Top 10 New Cyclist Mistakes – What Not To Do!


Wearing your helmet back to front You’ve got your new bike, you’ve bought
your new kit, you’ve purchased a helmet. Please, please, PLEASE, don’t make the mistake
of putting it on back to front, you’ll never live it down.
Wearing underpants underneath your cycling shorts However you call them, underwear, pants, briefs,
knickers, they should NEVER be worn underneath your cycling shorts. The chamois should be
next to your skin. Using a top tube or frame bag The less that’s on your bike, the better.
However, if you MUST have a bag to carry spares on your bike, make it a small saddle bag,
NOT a top tube or frame bag. Not taking enough food and drink out with
you It’s happened to all of us, and it’s the
worst feeling in the world. Running out of fuel, hitting the wall, bonking, whatever
you want to call it, is something you don’t want to happen often, so make sure you take
out adequate supplies, or money! Not being prepared for mechanical failure. You’re out on a lovely ride, a long way
from home, enjoying the scenery and the sense of achievement, then all of a sudden, a loud
hissing noise comes from your wheel – it’s a puncture? Got a spare inner tube and a pump?
No, got money for a taxi? No. Got a phone – yes, lets hope you’ve got some good friends
of family! Remember, always take out two spare tubes, a pump, tyre levers, an allen key set
and a chain tool, that should cover most emergencies. Overeating before a big event You’ve done all the training – months of
hard work, organisation and preparation has done into your big event, the longest you’ve
ever ridden. Right, better fuel up for it – PASTA!! And a bit more, AND a bit more,
actually probably better have that 4th plate too, it’s a long old ride tomorrow. WRONG
– don’t eat too much before your big event, you’ll feel bloated and could get the feeling
of having blocked legs. Eat enough, but not too much.
Getting lost The great thing about cycling is the sense
of exploration, riding somewhere you’ve never been before, even from your own home.
Don’t make the mistake of getting lost, though, or underestimating how long a route
is going to take, or you could be riding home in the dark.
Doing too much, too soon. Cycling is an easy sport to get obsessed with.
The more you do, the better you get, right? Wrong. There comes a point when your body
needs rest to absorb the training you’ve done, if you don’t take it, or if you ignore
the signs of overtraining and fatigue, then you can quickly dig yourself a very big hole.
Not drinking enough No, we don’t mean at the bar, we mean on
the bike. Long rides result in a lot of fluid loss, and it can be easy to forget to drink
enough, especially if you’re on a big event. If it’s hot, by the time you’re really
feeling thirsty, it’s probably too late, and you’re going to pay for it at the end
of the ride. Failing to unclip when you come to a stop. Shiney new bike, shiney new pedals and shoes,
first time with clipless pedals? When you come to a stop, DON’T forget to twist your
foot out, otherwise you’ll do an embarrassing, slow motion fall to the floor.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. the amount of times I've uncliped one foot and fallen the other way and when a cleat bolt has fallen out and you can't unclip

  2. No. 1 Rule: ride 3 feet (1m) from the curb. Don't try to leave room for cars in the curbside lane as some will pass within 2-3 feet; pretty scary. Riding that distance also helps turning cars on the side lanes see you better.

  3. Few things are good for new cyclists (don't forget to unclip when you stop), but most are preaching to the choir. "Take enough food and drink for long rides", if you're fit enough to do long rides, you already know how much food and drink to take. "Don't get lost",.. Lol.
    Also think I'll hit up a group ride or two with my helmet on backwards, just to see what kind of reaction it gets.. 😀

  4. A Front Triangle Bag seams to be a more logic option for my aero bike. The saddle bag defies the purpose of the aero seat tube. The front triangle bag is small (1.3l) and fits exactly inside the frame. It accommodates also the pump. My bike has an oversized fork steerer tube, wider than the triangle bag. Also I can still use two water bottle cans.
    The saddle bag, no matter how small is, it will bounce, it will not accommodate your pump and it will be harder to reach when riding. It also looks ridiculous.

  5. Well …. I will always wear underpants …. 
    and as MTB and lazy person …. I will never wear cycling shoe … I will drop slowly in 11 of 10 stops k k k k Im so lazy

  6. I think it will be a good step by gcn if they can make videos like top 5 bike computers,top 5 wheel sets top 5 shoes,helmets
    etc as we can know what to buy.

  7. I don't think I'll ever get "into" cycling. I love riding my old steel DF and pumping ahead of a bianchi any day of the week, but all that pro and performance stuff isn't for me at all. Maybe cause the furthest I'll go is about 15-20 km.

  8. hahaha good to know about underwear, and about getting lost if you survive you'll have a good story to tell rsrsrs

  9. ive always had the worry of getting a boner in the tight shorts. sorry it is a weird subject but thats a problem ive had in tight clothing before

  10. I made all these mistakes on my first ride. For hanging stuff on the frame, I ziptied my hiking bag to my frame to carry my floor pump. I also used the light that was on my helmet adjustment wheel as a headlamp to see where I was going.

  11. how are you supposed to mash two tubes, pump, allan keys and tire levers into saddle bag or pockets? i never saw you put on a backpack so where do you hide them?

  12. @1:36 William G. Allen would appreciate it if you capitalized his last name. But since he is probably not around anymore…

  13. The following mistakes are all those that I feel I made

    1) Not enough cadence and more stomping on the pedals. It is easy to feel that the higher the gear the faster you go but this is not true. Change down and increase your pedalling speed to around 80 to 90 (and certainly over 70) pedal cycles per minute. Cadence meters are more important for inexperienced cyclists.

    2) Not getting down low. Power required to accelerate is mainly wind resistance at higher speeds and increases as the cube of speed. This means that cyclists (not on recumbents) hit a wall at about 34kph, above which it is almost impossible to push ones chest through the atmosphere. Do not even try. As you get thinner you will be able to down lower and get faster. You may need to improve lower back flexibility by stretching too.

    3) Believing that pro cyclists provide the model (in their pedalling form and gear) to aspire to. The vast majority of pro cyclists ride in a peloton which decreases wind resistance by 40% or more. The vast majority of amateur riders, that I see on the roads, ride solo. This means that pros can ride in a higher stance and that conversely point (2) is even more important for amateurs. Bike shops will attempt to sell you a more upright pro-position and pro-gear to make money, so this mistake is pervasive.

    4) Thinking that bike weight is really important. Bike weight is important perhaps in the moving parts but not that important in the frame because once you are at a higher speed then the weight of the bike is part of your momentum. Bike weight is important in climbs and accelerating (such as in a course with bends, or a road with stop signs) but is much over emphasised. Wind resistance is far more important but that is improved with posture (see 2) not an aero bike frame.

    5) Underestimating the importance of suspension. Pro riders and many people who work in bike shops are very thin. Like experienced thin runners who do not need to use thick soled running shoes but light skimpy ones, light cyclists can use bikes and particularly frames which do not provide much suspension. Many of us purchase a bike to loose weight. Just as jogging when you are overweight can hurt the knees, especially if you do not use nice well cushioned shoes, so cycling can hurt the crotch if you are heavier than a pro cyclist (which everyone is). Thus mountain bikes on the road are in fact not such a bad idea for anyone who is overweight. Mountain bike suspension does eat up power when accelerating but like bike weight this is not so much of a drawback when at speed. At the very least consider steel framed and carbon framed bikes for the suspension that they provide rather than for their lightness. If you made the mistake of purchasing an aluminium bike (as bike shops often push) then put a carbon fork on it.

    6) Thinking that big padding on saddles provides comfort and suspension. Having made mistake (5) inexperienced cyclists often go and purchase a thicker sadde with more padding or even a pad for the top of their saddle. However, the biggest problem faced by cyclists is that they are supporting themselves in part by an area of their body which is soft tissue (the crotch, perineum, or worse, more painful, in women). Adding padding can result in more weight being supported by this soft tissue. Hollow (Selle Italia, IZM, Selle SMP, Cobb) saddles with no centre, are the way to go. Hollow saddles can have little padding if they have no centre, and put pressure only on your bones not your soft tiddue. It takes a while to get used to hollow salldes, but there is no looking back once you are used to them. But then again, when you are as thin as a pro, and bouncing on your pedals most of the time anyway, then a hollow saddle may not be needed.

    7) Thinking that lycra is just pretentious, part of mistake (3). While to an extentent wearing lycra is a way of identifying with pro cyclists, it is not only a pose. Tight non flappy clothing is import to reduce wind resistance (2). Even if you are flabby, wear lycra. Cheap stuff available from China on ebay will do.

    8) Thinking that cycling shoes with a ratchet are merely a gimmick. The ratchet if raked backwards pulls your heel into the heel cup of the shoe providing a great rider-bike integration.

    9) Generally skimping on cycling shoes. One would not skimp on shoes if running but it is easy to underestimate the importance of shoes when riding a bicycle since ones feet do not touch the ground, right? Wrong. Shoes are the point of transfer of power so light shoes with good binding system and a hard carbon sole make a big difference. Get some second hand shoes with a ratchet and carbon sole.

    10) Thinking that bike handle bar stems should only be up to 12cm long. It is okay to use longer ones. Mine are 15cm. This relates to points (2) and (3) and provides extra flexibility in the forks, relating to point (5).

    11) Thinking that you can ride in prescription spectacles or RX prescription inserts. In either case, once you get down lower, you find yourself looking at or over the top of the prescription lenses. Pros use contact lenses behind big cycling glasses (e.g. Cavendish Prizm). I use billiard style goofy/dork cycling glasses but they are not for the feint of heart.

  14. newbie mistake is to use 53/39 crank and 12-21 cassette and not use 53/39 crank with 13/34 cassette. That for hilly terrain

  15. I agree with the tool kit idea but with one extra bit added. I also carry a puncture repair kit as well. I carry tubes with me to change at the road side, it's quicker, and a puncture repair kit to repair tubes when I stop at a cafe or other convenient place to rest. More time and convenience to repair at stop point.

  16. these tips are useful even for someone who does it in their free time. I use a schwinn discovery and always have water and money for subway in the states

  17. Can you do a "how to ride your bike for longer distances" as whenever I go on a bike ride, I only go a short way and get puffed out…. I'm new to it and only learnt how to ride not to long a go and need tips!

  18. Number 2 – Be VERY careful when out on long rides in the heat of summer. If you drink too much water, you may end up with a condition called hyponatraemia, wherein your body's salt content in the blood is abnormally low, less than 135 mEq/L. It happens all the time in places like the desert, when people visiting the area haven't taken the proper precautions. Hypotonic hyponatraemia is the most common form and will warrant a fast trip to the emergency room to empty the body of the excess fluid and introduce salts, usually with an intravenous of isotonic saline to restore the balance. A replenishment of potassium may also be needed.

    You will feel out of touch with reality, lethargic, nauseous, malaise, and may fade in an out of consciousness. You will behave like a drunk due to the excess fluid. It is NOT fun, so PLEASE use electrolyte mixes. These days we tend to overthink dehydration without considering the dangers of drinking too much water.

  19. How are you supposed to take enough food + tool and a spare inter tube without a bag? Maybe I should hire someone full time to follow me around with everything I need because I am too lazy to carry a bag with my stuff in…

  20. I once saw a new cyclists who came from mountain biking get a punctured front tube m without a spare tube so he whellied up the hill until we came to our local bike shop

  21. Make sure you take plenty of food, tools and a pump for long rides. But you can't use a tube bag…. lol.

  22. I started off by watching cyclist fails,
    Then I went onto angry cyclists.
    Then I went onto angry drivers.
    Then I went onto cycling safety.
    Then I went on eBay and got myself a bike tonight.
    Went and picked it up.
    Haven't been on a bike since I was 14, I'm 32 now.
    Going to spend the night watching videos.
    Tomorrow I shall buy myself a helmet, some lights and off I'll go to give London a hard time.
    If you happen to see a grown man riding like a rascal, please forgive him, he's just relearning how to ride a bike.
    The only thing that's scaring me is the London traffic, I'm a driver, so I know how much of an asshole we can be.

  23. Will I ever wear bike shorts? No way in hell. I didn't even wear them when I had a roadbike….. and I was doing 40km a day ave time of 50 min….. ya that was back in my mid teens. I just got back into riding in my 40's with a Marin (not a high end one, my road bike was a Sun Tour) I will wear a brain bucket mostly because I got older and realized that that thing on top of my neck is rather important. Now I just ride to work and around because I enjoy it I wear shorts and a t shirt with runners sometimes with a small pack. So in short all you "real" cyclists can laugh all you want…. I'm also old enough not to care what others think. I ride for me and not you.

  24. My bike is a hybrid I use for commuting and a bit of off road.

    I need my frame bag for those journeys where I don't need to carry anything other than essentials (spare tyre, phone, etc).

  25. Thank you for your video, I have been looking for information on bike riding. I am 63 years of age and over weight and stiff. lol I just purchased a bike and I'm learning how to ride all over again. I haven't been on a bike since I was thirteen or so and I'm having trouble learning again, especially with gears. Which gear should I be in for climbing hills, going down hills and of course on the straights. I will continue watching your video's and hopefully learning a lot before I hit the road, hopefully upright. lol Thanks again.

  26. Hey GCN, would like your opinion on hydration packs on road riding. There are a lot of hate on it, but I see far more advantage for it than the "non-fashionable" look.

    Here are some common arguments I found and my opinionson them, but of course I want CGN's and maybe do a video for it?

    1. It's hotter with a bladder.
    Ans: Depends on your specific bladder. Mine is well ventilated and light weight. Holds 2 liter, which I can easily hydrate out of. More hydrate = more water = lowering your overall body temperature.

    2. It's putting load on your back.
    Ans: 1L of water = 2.2 pounds. Net total: 4.4lbs for a 2 liter bladder, which gets lower as you ride. 4.4lb is 3% of a 145lb body weight. Rule of thumb for hiking is carry about 20% of your body weight before you risk your balance gets thrown off or put too much stress on your body. On a close to body bladder, the weight should be well distributed as well.

    3. It's not hard to use bottles.
    It's not, but it's simply easier to use bladder. I hydrate more out of bladder because it's more accessible in relative terms. Doesn't make bottles hard, just easier with bladder.

    4. Pros don't ride with bladders
    Ans: yeah because UCI BANNED hydration bladders in UCI races… part of that reason is because it provides an aerodynamic advantage, lower core temperature and reduce cardiac drift, thus providing significant "unfair advance" (based on Dean Golich on Colby Pearce's NA hour record). Remember when pros used to ride with "helmets" that are literally leathers strapped to their head? The pros did it, but was it a good idea?

    5. Bladders are for mountain bikers
    Is more popular in mountain biking, and part of that reason is because roadies are so bias against it. It's not made for mountain biking and mountain biking only, and have absolutely no reason not to be beneficial to roadies. Mountain bikers typically doesn't have supports from cars either or easy access to water when they are in remote locations, which makes bladder extra beneficial to them.

  27. I'm fairly new to road cycling but I've got a tube bag to do a small 27.5 mile sportive this coming weekend, all my stuff fits in perfectly so gonna keep it! Not bothered about aerodynamics just wanna finish it it one piece! If I enjoy it will do a bigger one next year so might ditch it then.

  28. what is wrong with a top tube bag? Or saddle bag , come to think of it. I like to ride with no bags, but it's great to be self sufficient sometimes, a bit of food and a extra layer or somewhere to pu a discarded one on a solo ride. stop when you want, go when you want. Stay comfortable. FREEDOM.

  29. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cyclists-other-short-cycling-stories/dp/1534839135 The Cyclist's Tale makes a great last minute Christmas gift. It's been getting some really good reviews.

  30. #TorqueBack

    Hey: you guys missed one! In the Southwest (in the United States) not riding with sealant is literally impossible. Don't take my word for it 😉

  31. Why is a saddle bag better? The weight's still on the bag, and with a tube bag you actually have easy access to it, especially with food. There's also usually a space for your phone on top and use maps with it (thereby not getting lost).

  32. Is this for new cyclist or new road cyclist. I watched several of yoir videos. You guys know about road cycling but saying not to have storage is probably the dumbest thing I heard. It would be dependent on what your bike is for. Most people are not racing and most need more than back pockets. If you do what I do like bike camping then panniers and back packs can be your friend. Even using one for a commute is better than nothing. Most people don't or can't wear $200 cycling cloths just to go to work. I won't touch on that most people also can't afford 14000 bicycles that only seem to work on short distances and flat roads.

    I do enjoy you're videos but seems like you all confuse cycling with bicycle racing too much.

  33. I keep my Topeak ninja pump inside my seat tube. keep the spare tube and Allen key and tyre levers inside my small saddle bag.

  34. a top tube bag is the only thing that could carry my car key, wallet, iphone 8 plus, snacks, home key, sunglasses with me without worrying it all falling off my back jersey pockets.

  35. I went for a 40 mile bike trip last summer and half way on the way back, I broke 4 spokes on my back tire. It was one spoke, then 2 and eventually 4. Lucky I made it back. Had to walk the bike the last 2 miles. Wonder if I should carry spare spokes next time.

  36. Oh yeah I ended up getting lost once, 50km ended up being 100km at the battery on my light went out so i had to put the flashligt on my phone on and stick it down the front of my pants.

  37. GCN Network is the BESTT! I have been taking their advice for the past couple years and have went from a Cat 3 to now racing in Cat 1! I even started a Youtube channel too to follow my progress and help others out. Would love for some support / feedback on my videos 🙂

  38. With some small tools & (mostly) a plan in advance you can attach a broken gear cable to something you can twist or move in a few seconds & re-tighten to a 14 sprocket for some extended flat bits & a 23 sprocket for some up hills. I did this 2 weeks ago.

  39. All of these are fine and logical , even obvious….
    But why “no frame bag”?

    I’ve got a little rack where the panniers will sit (for overnight trips) but have got a little bag that sits on top of that back rack. I can keep a towel and swimsuit for the mountain waterfalls and swimming holes, a lunch, first aid kit, spares, even a pump (ebike battery takes up that allotted space), and spare water bottle.

    So what’s wrong with that? Yes it adds a couple kg, but I’ve lost 15kg of body weight over the last year —-way way more significant a difference that the weight in the rack.

    Please explain

  40. Top tube bag is quite handy actually.. I can have my cellphone and wallet on it.. the rest of the items goes to backpocket, especially food

  41. I disagree on what you said about putting on a top tube bag. It is essential on long rides for carrying stuffs you need. I tour a lot and I need to be self sufficient on my rides so I carry important items that can’t fit in a small saddle bag. I guess it depends on when you are using them; not on a race or sportif, but for touring and commuting like I do, It’s a must have.

  42. Who not to use a top tube bag? Can carry the spares as the saddle bag plus you can have the phone on top like the Lezyne Smart Energy Caddy … Can peek at a satnav map, use for stats, easily change music..

  43. Big FU on not having a bag on the top tube, wouldn’t go out without one, far more convenient than doing contortions on the move to get something out the center back pocket.

  44. 3:05 : "If it's hot", what is he talking about?! The girl giving water? OK, I have a dirty mind sorry!

  45. Disagree about wearing underwear.
    I wear coolmax undies. Very thin, no stitching issues, designed for sports, tight fitting, deals effectively with sweat.
    2hr rides no chaffing or any probs.
    I then experimented and did a 2hr ride without them, and my ass and thighs were sticky and sweaty within the 1st hour. Will stick to wearing undies no matter what anyone says.

    Maybe one day manufacturers will address the shit design of current cycling shorts.

  46. Add to the list:
    1) GUYS: Not buying split seat. Your prostate will thank you.
    2) Not understanding your gears and spin. You can tell especially when a newbie hits a climb and suddenly almost topples over. Learn your gears and how to keep your spin going.
    3) Not getting your bike professionally fitted. It's worth the money.
    4) Feeling awkward the first week out and start fiddling with your pro-fitted adjustments. Hint, it's always awkward this first week. Give yourself time.
    5) Not Google mapping possible routes before going on them. There's nothing fun about biking on a 50mph road with no shoulder.
    6) Not doing leg weight training. It will increase your power dramatically.
    7) Not taking a rest week. It's not how hard you train, its how hard you rest that makes you better.
    8) Not wear sports sunglasses. Ever had a bug in your eye at 20mph? Not fun.
    9) Not eating (something healthy) immediately after big ride. Preferably some lean protein and carbs. This will help you recover much quicker.
    10) Taking it too hard to quick on a ride. Learn to pace yourself, don't burn yourself out on the first few miles.
    11) Not going at your own pace. The goal is improvement. Don't judge yourself on your average speed.

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