Things to Know When Riding a Bike

I grew up in a world where if you didn’t wear your helmet, it was ok. I have never owned a helmet or any kind of riding safety for that matter. I taught myself how to ride a bike when I turned 7. My birthday is in January and I got a bike on that special day. Growing up in Indiana, well, in January, it snows or it’s just really freaking cold. As an adult, I try to avoid going out as much as possible when it’s cold out. I hate the cold, but as a kid, I guess I didn’t care. I was so excited about getting that bike, I took it outside and learned how to ride. No one pushing me, nothing. I didn’t fall but once and was riding like a pro after just a little while.

When I was in junior high, I lived just down the road from my school, so when it was nice outside, I would ride to school. I remember one day it was nice in the morning, but throughout the day, it started storming really bad. My dad came and picked me and my bike up in the old pick up truck. What a good daddy 🙂 I was constantly riding to my best friends house and back. I would ride all day and not even get tired.

There were only 2 specific times that I remember crashing on my bike and it was always from going downhill. From then on, I was terrified of going downhill. I was always scared of wrecking. Nothing horrible like broken bones came out of it. Just scraped knees and hands. As a kid, it was pretty awful, but I guess never scared me enough to start wearing a helmet or knee pads.

As an adult now, I ride for pleasure and exercise. (I still don’t wear a helmet, just sayin) When I ride now, I feel it in all my muscle the next day, even my arms. Meaning that I am way out of shape, but getting into shape. I finally got a road bike for the first time a couple of years ago, after I had my first child. It helped me lose a lot of my weight. The last time I remember riding, I rode 10 miles. It was one of the greatest riding experiences that I learned, but I was wore out in the middle of my ride, which wasn’t good because I had to turn around and go home.

Here’s my need to know list when you decide to start riding

  1. Check tires and brakes – There isn’t anything worse than being in the middle of your ride and find out that you have a flat tire or your going down a hill and your brakes aren’t as good as you hoped.
  2. Take a squirt bottle of water – Riding on hot days can be very tiring, and if you aren’t riding on trails where there are rest stops, you could get very dehydrated. Reason for the squirt bottle? You need both hands to ride and when you have a squirt bottle, you can still use one had to steer and steady and one hand to get your bottle, use your mouth to open the spout and drink. Just common sense, I think :/
  3. Watch out for rocks – When riding a mountain bike, this one isn’t as important because of the way the tires are designed. Road bikes on the other hand, they have skinny wheel and riding over even small rocks is not advised. I ran over one the other day and just about lost my balance. Could have been a reason to get a helmet, but nah 🙂
  4. Ride with traffic, not against it – You are technically on something sort of moving vehicle so it’s just law.
  5. Be courteous to drivers – I’ve been on both end of this one. I have been behind bike riders and scared to pass because I might hit them. That’s when you end up with a line of cars behind you, and those people are usually pretty impatient. You may not be able to stop, but try to get over as far to side as you can.
  6. Watch out for falling tree debris – Ok, so you may not be able to WATCH out for this, but if anything hits you in the head, don’t freak out. It’s probably just a tree nut.
  7. Keep your mouth close – Sometimes this one is hard cause you may be so tired and panting like a dog, but trust me, keep your mouth shut. You know when you are driving and bugs splat on your windshield? Well, when riding, you end swallowing those bugs, and that’s really disgusting.
  8. Wear sunglasses, unless riding at night – Same thing as above, but getting them in your eye kind of really hurts and then you can’t see where you are going. Not good.
  9. If you can only ride a mile, ride half way – Now, when you just start out riding and you can only go so far, don’t ride as far as you can go because you do have to turn around a go back. If a mile is all you want to go, ride a half mile and then turn around. That’s 1 mile. Build your milage up. Don’t expect to do the impossible the first time around.
  10. Don’t give up, just keep riding – Who really likes to exercise? I know that unless someone is there motivating me, I don’t do much as far as exercise. I love riding my bike and could do all the time, if I had the time. Don’t get discouraged if it’s too hard at first because the more you do, the better you get and the harder and faster you can ride.

Now get out there and enjoy this beautiful weather! Play with your kids. Stay active. Eat healthy. Be the awesome person that you already are!

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