6 Common Cycling Mistakes

Cyclist drinking from bottle
How many are you guilty of?

Last updated: March 2023

Mistakes are part and parcel of cycling, they're how we learn and adapt to tricky situations. Here's some common mistakes that can be easily rectified.

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Poorly Fitting Bike

You should be as comfortable in the drops as you are riding on the hoods

A common mistake that can follow a rider throughout their life is a badly fitting bike. Even if you have all the fitness in the world, a poor bike fit will render you inefficient. Having a good fit starts the day before you buy your bike, choose the right size!! There are a few small changes you can make at home.

The first step is ensuring you have the correct saddle height. A quick way to check is to put your bike on a turbo trainer, or lean it against a wall. While wearing kit, jump on your bike and position you feet at 12 and 6, or where your cranks are vertical.

The big question is: how bent is your knee in that position? Adjust your saddle until your knee is only slightly bent when you’re at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

NB: This is only a quick fix, if you’re having real issues with sizing or persistent injuries, it is definitely worth consulting a bike fitting expert.

Braking Through Corners

Don't brake!

Descending is a skill that takes time to properly crack. A mistake that many make is braking in a corner rather than before it. If you brake on the corner itself, you risk locking up and falling in the road. However, if you brake on approach and keep looking ahead through the bend, you will safely navigate and sweep through. It may take a while to master, but it’s a skill needed on every ride.


You can still be in control even at high speeds

On the flip side to poor cornering, is over-confidence. Now, we’re not ones to put a limit on your enthusiasm, but some over-confidence can only end in tears, especially on the aforementioned descents. If you race down them without mastering your cornering technique, you may quickly find yourself in bother.

The same is to be said for climbing, you don't want to go full gas and blow on the first climb only to have a hellish rest ofday in the saddle.

Not Maintaining Your Bike

A clean bike is a fast bike!

Routine maintenance will both prolong the life of your bike and save you money in the long run. Plus, each time you clean the bike, you will familiarise yourself with its details and intricacies, meaning you’ll be able to identify problems more quickly. If your bike is already having issues and you’re unsure how to deal with them, it’s best to take it into your local bike shop. For a more comprehensive cleaning/maintenance guide, check out: 6 Easy Steps To Clean Your Bike and 8 Maintenance Tips Every Cyclist Should know.

Not Using Gears

Gears are there to be used

Using your gears efficiently is key. You don't want to be spinning at 150+rpm (rotations per minute) in your smallest gears, nor should you feel like you’re using a leg press either!

A smooth cadence is what all cyclists should aim for. Most bikes have between 18 and 24 gears, so finding  how each one feels will take a while. It's an intuitive process, but as a rule of thumb, aim for around 80-90rpm on the flat. Then shift down to easier gears on climbs for a higher cadence that will be more comfortable.

Overlapping Wheels

Half-wheeling is generally seen as bad etiquette

Overlapping wheels and ‘half-wheeling’ when riding as part of a group is a no-no. Make sure you are behind the rear wheel of the rider in front of you and not inched alongside to avoid a crash or issue.

‘Half-wheeling’ is when one rider nudges ahead of the other at the front of the group, forcing the trailing cyclist to speed up and thus unnecessarily increase the pace for the entire group. Both of these mistakes can be easily put right by proper group cycling etiquette - if in doubt, ask your ride buddies. Unsure about how to ride in a group?

Not Taking Out Cycling Specific Insurance

Whether you’re new to the sport or have grown up on a bike, a basic mistake many cyclists make is not taking out cycle insurance. That’s where we come in. Pedalsure can protect you and your accessories in mass participation events and races, in cases of bike theft, personal injury, personal liability, during events and abroad. Most of the thing we cover you won’t find in your home insurance policies. Avoid dropping the ball on this one and follow our quick and easy quote process today.

Need something to lock your bike bike up with when you’re out and about? You can now get 60% off a Diamond-rated Hiplok DX D-lock worth £79.99 when you take out cover with Pedalsure. Yours for just £30. Just one of many ways we protect both you and your bike.


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