Whether you are just getting into the sport of cycling or a seasoned rider, ensuring you are safe and riding efficiently is key to getting the most out of your time on the bike. Daniel Bigham was part of Team England’s cycling squad the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in 2018.
Here are a few simple tips from Daniel to help you perform a little bit better on your bike.
Check your tyres
My first tip is tyre pressure, it is crucial to make sure that you pump your tyres up not too high and not too low and there are no cuts or nicks around the tyre. I pump my 28 millimetre tyres up to around 80 PSI and weigh around 75kg, you can go a little bit higher on smoother roads but on rougher or wetter roads you should look to reduce the PSI for safety, grip, traction when you are braking or accelerating as well as overall puncture protection. If you are unsure look on the tyre rim to see what the recommended pressure is.
Keep your bike clean
Ensuring you have a clean drive train is not only good for the performance of your bike but also the lifetime of the parts. Just making sure your chain, chain rings and mechanisms are clean and lubricated so they run smoothly means that you can shift gears easier and avoid any mechanical issues out on the road.
Stay fuelled up
Make sure that you have plenty of energy for the ride you are doing. You should be aiming to consume around 50-60 grams of carbohydrates an hour, or even more if you are really giving it some beans. Make sure you have that fuel coming on board in different sources, whether this be a carbohydrate mix in your bottles, whole foods like a banana, a flapjack or energy bars and then I tend to keep energy gels for those big race days
Plan your journey
Make sure you map your route out before you leave and visualise what way you are going to go or put the route into your bike computer if you have one. It makes it a lot easier and you can ride on better roads and keep away from busy junctions and just makes your life a whole lot easier.
Dress for the weather
It’s always good to go out prepared, whatever the weather. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, you don’t want to get too cold, too wet, and you can always take layers off. It’s also good to go out with a few mechanical spares in a saddle bag.
Take spares and be seen out on the road
Prepare for any unfortunate mishaps out on the road and make sure you can be seen. Take a pump, tyre levers and spare inner tubes just making sure that you’re self-sufficient and that you can fix any issues that you may come across. Make sure you can always be seen as well, in the winter months or when it is dark having a front and rear light is vital and, in the summer, a rear light should suffice.
Signal for safety
It helps to make sure that other road users can see you well in advance and give you plenty of room if they’re overtaking and give you a bit more clearance. Always make sure you are signalling well in advance of left or right turning across traffic to make sure other road users are aware of where you are going so they can react accordingly.
Enjoy yourself, go fast and stay safe.