Road Biking Tips And Techniques You Should Know
Ready to hit the road? We’re here to guide you on your way to becoming a seasoned road cyclist. Or, maybe you already are and just need some brushing up on tips and techniques.
Road cycling is the most common form of biking and generally takes place on a paved surface. Today, many cycling enthusiasts turn to road biking to stay in shape, enjoy time outdoors with family and friends, discover new places, or race competitively. For a complete breakdown of road biking, check out our comprehensive guide to cycling.
So, what are the best road bike tips? How can you make the most out of your next road biking adventure? Follow our expert tips and tricks, below.
8 Road Bike Tips and Techniques
First, we’ll dive into tips for the beginner, including how to choose the best entry level road bike, helmets to wear when road biking, and best practices for successful rides. Then, we’ll offer some more advanced techniques for those who ride competitively.
Road Bike Tips for Beginners
Choosing the right road bike
The most basic and the best entry level road bikes are generally lightweight and less complicated than, say, mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes and high-end road bikes. Many models of road bikes have drop handlebars (handlebars that curve) or flat handlebars, and almost all models have skinny wheels and tires. There’s no such thing as choosing the wrong road bike since a wide range of styles and sizes exist — you just have to test out what feels most comfortable to you and your body.
Pro-tip: When you sit on the saddle and straddle a bike, you want to feel about an inch of clearance from the ground. If you’re too high off the ground, it can be difficult to stay balanced and if you’re too low to the ground, pedaling will be uncomfortable; you can hurt your knees and it's also not an efficient way to pedal as you won't be getting the optimum power through your legs.
Choosing the right helmet
All standard cycling helmets meet safety standards, so at the end of the day, it’s about choosing one that feels comfortable and fits correctly. Different features of helmets to consider include:
- Absorbent padding for wicking sweat and moisture control
- Chin strap for added security and roll-off prevention
- Lightweight so it's comfortable on long rides
A helmet should always fit snugly, but not too tight. Most importantly, it should always be worn no matter how leisurely your ride, even if you're only going to be on the bike for a few minutes. If you’re having trouble choosing a helmet, why not order one that’s custom to your measurements that you know you’d never have to adjust? At KAV, our Portola Helmet is 3D printed for you and only you. Not to mention, our helmet, using state-of the art technology, comfortably exceeds all safety standards. You’ll be well on your way to road biking like a pro in one of our helmets that's custom made specifically to your unique measurements.
- Shifting gears
Unsure about how to work the gear shifter? No worries. Remember, the lower the gear, the easier you can pedal and the higher the gear, the more resistance you’ll experience, making it harder to get up that hill. Shifting gears is meant for changing terrain and overall speed. You should always feel a bit of resistance when pedaling, so you know you’re getting in a good workout and taking good care of the bike by not putting the components under unnecessary strain or tension. Test this out with a trial and error method on different surfaces and you’ll be getting the most out of your road bike in no time.
- Riding with etiquette
- Never ride against traffic — always cycle with the flow of the traffic
- Follow traffic signs and signals like you would when driving a car
- Properly hand signal when turning
- Ride on the road and not on the sidewalk
- Say “hi” or give a little wave to other cyclists
Road Bike Tips for Experienced Riders
- Perfecting the turn
This tip works for beginners, but is an important reminder for those training for road bike races. Before entering a turn, brake just a little bit to slow down, and stop pedaling. Once you’re coming out of the turn onto a straighter path, continue pedaling. Use your body to lean into the turn as it will help with balance and control.
- Stocking up on the right equipment
Pro-tip: Eating and drinking smart is riding smart. How much you need to consume will depend on the length and intensity of your ride. We recommend trying out a couple of different ride snacks and energy bars to find what works best for you and your riding style.
Focusing your attention
The best road cyclists know where to focus attention during their ride. It’s not right in front of you, but beyond your immediate line of vision. We recommend looking at least 20-30 feet ahead of you so that you can anticipate turns and obstacles (and where the competition is). This will also help your posture, balance, and speed, since you won’t be so concentrated on looking down at your feet. This will also help you to relax a little bit and ride further for longer (as well as one of the most important things: taking in the view!).
- Changing your hands There’s no need to white knuckle your handlebars, even if your ride is intensely competitive. You only need to have a loose grip, enough to support yourself and keep balance. By changing the position of your hands every so often, you’re offering your body relief and bettering your reaction time to unknown obstacles. This is another trial and error practice; everyone's preferences are different and it's important to find what position works best for you on your own specific bike setup.
Are you excited for your next road bike adventure? Take these road bike tips and techniques with you to ensure a fun and safe ride. See you on the road.