Knowing how to handle your bicycle properly is important so you don’t fall or collide with someone else or with a vehicle. It's also important to equip your bike with the required safety features.
Handling Your Bicycle:
Before going out on the road, practice mounting your bicycle and maintaining balance. To mount your bicycle, stand over the top tube in front of the seat; hold on to the brake levers so your bicycle doesn't roll. To get rolling put one foot on a pedal, release the brakes and push the pedal down with your foot, at the same time pushing off the ground with your other foot. This will cause your bike to roll forward, so make sure to start pedaling so you don't fall over!
This is great video to watch, presented by SheldonBrown.com:
Equipping Your Bike:
California Vehicle Code requires you to have at least one brake and also requires a white light that is visible 300 feet in front of you when riding at night. A red rear reflector or a red rear light with a built-in reflector visible from 500 feet behind you is also required, as are reflectors on your pedals, ankles OR shoes. Not only could you get a ticket if you are not lit up at night, but having lights and reflectors also decreases your likelihood of crashes.
Perform the ABC Quick Check each time you ride:
- A = Air. Inflate tires to the pressure marked on the sidewall.
- B = Brakes. Squeeze brake levers and check that they can stop the wheel.
- C = Chain. Crank and pedals, chainring (big front gears) and cassette (rear gears or cogs). Wiggle pedals toward the frame to check for loose crank arms or bearings.
- Quick = Quick release levers that secure your wheels and seat post. Check that they’re tight enough.
- Check = Check for other loose items by dropping the bike a few inches. Take a short test ride to make sure everything’s working and you can shift through all the gears.