle and keep your hand open. With your palm facing the ground, wiggle your fingers to signal loos gravel or debris. Be sure to use the proper arm so that you don't accidentally signal away from the debris.

Pull Through - Keeping both hands on your handlebars, flick your right or left elbow away from your body. This will signal to the group you are with which side you are drifting over toward.

Wear a Helmet

The Bicycle Helmet Statistics page reports that "Eighty-six percent of bicyclist deaths are persons ages 20 and older" ( The number one most affected area when bicyclists are involved in an accident is the head. Wearing a helmet not only decreases the likelihood of a serious injury, but it can also save lives.

Check Your Bike

Just as with a car a bicycle is a vehicle that needs to be properly cared for and routinely checked for things such as proper air in the tires and breaks that work correctly. If the tires are low in your bike and you haven't ridden it in awhile use a bicycle pump to re-inflate them. Never use a gas station air pump. This could lead to the tires on your bike exploding (best hybrid bicycle under 1000).

Buying a Bike for the First Time?

Bicycling can really burn off unwanted calories. Be sure to purchase the correct bike for your taste and fitness level before starting off on your way. There are many different types. Depending on your personal style, pick which is the best for you from the list of each below:

Hybrid Bike - If you plan on riding on a lot of rocky, steep trails this  type of bike is for you.

Adventure - A blend between Cyclo-Cross, Mountain, and Sportive, this bike can do virtually anything the rider wants it to do.

Cyclo-Cross - Can be used for racing and have a lot of clearance surrounding the tires for potential encounters with mud.

Sportive - Not to be used in racing events, these bikes have wider tires to accommodate all weather riding conditions and bumpy terrain.

Touring - Designed for long trips, you can take your luggage with you with the rack provided on the back of the bike.