5 Tips For Returning Riders

Skills + Knowledge
April 02, 2019
5 Tips For Returning Riders


Hey guys, Dustin here, CEO of sixthreezero. I want to talk to you today about five tips I have if you're getting back into riding after years of not riding a bike. We get a lot of riders that come to our brand in particular, and there's also a lot of riders out there, I see this question pretty commonly where it's like, "I haven't ridden a bike in years. What should I know? What should I do?" Things of that nature. So I'm not gonna address necessarily what bike you should buy or ride if you haven't ridden in years. I'm going to address, let's say you already have a bike and you're getting back into riding, five tips if you're getting back into riding.
So my number one tip, if you're getting back into bike riding, is to go jump on a stationary bike. Now, it sounds kinda funny, but I think if you're gonna get back into riding a bike outside, let's get your body first a little bit tuned up and warmed up to be ready to sit on a bicycle, and I think it's better to do that maybe on a stationary bike so you don't have to worry about the balance, your body giving out, things of that nature, and you could build up just a little bit of stamina. Now, if you get on there for five minutes and your body feels great and you think you're ready, go ahead and move straight to your bike. I'm just recommending that, think it's a good idea if let's say you haven't ridden a bike in 10, 20, 30 years. Getting on a stationary bike to just, again, warm up muscles that maybe you haven't used before, 'cause obviously when you get on to your bike, now if you're not using a trike, sorry, a tricycle or maybe a recumbent bike, if you're getting on a normal upright bike that's gonna require you to balance the bike, it'd be nice just to make sure that you've put those muscles that are gonna be worked through a little bit of exercise first.
Now, if you're completely in shape and you've been doing other things but you just haven't ridden a bike and you feel ready, then go ahead and you can skip that first suggestion and just move straight to the bike, but that's my thought. Especially if you lay off from a bike has been 10 years plus, go ahead and maybe hop on that bike at the gym or find a friend's bike, or a stationary bike and use that for a few minutes, couple days, whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Number two, if you're getting back into riding and you're gonna ride a bike that you've had for many years, my first, or sorry, second suggestion is going to be making sure that bike fits. So I would say sit on it, feel what it feels comfortable. If you lay off from bike riding has been, like I said, 10 years plus, it's likely your body has changed quite a bit. Now, if your body has stayed the same, god bless you, that's great. Everything could be the same and you'd have nothing to worry about, but if you've gained a little bit of weight, lost a little bit of weight, your height has gone down a little bit or things have just changed. More muscle mass, different pain aspects in your body, maybe arthritis has set in, maybe you've had an injury. There are so many different things that can change over the course of time. You want to get on your bike and actually see how it feels.
So there are two ways you could do this. One, you could actually take your bike to a local bike shop and have them size you up to see if they feel Like the bike is a fit for you. Now, a lot of bike shops maybe just try to coerce you into buying a new bike if you did that, but really the fit of a bicycle in the recreational sector is really up to the rider. How does it feel on your body? So my suggestion, lower your seat a little bit, take it out for a spin so you just get comfortable to it, and just see if the bike feels right. Then start to adjust the seat a little higher as you get used to it a little more and see how it feels. You may need to take a couple of rides, one, two, three, four, five days, or do a couple of miles to really fully understand if you still think this bike is a great fit for you. I think it's really important, especially if you've been off a bike for 10 years or more because if you're feeling pain right away on that bike, go buy a new bike and then research kind of around where you're feeling pain, what's not working for you on your current bike, and that can lead you to what your next choice would be essentially.
So really, really important, check your bike, make sure it fits. Now, if we're moving beyond that and you're like, "Okay, thumbs up. Everything's a fit. I'm ready to ride." Next thing is I recommend just a full-on safety check. Any bike, let's say you're using your bike, it's been sitting in your garage for 10 plus years, even 5 plus years, even a year. For the safety check purpose, I really recommend a once-over on the bike. If you feel comfortable that you can do that, check your tires, check your chains, lube everything up, check the brakes, obviously a chain, brakes, tires. Those are gonna be three of the more important things. Check your frame. Just make sure there's been no corrosion. If you live in like a humid climate, maybe there's been some rust if the bike's been sitting for a long period of time. Now, typically most bike frames that shouldn't happen to, but again, we want to just make sure we're going through the checkpoints and everything.
So if you don't feel comfortable I would highly, highly suggest that you take it into a local bike shop and pay for a tune-up. Most tune ups are gonna be 100 bucks or less. They can comb through everything and really get it dialed in and make sure everything is functioning properly, it's gonna be a smooth ride, things like that.
So fourth suggestion, if you haven't ridden a bike in a long time and you're about to adventure out, I would say ride where you've been before. Doesn't have to be somewhere you've been before on a bike. It could be anywhere but know your terrain. I think the last thing you want to do is if you've been off a bike for 10 years and start going into uncharted waters where you're not sure if you're gonna hit bumps, hills, things of that nature. So I'd recommend, take a look at a map, make sure you're gonna go to an area you know, you know what the terrain is like, whether it's bumpy, there's potholes in the street, it's smooth pavement. If you're gonna go on to a hard pack trail or grass, just make sure you've walked it before and there's nothing dangerous.
Again, we're just getting back into biking. You haven't been on a bike for a long time, you want to be on the smoothest, easiest possible terrain you could go on. You don't want to jump right into being off-roading and going in some crazy terrain. You also don't want to wander out without knowing where you're going, and all of a sudden you're going up and down all these hills, you're burning your body out, you might pop a tire or things like that. You don't want to be stranded a mile from your house with a popped tire. So know your terrain. It's really, really important.
Last thing I would say if you haven't ridden in a long time, know your bike laws. I say that because bike laws are changing a lot and there's a lot of new city ordinances, there's a lot of bike lanes going in across the country, and if you've been off a bike for 20 years, a lot of things have changed. New York City has bike lanes now, those didn't exist 20 years ago. LA has got bike lanes, those kinds of things didn't exist. So every state has different laws about helmets, what's required, what's not required. Do cars share the road with cyclists? Can you ride on the sidewalk? I would say for your first ride back, I would really recommend keeping it to trails or dedicated bike riding, not bike lanes. Bike lanes, you really want to be ready and prepared to steer around obstacles and things like that. You'll be sharing the road with cars.
So I would say don't jump right into bike lanes, but I would say preferably keep it to dedicated bike trails, places where you're only gonna be encountering people riding bikes or walking paths that share it with bikes. Those are gonna be your best, safest option if you're getting back into riding, and as you feel more comfortable you can start to explore other options. Maybe there are some bike lanes on some more quieter, desolate roads that you would start to feel comfortable sharing the road with them, but it's important you know the laws. Some locations you can't even ride on sidewalks, so it's not gonna be an option and you're really gonna have to find certain trails that are bike dedicated. Also helmets. Again, helmet laws are really state to state and some city ordinances may have helmet laws that don't apply to other places. So just know. The last thing you would want to do is get a ticket riding a bike. Also, there are laws against drinking and riding bikes. So if you're getting back onto a bike after 20 years and you're going out for a pub crawl by the beach, which is actually a common thing in California, you'd hate to get thrown in jail for being intoxicated on a bike.
So know the laws, know what you can do, know what your limits are and be safe. So those are my five tips if you're getting back into riding for a long time. If you guys are getting back into riding for a long time and you have some thoughts, comments, tips on what you did and what's worked for you, or what you're doing now, please comment below, share it with us, we'd love to hear, and if you want to reach out to us directly, please email us to team@sixthreezero.com or call us 310-982-2877 and go ahead, check out our bikes up on the top navigation of our website. You can view men's, women's or kid's bikes, also accessories, and enter your height and weight on our body fit tool. It's gonna tell you which bikes on our website fit your body, you get a thumbs up, thumbs down. If you do get a thumbs down, contact us 'cause we can customize a bike to fit you 'cause our goal at sixthreezero is to find a bike that's a perfect fit for your body.


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5 Tips For Returning Riders