Advice for Starting to Ride Again
Across the northern hemisphere, the sun, the temperatures, and the birdcalls are all rising from their winter doldrums. It makes us happy for many reasons, and among them, it means better weather for riding.
May is designated Bike Month (in the United States), and we think it’s a great time of year for riders almost anywhere to pump up their tires, click on their helmets, and get out for some fresh air. We're excited for any excuse to ride more, and any excuse for more people to get acquainted with the joys of cycling.
If you’re reluctant, though, we understand. Maybe you haven’t ridden in a long time. Maybe your bike’s not in the best shape. Maybe you don’t have a bike, or gear you need, and you don’t know even know where to start looking.
Fear not, for we’ve compiled some advice for helping you get out there. Take a read through our suggestions below, and get in touch with your Cannondale retailer of choice if you have other thoughts or questions about riding this spring.
1. Safety First, Last, and Always: Helmets
First thing’s first – and that first thing is always safety.
Safety comes in different forms, but the most obvious is protecting yourself with the right helmet. If you don’t have one, check out our many options here, like the slick new SideStreet helmet. If you do have one, go grab it and put it on, and let’s see if it fits properly.
Finally, check your helmet’s age. Take it off and look for the production sticker inside. It should be white or yellow, and it will say when it was manufactured. The foam that most helmets are made of can subtly deteriorate with time, so it may lose its absorbency in a crash. If yours is more than five years old, we’d definitely recommend a new one.
2. Getting Your Gear(s) in Order
We get it. Taking your bike to the shop for a tune-up can be a hassle. But if yours hasn’t been maintained in “forever,” this should be your next order of business. You can click here to find a trusted shop near you that can give your Cannondale – or almost any bike – a once-over. Figure that a decent tune-up will run you between $50-100 or €50-100 at most shops in North America or Europe, and an equivalent amount in many other parts of the world.
3. Be Prepared for Setbacks
Even if you stay on top of maintenance, a ride may not go as planned. But unlike a car, a bike is something you can usually fix pretty easily on the spot, with some basic knowledge and the right tools – and it’s always smart to keep a multitool with you, no matter what. Plus, the Cannondale App has videos for doing basic checks on a bike before you get rolling (the app can also track rides/mileage, send you maintenance reminders, and much more).
The classic setback, of course, is the flat tire. You can find lots of videos out there to help you learn how to get rolling again if you flat, but you’ll need a few things to do it. Tire levers help get your tire off the rim, and it’s likely you’ll need a new tube to replace the old one. Once your tire is mounted again, our compact, easy-to-carry Mini Pumps can get you back up to the proper pressure. Looking to travel even lighter, but still may want to fix a flat? Grab our Set-Off Flat Kit.
Speaking of tires, a major cause for flats, poor handling, and other potential dangers is improper tire inflation. Many tires will deflate around 1-2 psi (pounds per square inch), or 0.1 bar, per day due to the natural porousness of rubber, so it’s smart to check your pressure before any ride. The sidewall of your tires should provide a recommended pressure range. Most riders will benefit from pressure set right in the middle of that range – and then add about five more psi, or 0.3 bar, to the rear tire (assuming your front and rear tires are the same size), because most bikes carry more weight over the rear than the front.
4. Carry in Comfort
It’s easy to fall into the (bad) habit of trying to carry things in your hand while riding: your phone, a cup of coffee, a bag of groceries, or whatever else. This leads to waaay more accidents and injuries than most riders realize.
Luckily, at Cannondale, we’re everyday riders, too. We’ve designed both bikes and accessories to make carrying things – and then more things – a simpler affair. You may notice that Cannondale models with the “EQ” designation (like the Adventure Neo EQ or Treadwell EQ DLX) come equipped with rear racks, plus fenders and lights, for convenience and confidence.
5. The Right Bike Makes All the Difference
Change the bike and you can change the rider’s life. It's a big statement, but the benefits of cycling are plentiful: get exercise, get out of traffic, decrease pollution, connect with nature and your community, not to mention the joy of just cruising along – to name a few.
What stops many people from riding more is simply not having a bike that matches their lifestyle. It’s why Cannondale has designed such a wide variety of models. Whether Bike Month means you’ll be slicing your way through the city (try Mavaro Neo, Compact Neo, or Adventure Neo) or venturing off the beaten path (Quick CX, Adventure Neo Allroad, or Tesoro Neo X), you’ll find what you need either on our website or at a Cannondale dealer near you. You can also use our Bike Finder to discover the ideal bike to fit your life.
But what’s most important is that you just ride. Get out there, see what it’s all about, and have some fun – then come back to Cannondale when you’re ready for more.