Bike Efficiency

scenicUse lower gears

  • Most beginning cyclists push too big a gear; down shift and spin a smaller gear
  • Low cadence will cause you to fatigue faster and might cause knee pain
  • Try to spin about 90 rpms; you'll have more energy and get a better workout

No bull

  • When stopped, don't push off the ground to get started
  • Leave one pedal in the two o'clock position; push down when you are ready to go
  • You'll have enough momentum to balance and put your other foot on the pedal


  • You should be comfortable while you ride
  • Relax while you ride; it takes energy to grip the handlebar in fear
  • Change hand positions often, slightly bend your elbows, stretch your neck while riding

Don't rock the boat

  • Make sure that your saddle (the seat) height is adjusted properly
  • Too high and your hips rock; too low causes knee pain
  • You should have a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke

Skip the soft shoes

  • Soft-soled shoes absorb pedaling energy and slow you down
  • Stiff-soled cycling shoes help you transfer more energy to forward motion
  • Toe clips and clipless pedals attach your foot to the pedal, which increases efficiency

Red light, green light

  • Restarting from a stop uses more energy than slowing and not stopping
  • Time it so that you hit the intersection on green so you don't have to stop
  • Make sure that you are aware of how your actions affect other vehicles around you

Avoid the wall

  • Listen to your body while you ride to avoid hitting the wall of exhaustion
  • Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty to avoid fatigue
  • If you experience a lightheaded feeling, get off the bike and get some fluids