I’ll be doing a series of blog posts that will (hopefully) be helpful to those new to biking (in general) and those new to biking on Trout Run Trail. Some simple biking tips, tricks, and a little personal experience thrown in. Hopefully you will find this a candid and light-hearted way to look at beginner lessons and finding that riding bikes is supposed to be fun!
1. No matter what kind of rider you are, you should always wear a helmet. Of course some of you reading this will scoff at this, however, talk to someone who has fallen/crashed or otherwise had an accident on a bike-you might change your tune. There is no such thing as too much or too little riding experience. Seasoned riders crash and new riders crash-it hurts! The helmet protects your skull; if you go out riding without a helmet and crash-expect an “I told you so.”
2. Water. No rider is immune to the benefit of water, especially on a hot and humid day. You should always have plenty of water for your trip. More importantly-drink your water!
3. Unless you have a single-speed….Shift Those Gears! Shifting is your best friend-especially on the hills, switchbacks, and any other incline you will find yourself going up. Basic rules of gear shifting can be explained by your local bike shop. Once you have shifting down, you will have even more fun out on your bike-ability to climb hills means more adventures! Shifting is good-for the ride and your knees.
4. When the nice man at the local bike ship gives you tips on how to get onto your bike or stop safely-heed his advice. Being able to do those two basic things can eliminate accidents or mishaps that could occur otherwise. Granted, it may take awhile for you to get it down gracefully (believe me, I still fumble here and there!) but once you do, you’ll feel more confident than before! You may not see how it applies to paved trail riding, but you will come to points where you need to stop, get off the bike, etc. If you end up commuting around town, being able to properly get on/off/stop are going to be intergrated even more into your life. Learn to do it right.
5. Announce your passing in some shape or form. There are other people using Trout Run Trail for recreational purposes (running and walking)-yes, some do not pay attention, but you can be assured you did your part by announcing your passing. If you don’t feel comfortable just saying “on your left” get a bell or shift gears-then announce. I usually throw in a "thank you" as well. You might come across people who still don’t hear you, I kindly say “I’m trying to pass you, please!” and then they will move over (usually with an apology).
This concludes a short list of some of the most basic “beginner” tips that I feel are important. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts/ideas to put with my next blog post on additional tips/tricks for beginner bike riders!
More importantly-Have Fun!