A bike ride on a vacation can be a lot of fun. If you’re renting a road bike or are new to road biking, it may feel a little different or have slightly different components than what you’re used to. Pedaling is similar to the pedaling you do on any other bike, and there are a few things to consider to improve your technique.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Identify what type of pedals your road bike has. Many road bikes have clipless pedals, which means they require special biking shoes that clip into the pedals. If you’re renting a bike on vacation, it will likely have flat pedals or pedals with toe clips, which are the “cages” that your shoe slide into.
Practice clipping in and out of your pedals while the bike is stationary if it has clipless pedals. To do this you can balance with your hand on a wall or have a friend hold the bike up.
Pull up on the pedals with equal force as you use pushing down. This will work only with toe clips or clipless pedals. In order to do this efficiently imagine scraping mud off your shoe as your pedal rounds up.
Make smooth, circular pedal strokes without any bouncing. If your legs are bouncing, shift into a harder gear or try controlling the pedal stroke more to keep it smooth.
Increase your pedaling cadence. This is known as “spinning,” which is a way to achieve efficiency and is more aerobic than pedaling slowly on a harder gear.
Monitor your pedal cadence, or RPMs, with a bicycle computer. A bicycle computer will attach to your handlebars and needs to be configured for your bike, which a bike shop employee can help with. It will tell you what your speed, cadence and RPMs are.
Tips & Warnings
- If you’re renting a road bike, be sure to ask what kind of pedals it comes with.
- Many people will fall once when they first try clipless pedals, but it almost always occurs at a slow speed when stopping and the cyclists forget their shoes are locked in. Don’t worry; it will be a slow fall and only your pride will be hurt.