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26 Sep 2013

Biking Skills: 3 Mistakes Beginner Bicycle Riders Make

Posted by Zize Bikes. No Comments

If you want to ride faster and with more confidence, remember that it is not merely a matter of getting fitter. You also have to think about preparation and good biking skills and technique. Keep in mind the following common biking mistakes most beginners make:

biking-skillsPoor Cornering Technique

To be able to corner smoothly, adjust your pace as you approach the turn; and don’t brake while cornering. See to it that you press down on the outside pedal and your inside pedal is up. Keep your eyes on where you are heading, at all times.

Sharp Braking on Descents

Applying light and gradual pressure on your brakes at the same time is more effective and safe when you are learning to ride than abruptly squeezing them. Braking too sharply while riding downhill can make you lose control. Try to sit up instead of using your brakes, as this increases wind resistance and can slow you down. Practice these biking skills on a hill you are familiar with, each time squeezing on the brake a little less.

Wrong Gears on Climbs

biking-skillsYou should be in the right gear when approaching a climb. Do not leave it too late. If you have to change from a high gear to a low gear once you start to ascend, then you risk dropping your chain. Cycling uphill in a high gear means that your muscles recruit more fast-twitch muscles fibers which tire out quickly and take longer time to recover. If you shift to an easier gear and higher cadence, you save your energy and your fast-twitch muscles fibers for a later time.

Learn these important biking skills and you’ll have a more comfortable, safe, and enjoyable ride.

For easy-to-use and comfortable custom made bicycles, visit www.ZizeBikes.com. Zize Bikes is the maker of extra strong bicycles built for every body, including bicycles for heavy people which can support riders up to 550 pounds.

24 Sep 2013

Biking Skills for Beginners: Avoiding Crash, Protecting Palms, and Relaxing

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If you are new to biking, take note of the following vital biking skills to increase your confidence and ride safely:

Hook Your Thumbs

An essential safety measure is keeping at least one of your thumbs beneath your handlebars at all times. Doing so will help you avoid getting in an accident due to your hands slipping off your handlebars. This is likely to happen if you hold onto the tops with all of your fingers over your bars. In such position, is you hit a bump and are not prepared, your hands can slip off, resulting to a crash. Simply keeping your thumbs at the right place can prevent this common accident.

biking skillsPalm Protection

Two nerves run through our palms and they could become painfully numb from long hours of biking. This can happen when: (1) you ride without gloves (always wear comfortable and nicely padded gloves because they absorb most of the vibration from riding and also protect your palm during a crash); (2) you grasp your bars too tightly (so relax your grip); and (3) you do not move your hands around to different parts of your handlebars (so every few minutes, make sure you shift your hands and grip in a different spot).

 

Relax!

biking skillsRiding with a an extremely tight upper body is one of the common mistakes of new beginners. When you ride with locked shoulders and straight, stiff arms, you are tiring out your muscles for no good reason and you would most likely have a sore arms and neck at the end of your ride. So you should relax when riding. Keep your arms nice, loose, and slightly bent; and drop your shoulders. Train yourself to relax: every 20 minutes or so, shrug your shoulders in order for them to drop and relax. Bring your elbows down and closer together. Shake your arms to help them relax. Then bend your elbows and take deep breaths. Thinking about letting all the strain leave your arms, neck, and shoulders can also help. You will feel a lot better and gain a lot more control of your bicycle if you learn to ride comfortably.

And don’t forget to have fun!

For easy-to-use and comfortable custom made bicycles, visit www.ZizeBikes.com. Zize Bikes is the maker of extra strong bicycles built for every body, including bicycles for heavy people which can support riders up to 550 pounds.

 

20 Sep 2013

Biking Skills: How to Cycle Uphill Without Being Too Exahusted

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Climbing is one of the most challenging aspects of biking. Also, it is the most misunderstood aspect. People always relate it with hardship and suffering. What we don’t account for is the need for hours of mountain training to increase biking skills and endurance, enough rest, and the right diet.

biking skills

biking skills

The key is to reaching the top faster if to climb within your ability. This will also increase your fitness which will enable you to go harder the next time around.

So how hard should you go? You can calculate your threshold heart rate. But there is a surprisingly simple and accurate way to do so:  on a scale of one, which is easy, to 10, which is maximum effort, ascending at eight should feel just under control. Anything beyond that, you will cross your threshold and start to fall apart. As you climb, also take note of the following biking skills and techniques.

Relax

If you always put in your head that cycling uphill is all about pain, you will surely tense up and not be able to conquer that hill. Loosen your grip on your handlebar and maintain an upright position with your head up to open your throat and chest for better breathing.

Avoid Gasping For  Air

Breathe using your diaphragm. This is called “belly breathing.” Find your rhythm, both by keeping a pedal cadence between 80 & 90 rpm, and breathing steadily.

biking skills

biking skills

Power Pedal

When cycling uphill, it is best to slightly drop your heel to initiate the pedal stroke and push with your entire foot. Then pull up on your heel at the bottom of the pedal stroke, like a running motion. These biking skills and techniques will allow you to top the last climb and still have energy.

For easy-to-use bicycles, visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom built, extra strong bicycles for every body, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.

 

 

 

Watch this video to learn more biking skills and techniques on how to cycle uphill.

18 Sep 2013

Learn Three Essential Biking Skills and Techniques of Pro Road Bikers

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Seasoned cyclists develop biking skills and certain characteristics that distinguish the way they look on a bicycle from newbies. Looking like a pro is not merely about appearance. Safety and style should be given equal importance.

Want to look like a pro? Master the following three biking skills and techniques and you will be on your way:

1. Relax.

biking skillsRemarkable athletes in any field just let it flow. They make challenging or even seemingly impossible maneuvers and extreme actions look effortless. Here is how to relax while riding a bike.

Face Off: Your entire body will become tight if your facial muscles are. So mindfully relax your face as well as your neck. Loosen the muscles in your jaw. Avoid clenching your teeth.

No Turtles: When tensed, we tend to hunch our shoulders, looking like turtles. To avoid this, drop your shoulders and relax your muscles running from the top of your shoulders to your neck. Proper and regular deep breaths will also help you avoid burying your ears in your shoulders.

Get a Light Grip:  Slightly bend your elbows and relax your hands and forearms. In case you get bumped or hit a bump, your loose arms receive the impact without affecting your front wheel. Stay in control of your bicycle.

biking skills2. Pedal Smoothly. 

It is easy to notice the smooth pedal strokes of a pro cyclist as opposed to a beginner’s lumpy plodding. Here is how to pedal smoothly:

Practice Slowly. A fast cadence of 90-110 revolutions per minute (RPM) is efficient and at the same time stylish. However, it can be tough for your brain to keep up with your feet going rapidly. So practice at a slower pace of 60-70 RPM, so you can better focus on your stroke.

Scrape The Mud. Greg LeMond, a three-time Tour de France champion gave this great tip in 1985, and it’s still certainly helpful today. Imagine you are scraping mud off your shoe when you pull your foot through the bottom of the stroke. This technique will help you smoothly pull your foot through with added force.

Knee Your Handlebar. As your foot rises and over the top, pull your knee forward like you want it to get in contact with your handlebar. This simple technique adds power to the weakest part of the pedal stroke.

biking skills3. Recover Fast.

Seasoned riders can finish a three-week race and are able to recover fast and get back on their bikes again. Check out the following tips on how to help you recover like a pro:

Pump Fluids. Losing as little as 1% of body weight as sweat will affect your performance and endurance. So it’s best to drink at least one 500ml of water or sports drink for every hour you are on your bike. After your ride, increase your fluid intake until your weight is back to normal. Not getting up twice every night to go to the comfort room means that you are not sufficiently hydrated.

Replenish Glycogen Supplies. Generally a 150-pound rider needs around 80-100 grams of carbohydrate during the first two hours of riding.  A banana and bagel contain around 60 grams of carbohydrates, an energy bar about 40 grams.

Take a Good Rest. Pros take 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night, and usually take an afternoon nap after training. This would not be possible if you have a real 40-hour-a-week job. But because enough rest is paramount to recovery, try your very best to take at least a full 8-hour sleep each night, and then get a short, probably 15- to 30-minute power nap in the afternoon.

For easy-to-use bicycles, visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom built, extra strong bicycles for every body, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.

16 Sep 2013

Biking Skills for a Safer Commute: Bunny Hop, Track Stand, Looking Behind

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For a safer and more enjoyable bike ride, learn and master the following essential biking skills:

1. Bunny Hop

biking skillsBiking Skills Purpose: This basic biking skill allows the rider to jump his bicycle over road potholes, debris, and over curbs, if necessary. This skill is handy when you need to avoid potential hazards on the road.

How to Master This Skill: You can bunny hop your bicycle in two ways: (1) jumping both wheels at the same time, or (2 ) lifting the front wheel followed by the back wheel. Practice this technique on the grass, at an empty parking lot, or a quiet street. At first, you have to clean your bicycle of any excess gear and panniers. Start by setting a small and low object on the ground and then ride toward it at a medium speed. As you approach the object, keep your legs and arms loose and your bicycle light. Place your feet in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, and crouch down immediately above your saddle. Then, in just one rapid, fluid motion, lift your body weight upward, pulling your bicycle upwards. This biking skill takes enough practice.

2. Track Stand

biking skillsBiking Skills Purpose: This biking skill allows the rider to stop at a red stop without his feet ever touching the ground. Not only will this technique gives you an advantage over other urban cyclists, but it will also give you a quicker and more stable escape should another vehicle encroach on your space.

How to Master This Skill: Practice this biking skills on a slight incline. Choose flat pedals, as they can help you avoid tipping over. Start by pedaling up and braking gradually until you come to a standstill. Slightly turn your front wheel to one sife and stand up. Do so while maintaining the 3 and 9 o’clock pedal position. Feather your front brake while slightly rolling back and putting just enough pressure on your pedals to roll back uphill in case you start to lose balance. The secret if to rock very slightly back and forth as you keep your bicycle upright.

3. Looking Behind Without Swerving

biking skillsBiking Skills Purpose: Every time you abruptly turn your head to scan the road for potential hazard or check if the bike lane is clear, your bicycle veers in the same direction. To avoid collision, you should straighten your line while looking behind.

How to Master This Skill:

Just before you turn your head, check the road in front of your for any possible risks. If you are looking over your right shoulder, drop your left arm as you turn your head. Maintain a loose grip on your handlebar while your elbow bends. You could also move your left hand to the center of your handlebar. Doing this will help you turn your torso a little bit more and get a clearer view of what’s behind you. Practice this biking skill in both directions until you become more confident at it.

For easy-to-use bicycles, visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom built, extra strong bicycles for everybody, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.

 

14 Sep 2013

Basic Bike Skills: Climbing, Descending, Cornering

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So you want to try road biking. But you feel you lack the necessary skills and confidence to keep up with your local cycling club. Check out the following bike skills and feel more comfortable when you ride:

Climbing
bike skillsThe thing that separates new cyclists from seasoned ones are the hills. It requires skills and endurance to be able to ascend a long and steady climb. Take note of the these tip to help you on your next uphill cycling.

1. Keep your eyes on the road ahead. Shift down a couple of gears as you approach a climb.
2. Keep your cadence (the rate at which you’re pedaling) high.
3. Stay seated for as long as possible.
4. Make full circles when you pedal — pulling up on the rear part of the stroke in addition to pushing down on the front side.
5. Place your arms on the top of the handlebars, relax your elbows (not fully straight), and use your core muscles to help power your pedal strokes.

 

Descending

bike skillsAfter successfully climbed the hill, it is probably time to sit back and enjoy the ride. This is the common mistake newbies think or make. Descending must be just as methodical and controlled as ascending. Although going down is fun and rewarding, it needs just as much, if not more attention to the road as the ascend.

The following are the basics of cycling downhill safely:

1.As you crest a hill, shift into a higher gear so you will be ready when you need to pedal.

2. Set yourself up for optimum control of your bicycle. Position your hands on the hoods with your finger resting over your brakes. If you are comfortable, you could move your hands into the drops to lessen drag. Move your butt back a bit in your seat and when you are not pedaling, keep your feet parallel to each other.

3. Focus your eyes about 15 feet ahead to watch for turns or road obstacles or obstructions.

Looking Over The Shoulder

bike skillsBeing alert and aware of everything around is extremely important on any bike ride. You do not only have to watch for what is coming ahead, but also what it approaching from behind you. Always check over your shoulders first if you intend to execute even the slightest move from your course. But sometimes, the mere act of looking over your shoulders could make you veer off course.

Take note of the following tips to get safely get around an obstacle:

1. When you spot an obstacle ahead of you, whether it is a parked vehicle or another rider you want to pass, be ready to look over your shoulder.

2. Turn your head 90 degrees and allow your eyes to look at the rest of the way.

3. Keep your chest and shoulders facing forward, and do not let your arms follow your gaze.

4. Check for approaching riders or vehicles coming from behind of your before executing the pass.

Cornering

bike skillsThe reason why looking over your shoulder can make you swerve is because in cycling, you steel with your eyes. Usually, where you look dictates where you want your bicycle to go.

For safe turns, following these bike skills.

1. Look into the turn.

2. Place your insider pedal at the top of the pedal stroke.

3. Lean into the turn. You do not have to turn your handlebars. If you look and lean, your bicycle will follow.

4. If you need to reduce your speed, apply your brakes before you begin the turn. Do not apply your brake in the middle of the turn.

5. Begin pedaling again as you come out of the corner, to keep your pace.

The more you practice these bike skills, the more comfortable you will be. Spend some quality time working on these bike skills in an empty parking lot or on a quiet residential street, before riding with a big group.

For easy-to-use bicycles, visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom built, extra strong bicycles for every body, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.

13 Sep 2013

Join Joan for the Interbike in Vegas!

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interbike-las-vegas-2013Next week, Joan will be heading off to Las Vegas for  Interbike, North America’s largest bicycle industry experience. It is a great opportunity for manufacturers, retailers, and media to conduct the business of cycling.

Traditionally, it’s ONLY open to people who are in the cycling business, but this year, for the very first time, guests are invited to come to the event together with the retailer of their choice. So, if any of you will be around Las Vegas on the 20th, and are interested in learning about bicycles and more, just email Joan ASAP. Customer day will be on September 20.

Interbike conducts retail education events and media events, as well as access to all of your favorite bike and bike-related brands.  This will surely be a great experience not just for retailers but also for biking enthusiasts. This is your chance to be part of the very first time Interbike has been opened to non-industry people.  Be part of Interbike’s goal to “change the world through cycling.”

Here is what an Interbike VIP guest (by invitation) will receive:

  • Early entry (9:00am) into Interbike on Friday, September 20,
  • VIP on site check-in,
  • Subscription to “Bicycling Magazine,”
  • VIP badge,
  • VIP gift bag filled with valuable commemorative items like a limited edition posted, limited edition socks, and more.

This is one rare opportunity, so email Joan now!

12 Sep 2013

Bicycling Skills: Shoulder Check Properly for A Safer Ride

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bicycling skillsShoulder check can be considered as one of the most critical bicycling skills which some adults have not learned yet. It does not matter if you are on a quiet residential road, a busy urban road, or just on a sidewalk. The skill to scan over the shoulder without making your bicycle swerve is important. The mistake an inexperienced rider will make is to pull the end of the bar with the left hand as he turns his head. This definitely makes the bicycle swerve to the left even before the rider has checked to be sure that it is save to move left.

Practice this bicycling skill in an empty parking lot. You could use the space lines there to help you keep track of how straight you ride your bike.  Your arms must be bent slightly at your elbows. This is a very good position, in most cases, as it reduces the stress on your wrists, hands, and shoulders. It also keeps you from oversteering or wobbling. Drop your shoulders a little and focus on just turning your head and neck. If your neck has mobility issues, or you like to get a great view of what is going on behind you, take your left hand off your handlebar and rest it on your thigh. Keep in mind that it is your left hand that inadvertently pulls on the handlebar; the right hand does not push it. Practice this bicycling skills until you are able to do them with the least swerving.

For easy-to-use bicycles, visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom built, extra strong bicycles for every body, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.

11 Sep 2013

Zize Bike’s New Website is Up and Running!

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bicycles for heavy peopleWe are happy to inform you that you can now access our new website! Please check out www.ZizeBikes.com and let us know what you think.

There are still a few things we need to work on, so if you notice something that’s not working properly, or that looks odd, we would greatly appreciate if you let us know.

You are also more than welcome to give feedback on the site. Let us know what you like and what you don’t like. Is the website easy to use? Does it load fast? Are you having a hard time finding certain things? Do you think it’s better than our old website?

Email Joan at Joan@ZizeBikes.com. Thank you very much!

10 Sep 2013

Biking Skills: Cornening Properly and Safely on Your Bicycle

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biking skills

Biking Skills – Cornering

One of the biking skills that can be helpful to you is cornering. Cornering can be scary, until you get confident at it. There is a thin line between holding an edge and losing it. Basically, that is where those who love thrills want to be. But you do not have to push too far to corner well. You just have to possess the necessary skills and judgement to corner with confidence.

Each turn requires a different angle of attack and speed. However, all need the same principles to maintain control. A gradual radius may let you pedal all the way through a turn and hold a high riding pace. A sharp turn requires lots of bicycle lean, and if bike cranks continue to go round, the inside pedal may hit the road, which is not good. When the rider misjudge the turn, the worst may happen — a tire lifting off the pavement.

So each turn requires an important decision: coast or pedal through. Unfortunately, you can be able to make the decision through experience. If you are uncertain, just lean and coast. Always remember that the most vital part of the lean and coast strategy is that your crank arm on the outside of the turn is in the down position, with the inside crank up.

The first biking skill you need to learn well in terms of cornering, is weight shift. As you approach a certain turn, you should stop pedaling and shift some of your weight to your outside foot, which is on the pedal attached to the crank, which is in the down position. Some of your weight that would typically be on your saddle, must shift to the foot in the down position. This will lower your center of gravity.

For most turns using the lean and coast technique will work well if you just keep your shoulders centered over your handlebars. However, sometimes a weight shift of your upper body could provide you with additional grip.

Biking Skills – Cornerning

Contrary to natural instinct to keep the bicycle as upright as possible, if you push your bicycle slightly to the inside while you’re keeping most of your weight on the outside pedal, you will be pushing your bicycle into the ground and increasing grip. This is an advanced biking skill which you should only try after you have mastered the basic shifting of weight.

Aside from developing your bicycle handling skills, you have to take into account the conditions on the road. How fast you could a turn depends on how much friction your tires require before they slip, and the stiction factor on the surface of the road. A smooth pavement with an abrasive surface provides the most grip. A bumpy surface can leave your tires airborne for a split-second. This increases the chances of a slide. Anything loose on the surface of the road, such as leaves or sand, must be ridden over at low speed or completely avoided without a lean.

One rule of cycling is to never look where you do not want to go. It is true that the more you look at an obstacle, the more likely that you will run over it. This can be a risky problem when cornering. If you stare at the line you have picked to carve the corner, chances are you’ll ride right out of the turn and off the road. It’s advised that you look inside of the turn, and do not turn your eyes. Slightly rotate your head so you are looking just to the inside of the line you like to follow around the curve – or in a tight turn, almost at the edge or centerline of the road. This will make it a lot easier to hold the right line around a scary corner. But be safe. Practice this biking skills at slow speed until you get comfortable.

For easy-to-use bicycles, visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom built, extra strong bicycles for every body, including bicycles for heavy riders which can support weight up to 550 pounds.