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Tips For A Better Bike Ride

While on my vacation this week, I’ve been able to spend some time taking my bike out on a couple of trails and I have compiled a little list of ways to have a better experience on a bike ride. I don’t always get to take my bike out as much as I would like, especially when trying to coordinate a time and place to go with other people, so the last couple of days, I’ve gone out by myself and explored some of the local trails.

My suggestions may not apply to everyone, but are just a few things I do to make the ride more enjoyable.

1- Plan the route ahead of time.

I try to get an idea of the area I’ll be going before setting out, and its important to know where to park, where the starting and end points are, etc. In my part of southern Illinois, this is a great website to look up bike trails. Another great resource is Trailnet, as there are a ton of events they sponsor throughout the year all around the St. Louis area.

2- Double check your equipment before leaving home.

This seems like it might be unnecessary to mention, but I’ve made the mistake of forgetting to check my tires before, and ended up with a flat tire mid-route. Luckily someone else had a spare part that worked and saved the day. Had I been by myself that time, I would have ended up doing a lot of walking back to the starting point. I now check the tire pressure every time I plan on going out on my bike.

3- Dress appropriately.

Another thing that is pretty much common sense, but as I’ve seen people out on the trails in flip-flops, I think this is worth mentioning. For any sport or physical activity you participate in, it’s very important to have the right equipment. If you are biking; a helmet, appropriate footwear, and comfortable clothes are necessary. If you know that your hands are going to get sore, then wear gloves made for the activity. I’m not saying it’s necessary to go out and buy the special shorts and shirts so you look like you’re ready to compete in a race, but if you plan on spending a lot of time riding, it might be a good idea to invest is some of the specialized apparel.

4- Bring plenty of water.

One of the best purchases I’ve made is the Camelpak- the backpack made for carrying water. It is super convenient to carry as it’s a backpack, and eliminates the need to mess with water bottles, as there is a straw that you can reach one-handed without having to stop. I usually try to put it in the freezer before I leave, so it will be a little colder, and I like the handy pocket mine has, which is the perfect size for holding an energy bar.

5- Have fun.

When I ride with a friend, I try to keep at a steady pace where we can talk and laugh. By myself, I try to make sure I have my headphones and iPod, and I’ll just put on some favorite music to pass the time. I’ve learned that if I can keep myself a little distracted, either with conversation or music, I can forget about the fact that my legs are going to be jello by the time I’ll get back to my car.

Some of my list can apply to other sports and activities, so hopefully it’ll be helpful for others.

Responses (2)

  1. john says:

    The thing I would I add is not to listen to your headphones too loud, even on a bike trail. Can’t stand other when people can’t hear when I’m coming up from behind.

    That’s another thing, if your coming up from behind call out your presence to other trail users, don’t be shy, use your voice and don’t wait until the last moment to call your presence out, call it out early.

    • Katy says:

      Thank you for those additional tips John.
      I completely forgot about the calling out to other riders you are about to pass, and that is extremely helpful in staying safe.

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