Hey guys, I've been riding a bike for a long time, and often, someone asks me to teach them and explain the basics and some key points. So, I've written a bit about what you need to know, remember, and do if you want to learn how to ride.
This article is primarily for complete beginners who are taking their first steps:
It's best to learn how to ride a bike wearing closed-toe shoes (sneakers, trainers) and regular clothing (jeans, a snug-fitting shirt or jacket). Especially in the beginning, due to inexperience, you might get scrapes or injuries, and if you're in flip-flops and shorts, your wounds will be much more serious.
A helmet is an absolute must! Don't skimp on safety; invest in a good-quality helmet for at least 250k, rather than using an old, dirty rental helmet.
To start with, it's best to go for small scooters (like Scoopy, Vario, etc.) with automatic transmission. This way, you won't have to deal with gear shifting initially and can focus on the basics of riding..
Practice in a large, open area with no buildings, traffic, or obstacles. It's even better if you have someone with you who can explain or assist during the initial stages.
First, just sit on the bike, put up the side stand, and try to lean it in different directions to get a feel for the bike's weight and when you can maintain balance.. Make it a rule that your left hand is always on the rear brake lever (usually using two or three fingers).
Start the bike. First, while holding the brake, gently twist the throttle to get a sense of how "smooth or stiff" it is, then try moving off smoothly and slowly. Always accelerate smoothly on a bike.
Avoid using your feet to brake or touch the ground while riding; it's a bad habit.
Also, remember that in case of emergency, you shouldn't abruptly release the handlebars or twist the throttle fully. Many beginners' first reaction is to crank the throttle, and the bike shoots out from under them. This is very dangerous!
Initially, ride slowly to learn balance and get a feel for the bike. Try braking, accelerating, and making turns.
Try an exercise like a sudden stop: gain a bit of speed and then brake abruptly. Remember that you should use the rear brake for about 80% of the braking and assist with the front brake. A sudden front brake can cause the front wheel to lock, and you might be thrown forward. However, during normal braking while moving, it's advisable to use both brakes, not just the rear.
You can also practice reaction time and sudden stops with a helper. They can shout "STOP" at any moment, and you should stop abruptly and do it correctly.
Once you're comfortable riding straight, start practicing turns and U-turns. You can set up a slalom course with any objects.
Then, start using the turn signals. Ride around the practice area while signaling your turns. Don't forget to turn them off. Learn to use the mirrors; always check them before your ride.
On your first real road ride, choose a quiet and less crowded road. Relax, take a deep breath, and set off. Try to ride closer to the left side of the road, smoothly and without rushing. Focus on the road and your actions. Don't get distracted or look around. You're in control!
When riding, always signal your turns in advance and avoid sudden, unexpected maneuvers. Your movements should be predictable for other road users. Reduce your speed before a turn.
While riding, try to anticipate the situation a bit and "feel" other road users. This also applies to turning onto main roads from side roads. Expect that someone might unexpectedly appear and not look. Be prepared for it. This comes with experience, but still.
When riding on sandy or gravelly surfaces, never brake abruptly or make any sharp turns or movements. On such surfaces, it's essential to ride calmly, slowly, and smoothly.
If you have to ride in the rain, reduce your speed to at least one and a half times less than usual and be extra cautious.
Keep a basic first aid kit in your storage compartment (hydrogen peroxide, bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic powder like Neosporin/Baneocin) and a printed copy of your insurance policy.
Read also: How to Treat Scrapes and Falls from a Bike Ride