The city is not the friendliest territory for cyclists, nor the most prosperous for cycling. In the streets and on the road, users must live together to ensure their safety. But between cyclists, pedestrians, motorists and other scooter riders , it is not always easy to share. And things can sometimes be more complicated than expected. So how do you behave in order to get around town by bike? What behavior to adopt behind the handlebars, how to position yourself and anticipate the vagaries of the road? Our advice for getting around the city by bicycle.
1. Starting, stopping and turning the bike
Before getting around town on a bike, you need to know how to start, stop and of course turn . It might seem trivial to you, many will surely think that these tips are not essential, but these steps are nevertheless essential for good driving in the city.
2. First of all, you have to start well!
A good start is a quick, safe, and comfortable start . This is all the more crucial in city traffic, but also uphill. The goal is to very quickly reach the speed necessary for balance while limiting the period when you have only partial control of the bike because of the low speed.
To get settled on the bike, straddle the frame, at the front of the saddle, both feet on the ground while activating the brakes to keep the bike in place. To be perfectly ready when it’s time to set off again, place a pedal at two o’clock – top forward. Once the brake is released, you can then start by pushing hard on the pedal to move forward at a good speed while climbing into the saddle. As soon as the other pedal comes to the up position, it is time to install the second foot. Using clipless pedals or toe clips increases pedaling efficiency and safety by preventing the feet from slipping while pushing.
As one of our readers also points out, it is important when starting out to be “on the right gear. Indeed, “many cyclists get off to a difficult start after stopping at a traffic light, because they didn’t think to put themselves in an easy gear, conducive to a good restart”. Before stopping at a light, a stop sign or an intersection, be sure to change the speed well by milling a little to then start more easily.
3. But also know how to stop on a bike
Of course, red lights and stop signs also apply to cyclists. At an intersection, the vigilance of the cyclist must be optimal. First of all, the brakes must be in good working order! Do not hesitate to have them serviced or replaced if necessary. You also have to learn to know your brakes : their behavior, their response time depending on the pressure of the handle and the ambient humidity… As a reminder, all bicycles must legally be equipped with two brakes. Placed either both on the handlebars, or one on the handlebars and one in coaster.
4. USE BOTH BRAKES
Squeeze the brakes gently to stop Whether in the car, on foot or on a bicycle, the weight automatically shifts forward when you stop. On a bicycle, the weight therefore shifts to the front wheel. It is therefore all the more dangerous to brake only with the front brake, or only with the rear brake. Experience it by walking alongside the bike. If you brake firmly with only the front brake, the stop is abrupt and the rear wheel takes off slightly. Conversely, if you brake only with the rear brake, the braking is softer and the rear wheel can zigzag or skid.
If both brakes are on the handlebars of the bike, the safest and most efficient way to stop while cycling is to use both brakes simultaneously . However, you have to learn to dose so that the braking is done in a progressive and sensitive way, and avoid giving too sudden “brakes”.