Cycling Tips: Avoid These ‍7 Common Mistakes to Ace Your Bicycle Journeys

Cycling Tips: Avoid These ‍7 Common Mistakes to Ace Your Bicycle Journeys


Bicycle tips - father and son on touring bicycles

Cycling is an exhilarating and fulfilling activity that allows you to explore new places, improve your fitness, and enjoy the beauty of nature. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, it's important to be aware of the common mistakes that can hinder your progress and enjoyment on the road.

In this article, I'll discuss seven common mistakes that road bikers make and provide tips on how to avoid them. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to acing your cycling journey and experiencing the joy of road biking to the fullest.

Mistake 1: Choosing the wrong size bicycle

One of the most crucial aspects of cycling is choosing the right size bicycle for your body. Riding a bike that is too big or too small can lead to discomfort, poor performance, and even injuries.

To avoid this mistake, it is important to buy from a reputable brand that offers ergonomic frames geometries, and consider getting a professional bike fit or consult with an experienced cyclist who can help you determine the correct frame size for your height and body type.

For many years I rode a mountainbike one size too small for me - when I finally changed to the size above it totally changed my level of comfort and confidence on the bike! To help you out, consider factors such as reach, saddle height, and handlebar position to ensure optimal comfort and efficiency while riding.

Mistake 2: Neglecting bike fit and position

Even if you have chosen the right size road bike, neglecting proper bike fit and position can still lead to discomfort and decreased performance. It is important to adjust your bike's saddle height, handlebar position, and cleat placement to suit your body and riding style.

My very simple rule of thumb is to line up the top of the saddle to my hip joint and make sure that when pedaling, my leg is short of fully outstreched at the end of the pedal stroke (a bend of about 30º).

Bar reach, or arm extension with your hands comfortably on the handlebars is a question of personal preference, and I prefer a more upright position, to put less strain on my shoulders and neck. Most coashes recommend around 60º bend in the hip / torso for comfort riding.

Ideal bicycle fit


A proper bike fit will not only prevent injuries but also optimize your power output and overall riding experience. Consider visiting a professional bike fitter who can help fine-tune your bike fit or educate yourself on bike fit principles through online resources or books.

Mistake 3: Ignoring regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping your bike in optimal condition and ensuring a smooth and safe ride. Neglecting maintenance tasks such as cleaning your bike, lubricating the chain, checking tire pressure, and inspecting brakes can lead to mechanical issues and compromise your safety.

Make it a habit to perform routine maintenance checks and address any issues promptly. Additionally, consider learning basic bike maintenance skills or seek the assistance of a professional bike mechanic to ensure that your bicycle is always in top-notch condition and safe to ride.

Mistake 4: Not wearing proper cycling gear

Wearing the right cycling gear is essential for comfort, safety, and performance during your biking adventures. Invest in a good quality helmet that fits properly and provides adequate protection (UL or CE certifed!).

Wear padded cycling shorts to minimize discomfort and chafing on your sit bones. If you find padding uncomfortable (as I do!), opt simply for moisture wicking underwear.

On the top-side, synthetic jerseys help keep you dry and your temperature stable - BUT, I opt for cotton for very hot days as I find that polyester simply dries too fast and can lead to heat rash.

Don't forget to wear cycling-specific shoes that provide efficient power transfer and support.

Lastly, protect your eyes with sunglasses and use sunscreen to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. By wearing the appropriate cycling gear, you will enhance your overall riding experience and stay safe on the road.

Mistake 5: Ignoring nutrition and hydration

Proper nutrition and hydration play a vital role in sustaining your energy levels and enhancing your performance during long rides. Ignoring your nutritional needs can result in fatigue, muscle cramps, and decreased endurance.

Make sure to fuel your body with a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after your rides.

Consider carrying energy bars or gels to replenish your energy stores during longer rides. I end most longer days rides with a simple magnesium tablet dissolved in water.

Listen to your body and consume food and fluids at regular intervals to avoid bonking. By paying attention to your nutrition and hydration, you will have the energy and stamina to conquer your cycling goals.

Mistake 6: Overtraining and not listening to your body

While it is important to push yourself and challenge your limits, overtraining can lead to burnout, injuries, and decreased performance. It is crucial to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs to recover and rebuild.

Incorporate rest days into your training schedule and allow your muscles to repair and strengthen. Pay attention to signs of fatigue, such as persistent soreness, decreased motivation, and difficulty sleeping.

Adjust your training intensity and volume accordingly to prevent overtraining. Remember, consistency and gradual progress are key to long-term success in cycling.

Finally: never, ever, forget to stretch! Quick and easy daily stretching is essential to prevent injuries and maintain comfort on and off your bike!

Mistake 7: Not knowing the rules of the road

As a cyclist, it is important to be aware of and abide by the rules of the road to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and regulations.

Obey traffic signals and signs, use hand signals to indicate your intentions, and always ride in the same direction as traffic. Be visible by wearing bright-colored clothing and using lights and reflectors when riding in low-light conditions.

Respect other road users, including pedestrians and vehicles, and be cautious at intersections. By being a responsible road biker, you contribute to a positive cycling culture and create a safer environment for everyone.

Tips for beginners to ace their road cycling journey

For beginners embarking on their road cycling journey, here are some additional tips to help you get started and make the most of your experience:

  1. Start with short rides: Begin with shorter rides to gradually build your endurance and confidence. Gradually increase the distance and intensity as you become more comfortable on the bike.
  2. Join a cycling group or club: Cycling with others can provide motivation, support, and opportunities to learn from experienced riders. Look for local cycling groups or clubs that cater to beginners.
  3. Learn basic bike maintenance: Familiarize yourself with basic bike maintenance tasks such as fixing a flat tire, adjusting brakes, and cleaning your bike. This will come in handy when you encounter minor issues on the road.
  4. Practice bike handling skills: Improve your bike handling skills by practicing maneuvers such as cornering, braking, and shifting gears in a safe and controlled environment. This will enhance your confidence and control on the road.
  5. Set realistic goals: Set achievable goals that align with your fitness level and riding abilities. Whether it's completing a certain distance or participating in a local cycling event, setting goals will keep you motivated and focused.

By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you will set yourself up for a successful and enjoyable road cycling journey.


Cycling offers a myriad of benefits, from improved fitness to a sense of adventure and exploration. By being aware of the common mistakes that road bikers make and taking proactive steps to avoid them, you can enhance your road biking experience and achieve your cycling goals.

Remember to choose the right size road bike, prioritize proper bike fit and position, perform regular maintenance, wear appropriate cycling gear, pay attention to nutrition and hydration, listen to your body, know the rules of the road, and incorporate the tips provided for beginners. So, get started today and embrace the joy of Cycling!

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