Sweden is a country where we love our cycles. A large percentage of the population use bikes for daily commutes, for the sake of exercise and these numbers are increasing all the time. The tips given below will be useful for cyclists as they will help you ride better and have more fun while keeping you safe on the streets.
Make sure your saddle(seat) is comfortable:
It is important that you both set the saddle at a comfortable height and that you have adequate padding. If the saddle is set at a wrong height, it can cause you to become less efficient, put tremendous pressure on your knees or might ruin your riding experience. Similarly, you can always make your commute more comfortable by buying aftermarket saddle/seat cover which is often filled with gel.
Learn how to brake right
Braking with a Front brake to Rear Brake ratio of 60:40 or 70:30 would be optimal for the most efficient braking. Although the front brake is more efficient in shedding speed, on gravel or under wet conditions it might be better to alter how much of the front and rear brakes are applied as it is sometimes better to lose traction on the rear tyre than at the front
Make full use of your gear system
Maintaining 70-90 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) on your bicycle would make you an efficient cyclist. Learning which gear to use as the road and terrain changes is a skill that comes with experience and is something that you must strive to master. For example, attempting to ride your bike on a higher gear up a hill will cause your power output to taper off and make the action much harder putting a lot of unnecessary strain your knees
If you like to take turns at a fast pace, you must learn how to do it correctly. You must position yourself in such a way that the shift in the centre of gravity allows you to make a smooth motion as you sweep around the turn. The outer pedal (away from the curve) must be positioned as low as possible and the inner pedal (which leans into the curve) should be at its apex with your knee pointing away from your cycle
Clean and oil your chain regularly
The importance of this activity cannot be stressed enough. A smooth ride equals a good experience. Well lubricated drivetrains ensure that your pedalling efforts are translated to your bike as efficiently as possible
Keep your tyres filled to the recommended pressure
Over inflating your tyres can make the ride uncomfortable, the reduced contact between your tyre and the road can increases the stopping distance (using your brakes to stop the cycle) and cause your rims to bend if you hit the kerb too hard. Under-inflating them can lead to the rims cutting up your tyres from the inside, can cause you to put more effort into getting to and maintaining a comfortable speed or may even cause tyre punctures more easily. There are times when under or over inflating your tyres can be helpful and we will talk more on this in coming series of the blog.
Change position while riding
Frequently vary the position of your seating, arms, legs and neck. This will make sure that you do not develop cramps or feelings of numbness. Varying your seating positions can also have impact on your performance as moving to and fro can cause different muscle groups to activate. For instance, if you moved backwards on your saddles, focus would shift from your quadriceps to your hamstrings.
Check the weather forecast before you set off on a ride
Like a sailor, knowing what to expect is winning half the battle. Dress up according to the weather forecast and maybe if the forecast is terrible, you might want to skip out on hitting the streets.
Invest in good locks
Unfortunately, the number of bike thefts in Sweden have been rising and since prevention is better than cure, make sure that you purchase a high-quality lock, maybe two even.
Look toward where you want to go
Instead of focusing on obstacles, shift it to the line you want to hold or the path you want to take. Keep your eyes up and always look ahead instead of down.
No matter what kind of bike your ride or where you ride it, these tips will make your commute more enjoyable while keeping you safe. We will be back again next week with more bike advice and as always, Happy Cycling!