New year, new cycling habit? Top tips for getting on your bike this January

New bike for Christmas?  New year’s resolution to learn to ride properly?

Follow our top tips and you’ll be cycling with confidence before too long.

  1.  Make sure your bike is roadworthy.  This video shows you how to do an “M check” on your bike to make sure it’s safe.  Once you’ve mastered it, the M check only takes a minute or so.  Invest in a foot pump, set of Allen keys, Phillips screwdriver, and set of spanners, and you will be able to carry out most basic maintenance tasks.  Look our for our maintenance classes starting in February.

VIDEO:  Louise shows how to remove a back wheel in seconds at a maintenance class.  

2Make sure your bike is adjusted for your body size and shape.  Many people have their saddle too low.  This puts pressure on your muscles and joints.  Here’s a quick guide to ensuring the correct fit; and a longer video (lycra not necessary).  If you aren’t a confident cyclist yet then get someone else to hold the bike for you while you’re doing this.

3.  Choose a good location.  A hard surface in a park, with no cracks or potholes is best.  Don’t try to ride on the grass.  Try and find somewhere with plenty of space and where there are as few pedestrians and animals as possible.  If you’re in South Birmingham then we think a good place is the tennis courts in Victoria Common.

4Ditch the stabilisers.  The best place for a young child to learn to ride is on a balance bike.

We have balance bikes that are suitable for younger children (aged 3-5) that you can borrow for free subject to availability.  You can convert an existing bike to a temporary balance bike – remove the stabilisers (easy) and remove the pedals – this needs a pedal spanner, we have one you can borrow.  You can put the pedals back on later.

Start by getting the child to walk along while sitting on the saddle, with their feet on the floor, pushing themselves along on each foot in turn, just like walking.  Encourage them to go a bit faster each time by pushing a bit harder with their feet.  Eventually they will be able to glide along with minimal contact between their feet and the floor.  At this point they are ready to learn pedal because they have the balance and the ability to push forward with the feet.  A child who can scoot on a balance bike will learn to pedal much more quickly than a child who is used to stabilisers.

Try not to hold on to the child or to their bike.  Children are capable of learning to ride without an adult holding on to them.  Our instructors will never hold on to a child or their bike.

The next video is good for adults learning to cycle:

5.  Attend one of our cycling tuition classes.  We can teach adults and children, any ability.  Times and dates vary throughout the year.  Click here for latest news.  Sign up to our mailing list.

6.  Let us know how you get on!  Post on our Facebook page or Tweet us.

Happy cycling and please do contact us if you need any advice.

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