Beginner Bicycle-Help

Published on August 23rd, 2015 | by Hamish


Most Common Bicycle Issues

Only a cyclist would understand what other cyclists go through. We have what can be called ‘cycling issues’ so if you are cycling veteran you will understand the humor, for the cycling beginners, take heed; be more prepared than unprepared (and buy me a beer later for the heads-up).

This is a guide to some small and some big issues that all of us cyclists will learn along the way. Here I will also try and prepare some of you and give my best recommendations regarding our much loved sport; cycling.

How Set Your Cleats Up Properly

Once you know what you’re doing, setting your cleats shouldn’t be as difficult as it may seem. The main problem is installing them with correct positioning and angle; if you don’t do this it’s going to cause you to damage your legs, and cardio therapy lessons are a lot more expensive that decent cleats, so if you have to pay a little more for ones that are more suited to you, you should.

To avoid the monotonous calibration and to save time in positioning; you should position your cleats at the ball of your foot. This is universal for most people and is actually very effective. Having them at the ball means your feet are in a naturally flat position, which can actually improve your pedalling. It can be more difficult to remove your foot in a crash though, so be prepared if you don’t want to be going home in an ambulance; everyone (including the universe master of cycling) makes mistakes!

Chain Fallen Off?

For some of us it may be a pure joy, but for me, I remember when I was beginning to cycle and my first chain had fallen off; it happened to be the time when I first ventured out for a 4am cycle without the group. So, if you don’t know the easiest way, take note, it might just save you next time you are riding through a storm or in the early hour darkness.

  1. The easiest way to re-attach your bike chain is to keep moving. By continuing to pedal you may be able to latch it straight back on, using your gear lever you can quite swiftly try to move the front derailleur back into the big ring positiong.
  2. If you are pedaling away with no luck, then you are left with no other choice but to hop off and spend some time putting your chain back on. Try to use your gear levers to get those derailleurs back into position (the smallest sprocket at the back, and the smallest chain ring at the front.)
  3. Now we need to get some slack in the chain to get as much of it as loose as possible. Push the rear derailleur forward using your left hand. With your right hand, lift the chain top so that it is sitting nicely on the small chain ring. Once you let go of the rear derailleur the chain should be re-seated just fine.

Got a Flat Tire?

Punctures happen to all cyclists at some point; they are caused by large pressures to the tyre (such as hitting a rock) and even occur over time with general wear and tear. It’s a waste of time and money replacing your inner tube when you get a flat, considering that they can be repaired in such a way that they behave like new, even at the roadside.

Take a bowl and a bottle of water on your ride, don’t drink the water at any point, you’re going to need it when you get a puncture. Take a tyre pump, and get a basic puncture repair kit, these can be bought at discount stores and bike shops. So you’ve got a puncture on a ride, luckily you brought what I told you to bring, but now what?

  1. Remove your wheel: lift the quick release lever at the base of your forks, spin anti clockwise, and the wheel should wiggle away from your bike.
  2. Remove your tyre: push the flat edge of your tyre lever into the small gap between your rim and your tyre. Put forward pressure on the level and pull the base of the tyre over the rim. Continue levering around the entire circumference of the rim until at least one half of the tyre has popped over it. Repeat the same process to get the other side of the tyre over the rim. You should now have a tyre in one hand, and an empty rim in the other.
  3. Remove your inner tube, that’s the snake-like sack inside your tyre with a valve on it. Fill your bowl with the water that you’ve saved (see, I told you there was a reason!)
  4. To find the puncture all you have to do is pump up your inner tube whilst submerging it in the bowl of water; circulate the tube around the bowl until air bubbles emanate from it, that’s your puncture! Make sure you don’t lose track of this.
  5. Wipe the punctured area so that it’s clean and dry, and spread the glue from the puncture repair kit over it. Spread it thinly and cover enough area for it to make contact with the entirety of the patch.
  6. Place the patch over the glue, and push hard, making sure that every part sticks down.
  7. Wait 30 minutes and reverse the removal process to replace your tyre and wheel.
  8. Pump up your tyre, you’re good to go!

So for this month, there you have it, 3 minor (or major, depending on how you view them) instances where you feel like pulling your hair out when cycling. They happen to all of us no matter how amateur or experienced cyclist you may be. We will keep adding tips such as these as we go, but for now, these should help you prepare for the best rides of you life, get the humor?

About the Author

Hi I'm Hamish, the chief writer (and rider!) around here. From six years old, receiving my first bike as a present, my love for riding started and never stopped. Now as a family man, I enjoy riding with my family and also going out with friends mountain biking and cycling. Remember one thing, choose the bike that reflects your personality and it will change your life!

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