Road biking for beginners: 35 Essential tips for new cyclists

This guide teaches you essential cycling basics; from how to choose the right bike to tips and suggestions on how to get started.

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If you’re new to cycling, it’s easy to get intimidated when you see pro cyclists speeding by. 

However, anyone can start cycling, and you don’t need years of experience and anything too expensive. 

We put together this guide on beginner road biking tips to encourage you to go out on your bike and have some fun. 

Here, we’ll cover the basics of road biking for beginners, including how to choose a road bike, cycling clothes, proper cycling posture, biking accessories and tips to keep you safe and comfortable. 

We’ll also provide tips on how to brake properly on a road bike and basic bike repair every cyclist should know. So make sure to read the beginner bike riding tips before you head out with your bike. 

Use these links to jump to any specific sections you want.

  • Choosing your road bike
  • What to wear when cycling
  • Posture tips for beginner cyclists
  • Road bike braking tips for beginner cyclists
  • Biking tips for beginner bikers
  • Accessories you need when cycling
  • Tips for emergency bike repair & maintenance

Choosing your road bike

Road bikes are designed to cover a variety of roads as quickly as possible while balancing lightweight, rigidity, comfort, and sometimes aerodynamics.

The modern road bike has different variations which correspond to body shapes and riding styles. 

However, the majority of brands divide their selections of road bikes into two basic categories: racing and endurance, each of which has subcategories.

Endurance bikes are generally designed to have a slightly taller front with a shorter reach because this encourages an upright riding position which is comfortable to sustain for longer periods of time, allowing you to ride for much longer before your back and neck begin to hurt. 

They are also built with elements that encourage sturdiness and riding confidence. 

Race bikes, on the other hand, are designed to be fast and lightweight with features that give the rider an aerodynamic edge. 

Despite the category, most road bikes are designed to be compact, lightweight and fast. They are made to be driven on roads with slender 700c wheels and drop-bar handlebars. Road bikes are sturdy and often made of titanium, carbon fiber, steel or aluminum.

The two major considerations when choosing a new bike are your budget and riding style. While your budget is easier to determine, riding style can be more tricky, especially for a newbie. 

Think about why you’re getting a bike; if it’s for commuting, recreational rides on weekends, touring, or racing? 

Taking a few minutes to think of why you need a new bike will help you determine the type of bike that best suits your needs. 

Also, it’s important to check the fit of a road bike before purchasing. Bicycles are available in a number of frame sizes that, at the most fundamental level, match your height and inseam length. 

If a bike fits you, there will be 1 or 2 inches of space between the bike’s top-tube and your crotch when you straddle it. 

Getting a bike fit

After your purchase, you will need to get a bike fit. This is to ensure that your bike is customized to perfectly fit your body shape and riding style, for more comfortable and injury-free rides. 

You can choose to get fitted by a professional, or do it yourself with our bike-fitting guide. However, if you’re a complete beginner, then it’s better to get fitted by a professional. 

An hour with a qualified bike fitter will make sure your body is in the best position for riding, this will help you prevent injuries and make your rides more enjoyable.

What to wear when riding a bike

What you should wear when biking will actually depend on the type of riding you’re doing. 

However, it’s important to wear biking clothes because they greatly improve your performance and comfort. Biking clothes are breathable and fit snugly to increase aerodynamics. 

Bike tights and shorts have a soft, padded inner for comfort in the saddle and a lot of stretch for complete freedom of movement. And shirts have quick-access pockets for convenience. 

Cycling clothes also increase your visibility to drivers, which is crucial for your safety on the road. 

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need to go out and purchase a ton of cycling apparel in order to enjoy riding, nor do you need to purchase items in order to seem stylish. 

However, if you want to improve your comfort and efficiency in the saddle, or you just want to expand your cycling wardrobe, then here’s a list of options for you;

  • Bike jersey
  • Bike shorts
  • Bike pants
  • Cycling shoes & socks
  • Cycling helmet
  • Cycling jacket
  • Cycling gloves
  • Sunglasses 
Bike jersey

Cycling jerseys have the same features, including stretch, breathability, moisture wicking, and quick-drying. Road bike jerseys also have an aerodynamic cut that is form-fitting.

Bike shorts

Bike shorts are made of stretchy fabrics to allow for easy mobility while cycling. They also feature moisture-wicking fabric to help wick sweat away from your skin.

Bike pants/tights

These are alternatives to bike shorts, they are more aerodynamic than shorts. Some pants may be completely waterproof and windproof, while others may include front panels that provide wind protection.

Cycling shoes & socks

Even a basic pair of bicycle shoes have substantially firmer soles than regular shoes, and this increases the power to your pedals. The type of bike shoes you need will be determined by the style of pedals on your bike. 

Socks can help prevent blisters and wick away perspiration, and in cold weather, they can provide extra warmth.

Cycling helmet 

For your own safety, you must always wear a properly fitted helmet when riding a bike. Wearing a helmet can save your life. 

Cycling jacket

This is for biking in cold weather. The ability of a cycling jacket to keep you dry and block the wind are its two most important qualities. 

Also keep in mind that certain jackets are warmer than others, which is important if you ride in cold weather or during the winter.

Cycling gloves

Cycling gloves are worn to improve grip and keep sweat from making handlebars slippery. Bike gloves are a better option than using another pair of gloves for this purpose because they have padding that lessens road and trail vibrations. 

Some are designed without full finger protection and with breathable fabric to increase airflow and lower the temperature.

Knee pads

These are for protection, especially for mountain bikers. They are made of hard plastic and protect your knee from impacts when riding on a rough trail. 


Make sure you have a good pair of cycling sunglasses because both UV radiation and wind-borne debris can harm your eyes.

Posture tips for beginner road bikers

After getting your bike to properly fit you and your riding style, next is to think of how to maintain the proper cycling posture.

This is absolutely important because your riding efficiency and ability to avoid injuries will depend on maintaining good posture. 

Keep the following points in mind when riding.

Relax your shoulders

Riding with tense shoulders can cause discomfort and pain in the neck. Your shoulders should be relaxed and away from your ears, this will help you to turn your head more easily and stay alert on the road.  

Bend your elbows

Bending your elbows while riding relaxes your forearms, reduces strain in your shoulders and helps with your endurance. 

Keeping your shoulders bent and tucked into your sides will also help with impact absorption when you hit a pothole. Don’t forget to bend your elbows.

Don’t bend your wrist

It’s important to maintain a straight line from your elbow through your fingers on the brakes. 

Because this will encourage the proper flow of blood from your hands to your feet, else you may start to feel numb in your hands, which can be dangerous. Numbness or aching muscles is something you want to avoid on your rides. 

Relax your back 

Always maintain a relatively straight line between your hips and shoulders throughout the ride, as this helps to keep your spine relaxed. 

Also keep your core muscles engaged to relieve stress on your hands and shoulders. Not maintaining this posture will put undue pressure on your hands, crotch, and shoulders.

Keep your knees over the balls of your feet

Check that your knee is over the ball of your foot/pedal. Riding with your knees bent out to the side will make you less efficient and in pain. 

This will result in some severe knee problems, so concentrate on keeping your knee over or in line with the ball of your foot.

And finally… 

Make an effort to maintain the proper riding position throughout your rides. Also ensure you do a proper bike fitting to avoid any riding troubles and have more enjoyable rides. 

On long rides, check in with your body position occasionally to be sure you aren’t straying from the ideal posture.

And if your neck or back get very sore after two weeks of riding, go back to the bike shop because you may need some adjustments to make your bike fit better.

Road bike braking tips for beginner cyclists

Braking is a complex skill to master, especially for beginners. But you can learn how to brake like a pro with the following tips.

Test your brakes

Before you set out on any rides, check that your brakes are working properly. 

Verify that your brakes are set the way you like them and that the levers won’t make contact with the handlebars before the bike reaches its maximum power. 

The front brake is usually controlled by the left brake lever, and the rear brake by the right brake lever.

Apply both brakes at once 

Don’t be hesitant to use the front brake because it has the most braking power and is the most effective way to stop your bike. 

However, you shouldn’t exclusively use the front brake because when you do this, especially at speed, the bike tips over on its nose, and you fall over the handlebars. 

In general, both brakes should be used simultaneously, and unless you need to stop quickly, it’s better to apply the brakes gradually before increasing the intensity.

When going downhill, you can control your speed by applying gentle and frequent on-and-off pressure on the brakes. Keeping the brakes engaged throughout your descent can cause friction that could overheat the rims and result in tire failure.

Adjust your body position

Your body weight needs to be in the right place when you’re stopping abruptly. The harder you brake, the further back you need to put your weight. Put your backside behind the saddle and straighten your arms. 

Having your hands on the handlebar drops is also helpful, this helps you minimize your body weight while keeping your hands secure.

Mind your grip 

You should be mindful of how much grip you have when braking, as you don’t want to lose control of your bike. You will often have more grip on dry and smooth roads. 

Since road surfaces and weather conditions vary, you need to know how grip you have when braking hard. It’s not too bad to skid with your back wheel, but it’s much worse to lose control of your front wheel. 

Beware of potholes, broken pavement, loose gravel, muddy sections of the road, etc.

Avoid braking in corners

You also need to be careful when braking in corners. Remember that the physics of turning a corner will already be putting stress on your tires; adding extra stress by braking may cause skidding. 

This is a serious issue in a corner, and you run the risk of falling off your bike. It is possible to brake in corners, but do so gently and if at all possible, avoid it.

Brake before turning a corner

You shouldn’t brake when you’re actually turning a corner, only before the corner. If you must brake at a bend, make every effort to do so with your line as straight as possible. And use both brakes, as this lessens the chance that you will fall off due to a wheel skidding.

Timing is important 

When you want to stop your bike, you should start reducing your speed by gently applying the back brake. Keep your eyes up and look where you wish to stop, then start easing the front brake slightly to further slow down. 

Maintain a comfortable posture with a small bend in your arms. Once you’re moving slowly enough, use both brakes to come to a complete stop.

Practice your braking 

Find a peaceful stretch of road where you can practice your braking skills. Start by picking up some speed, then use your brakes to stop the bike. See how long it takes you to stop, and pay close attention to how the tire responds to your braking. 

You’ll need to try different things to see what works best for you and to feel how your bike responds to braking. Try to find out how hard you can brake without losing control. 

Riding in a group 

Braking suddenly when riding in a group often results in crashes. Avoid braking hard so that riders behind you won’t be caught off guard. 

Try to avoid using your brakes as much as you can when riding in a group; this will make the ride much smoother and safer. You can brake when riding with others, but be careful when doing so.

Always remember that the front brake is the most efficient way to slow down, and learn to master it. Adjust your body weight to match the speed at which you’re stopping, and the force of your brake should match the amount of grit on the road.

Biking tips for beginner cyclists

Make sure to read the beginner bike riding tips before you go out for a ride. Also ensure your bike runs as efficiently as possible. Pump the tires with the proper air pressure, and put on appropriate cycling clothing.

Plan out your route

As a beginner rider, planning your route in advance will help you know exactly how far you will travel on each ride. 

Additionally, you should keep your rides short if you’re just starting out in the world of cycling to prevent exhaustion. Around 10 to 15 miles per ride should be okay for your rides.

Use a biking app 

You may download a variety of cycling apps to schedule, record, and track your rides. With this, you can look back on these in a few months and realize how far you’ve gone. 

These are really fantastic for encouraging goal-setting and motivation. They are also great if you care about your statistics.

Always wear a helmet

Never go without a helmet. It’s good to err on the side of caution. Wear one even if you’re not going far. 

Sometimes people think they don’t need to wear a helmet if they are just running a short errand on a bike. A bike crash can happen at any time and without warning, so keep yourself as safe as possible. 

Keep your eyes on the road

Look in the direction you want to go, not down at the front wheel. Keep your gaze fixed 20–30 feet in front of you, so you can see obstacles and potential turns. 

Resist the urge to focus on an obstacle you can to avoid, as doing so will cause you to ride toward them. Also try to look where you want to go. Don’t stare at your front bike wheel. 

As a beginner, sometimes you have to consciously remind yourself to keep your eyes on the road. This is something you may have to do from time to time, but after a while it will become second nature. 

Don’t grip the handlebars too tightly 

Keep your upper body nice and relaxed when you head out on your first few rides. Make sure that you can always wriggle your fingers in your grasp on the handlebars

By doing so, the body is able to generate a healthy blood flow to the fingers and respond to obstacles more quickly.

Take snacks on your rides

It’s nice to stop for a quick snack during your rides. You can either make a brief stop at your preferred café or pack your favorite snack in your pocket. You’ll feel some relief and a boost in motivation. Every cyclist needs to pay close attention to their body fuel.

Stay hydrated on your rides

Always make sure to stay hydrated on your rides, and it’s easy. Most bikes have a bottle holder attached to the frame, this gives you a nice place to store your water bottle for a steady supply of water to keep your muscles hydrated throughout your rides. Make sure you take regular sips.

Pick quiet roads

To minimize your concern about traffic, choose a nice and quiet road. But if you do pick a road with some traffic, go with the flow. Follow other drivers’ directions when you are on the road. 

Cycling against the flow of traffic puts other road users in danger and can land you in jail. When available, use the authorized bicycle lanes. Also, choose a flat route, so you won’t have to climb any hills. 

Carry a bike seat bag

You do not want to carry around a backpack because it adds weight to your back. Your snacks and repair tools can be stored in a lightweight bike saddlebag.

Check your tires

You don’t want to go out with a flat tire, so make sure to check your tires and pump them up before your ride. Make sure to check the recommended tire pressure on the side of the tire wall and get it pumped up.

Learn to fix a tire 

Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere and waiting for someone to come pick you up is something you don’t want. 

You can learn how to fix a flat tire in a local bike shop, or you can watch a YouTube tutorial video and practice at home before you head out. 

It’s important to take a spare tube with you so you can change it if you get a puncture, this way you won’t have to worry about fixing the old one right away.

Keep your rides short

Don’t try to ride for long hours for the first time because you will end up running out of energy and may even lose motivation. And measure your rides in time instead of distance. 

You can start by riding for 1 hour or less, about 2 to 3 times a week. Don’t try to accomplish too much and ride like the pros on day one. 

Remember that everyone was once a beginner, and they didn’t kill themselves on day 1. Again, keep your first few rides short and sweet.

Don’t push yourself too hard

Always keep your breathing in check and maintain a comfortable pace for the first 2 to 6 weeks. Then, depending on your level of fitness, you can gradually start to increase your duration. 

Find cycling buddies 

Cycling is an incredibly supportive and social sport, as you’ll quickly discover. A lot of bike shops organize group rides to introduce new road riders to local routes and teach them cycling etiquette.

We all started out as riding beginners at some point, so mistakes are inevitable. Just go outside, have fun, and follow any local laws that may apply. 

Accessories you need when cycling

There are some cycling equipment that you will need to carry on your rides, these items can be very helpful especially when you need to do an emergency bike repair. Items required include:

Spare tube

You’ll need a spare tube that fits your bike’s wheels and tires. Although you can also bring a patch kit, it will be simpler to just change the tube when you get a flat tire during a ride. You can patch the hole when you get home. 

Tire tools

To access the punctured tube and replace it with a new one, you’ll need a tire tool like tire levers to pry the tire off the rim. You may also need to carry a patch kit, in case you get more than one flat. 


A compact multi-tool that has the components needed to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts will help you carry out any required roadside repairs on your bike. But you first need to learn basic bike maintenance. 

Bike saddlebag

You’ll need a bike seat bag to carry your tools, spare tube, and personal items.

Mini pump

Mini pumps are important for when you get a flat tire. The good thing is that they come with a cage that can be fastened to the bike frame, so you don’t have to lug it around. 

Water bottle

It’s important to stay hydrated when riding, therefore you need a water bottle and a cage that mounts to your bike frame.

Bike lock

This is not an essential item, but it might be depending on where you ride. It’s best to not leave your bike where you can’t see it at all times. Locks are great and can deter thieves, but don’t put too much trust in them.

Bike lights

This is also not essential, but daylight running lights for bikes can improve your visibility on the road. They are great if you intend to ride on cloudy days or evenings. 

Tips for emergency bike repair & maintenance

It would be helpful to learn some basic bike repair for when you have an emergency. You can learn basic bike repair and maintenance for free online, it’s always best to be prepared.

When you’re far from home and need a bike fix, you’ll be grateful that you learned how to fix it yourself.

This section will tell you what basic bike repair you need to know.

Change a flat tire

Practice changing a flat tire before you actually need to change one. You also want to practice using your mini pump, so you can learn how it works before you actually need it. 

Patch a punctured tube

It’s also important to learn how to fix a puncture, and always carry a repair kit (including tire levers, a patch kit and a pump). 

It may be easier to simply change the tube when you get a flat tire, but what if you get more than one flat. In this case, you will certainly need to find and fix the puncture. 

Reattach derailed chain

Sometimes, your chain can come off the chain ring when riding. When this happens, you will need to carefully put it right back into place. You may need to try a few times before you get it right, and you may need someone to hold the bike while you fix the chain. 

Fix a broken or twisted chain

You don’t have to panic if your bike chain breaks while you’re out on a ride. Not if you’ve prepared yourself for it. You should know that fixing a broken chain is just as easy as fixing a flat tire. 

All you need to fix your chain is the compact chain tool in your multi-tool. If you get a broken chain, make sure you get it checked in your local bike shop after the ride. Keeping your bike chain clean and lubricated will prevent it from wear. 

Don’t forget to call for help

Not everything can be fixed by the roadside, and sometimes you will need to get to a bike shop. Call for help if your bike suffers serious damage when you’re very far from home. 

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BikeCrunch offers the best riding tips and guides to help you get the most out of your cycling adventures. We offer in-depth bike and accessory reviews, unbiased buying guides, how-to guides, and much more. Mountain biking, road biking, commuting, touring, and recreational cycling are some of the topics we cover.