Becoming more confident on your bike, usually takes between 6 months to a year of steady riding. We advise that you start out slowly (1 time a week), and increase your frequency of riding (2-5 times a week), as your skills and confidence increases.
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This will require riding on various terrain such as the street, sidewalks, bike paths, light trails, and based on preference, even mountain bike trails. Riding different terrain and locations will improve your skills, which will greatly give you more confidence on your bike.
What are the 6 ways to be more confident on your bike?
1.Being confident on your bike comes from gaining knowledge and experience
The more you ride your bike, the more knowledge you will gain. You’ll eventually know what to watch out for when riding through intersections. What drivers of motor vehicles can do to cause accidents based on where they’re at on the road compared to you. And what to do to avoid these accidents by automatically learning how to plan ahead.
Another great thing you will learn is what type of gear to carry based on the type of weather you’ll be riding in. On rainy days you will find out that your backpacks, panniers, gloves, and jackets all need to be rain proof. During cold weather you will need warm helmet liners, full-fingered winter gloves, and firm fitting layers that aren’t too heavy in order to keep you warm, but prevent sweating.
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This type of knowledge only comes form riding on a daily basis. You’ll soon learn what works and doesn’t as you gain more knowledge and experience.
2. Get ready the right way
Stand over your bike without sitting on the seat. Just stand over the top tube with the seat behind you. Now use whichever foot you prefer to lift a pedal up and forward until it rests at a 45-degree angle upwards.
This is called the Power Pedal Position. Next, put your foot up on the pedal. With your other foot flat on the ground. At this point you should feel pretty stable (you can squeeze a brake, if that helps).
Every time you come to a complete stop, this will be the exact position you want to be in. By putting yourself in this position, you’ll be able to easily get started again from a complete stop. This is your new ready position.
Try moving the bike between your legs. You’ll immediately notice that you don’t move with it because you’re independently stable.
Confidence gained: Knowing that if the bike wobbles, you won’t. When it’s time to go, you can simply go without fumbling for the pedal since it’s already under your foot.
3. It all starts with power
Now that you’ve mastered the Power Pedal Position (see #2 above), you’re ready to get started riding. Take your time to learn this position. If you’re not ready yet, just keep practicing it until you are.
It won’t take long for you to master this position, so don’t get discouraged. After a few try’s starting with confidence is easy! Now all you need to do is step down on the pedal, using your momentum to sit up on the bike seat at the same time.
With your Power Pedal foot at the bottom of its arc, the other pedal will be sitting right on top. You won’t have to look for it, since it’s right there.
Confidence gained: No more worrying about starting your bike in traffic. You can start with total confidence that you aren’t going to fall, wobble, or bump into anything.
Bonus confidence! You look more in control and that projects confidence even when you’re not feeling it. As the old saying goes, “Fake it ’til you make it!”
4. Stop smart
Every bike has two brakes, unless you ride a bmx bike. There’s a brake on the front wheel and one on the back. These brakes are designed to work together, so make sure you use both of them when you want to stop.
Squeeze both brakes gently but firmly at the same time. Just squeeze them firmly enough to stop without skidding. Once you’re almost stopped, you can slide forward off of your saddle and place a foot (either one, but not your Power Pedal foot) flat on the ground. Then reset to Power Pedal Position.
Confidence gained: Stopping with authority gives you ultimate confidence. No wibbles and wobbles means no worries.
5. Get to know your bike
As you ride your bike more you’ll become more familiar and confident with it. You’ll know when it’s working well and when it needs a tune-up at your local bike shop.
While riding it, learn how it looks, sounds and feels when it’s in prime condition: tires full of air, brakes aligned and squeal-free, chain lubricated and quiet. By learning as much as you can about your bike, as soon as something starts to look dirty, feel squishy or sound scrape-y, you’ll know what needs to get fixed.
Confidence gained: Knowing you can trust in your bike to get you where you need to be. Knowing which sounds/sights/feels are okay and which are warning signs.
Bonus confidence! Being able to explain at least a little better what’s wrong at the bike shop.
6. Take a City Cycling class!
We hope the following 6 ways to be more confident on your bike has helped. If you’re confidence levels is still a bit low, you can always join a local City Cycling class!
Most of these classes are conducted at local bike shops where they’ll teach you the basics of riding. Safety. What to do in case of an accident. And even basic bicycle maintenance such as changing flat tires.
Confidence gained: All 6 bicycle boosting tips, plus lots more!