10 top tips for new riders

You’re ready for your first ride. Naturally it’s going to take a little while until you're up to speed with your new bike, so here’s a few tips to help you along the way.


Not taking any spares

Even on a short ride you should at least take enough tools to be able to sort a flat out.

However on a longer ride you’ll need a bit more, but nothing that can’t fit into a saddle pack.

It’s not worth risking it, there’s nothing worse than being stranded miles from home and all you needed was a chain tool to get you going again.

No food. Or water

On a short ride you can get away with just a bottle but again on a longer rider you’ll need more.

Dehydration and not being fuelled correctly can lead you to hit the wall. Hitting a wall means you might cramp up or just not simply have the energy to get up that last climb, it might even mean you need to stop.

So take some drink, a couple of bars, gels etc and you’ll be able to ride better for longer. ALSO don’t forget your phone and some money, you never know what might happen!

Grabbing the brakes

Don’t be tempted to anchor on at every given opportunity, normally a light feathering of the brakes will be enough to slow you down. If you slam on the brakes, you could lock up but also cause problems to any riders who are near you. Mash those brakes only if you really need to.

saddle height

Saddle height

Riding with a saddle too high or too low is a common mistake people make, not only will it be uncomfortable it will also stop you from getting the power down correctly.

When your heel hits the bottom of the pedal stroke, your leg should be almost straight.

Also you should just about be able to touch the floor with your toes if you’re on the saddle. So with that in mind, get on the bike and adjust the saddle height accordingly.

Don’t powerwash your bike

We know the pro’s do it and you see many riders at the weekend do it BUT washing it this way wears out the bearings quickly. Use the right bike cleaning products and do it by hand, pick the right products and you’ll have this done easily and in no time.

Unclipping at lights

When approaching a junction and the lights are on red, anticipate stopping and unclip a leg from your pedals whilst slowing down and before you stop. This way when you stop you already have a leg free to steady you and you won’t fall over!

Braking in a corner

Brake before a corner unless it’s an emergency, braking during the corner will cause you to lock up, the back wheel might fly out or worse still its crash time.

Using the wrong lube

There is a reason that different lubes and oils exist. Do a bit of research and get the right oil for the job, particularly if you’re on a carbon bike. Using the wrong lube can cause unnecessary wear to your bike and even corrode the frame.


Being in the wrong gear

Road bikes now have 20 or 22 gears, make sure you’re in the right one.

Equally make sure you’re pulling the right cadence, don’t peddle too fast in a low gear or sweat away in a high gear.

Have a bit of a practice, get to know the bike and also your shifters, it’s always good to know what way changes up and down.


  • Christian Moss

    Christian is the Social Media manager at Merlin Cycles. Christian brings an air of levity to the blog, coupled with a generous splash of irreverence. As part of his responsibilities, Christian manages the Facebook and Twitter accounts. Christian is also the resident photographer here at Merlin.

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