Basic cycling rookie mistakes

There’s probably a thread somewhere, sorry if I didn’t find it.

Anyway, I’m starting, after 5 years of cycling here and there on my entry level road bike, to really inform myself and simply learn about the sport.

And I realize that a lot of things simply don’t come naturally, and you have to learn them. They seem obvious to the seasoned cyclist, but not to newcomers such as myself.

For example, I just learned that you aren’t supposed to wear underwear under your cycling shorts ! It’s probably going to save my (crotch) life.

Are there any other basic mistakes you did when you first started ?


probably the most basic change for me is to actually eat and drink whilst riding. Taking in way more than you initially would think is necessary.


I learned about isotonic drinks a few weeks ago. I never really go on long rides ( nothing more than 90 minutes), but that’s about to change !

Let’s see, a few basic ones from my nascent days a couple decades ago:

  • Check your QR skewers before every ride. (Original edit: Never never never use a trainer skewer on the road - this is a controversial take as you will see. It may well be completely OK to do this. I never will again.)
  • Always wear gloves on your outdoor rides. Even a small tip over can cause some real damage to bare hands.
  • Never ride with your head down. That’s when unmarked railroad tracks appear.

Oh ?

I use my trainer skewer on the road all the time…I actually researched that and it seemed to be ok ?

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Look up before you look down.

If you think you’re getting faster its probably just a tailwind that will destroy you on the way back.

You will love and hate tubeless.


Unclip BEFORE you come to a stop at an intersection.


Me too, unless it’s a race I never change it

That was my biggest fear when I switched to automatic.

Needless to say, I fell a couple of times and felt very stupid doing so, eventhough only rabbits wittnessed it

change to an easier gear before you stop at the intersection, you can pedal with one leg when you miss clipping in.


Watch out for curbs, specially if you are doing a wo. You never know when the road will go from 2 lanes to 1. Or you may know, but forget twice. You will go down hard if you hit one. Not that i know from experience or anything. :man_shrugging:

Try to learn some of the basics of maintenance. When you’re out on your own the broom wagon should be a last resort (I had to call once for a broken rear skewer). If you’re with a group, then they’ll probably expect you to fix your own flats or mechanicals, or at least show a bit of willing.

Carry your own spares and tools.


When putting a tyre back on, make sure the bead of the tyre is in the center and not the lip of the rim. It might seem like it needs to be on the lip, but it will seat when you inflate the tube.

This saved me so much time and hand pain…


very much still in the process of teaching myself this one, and definitely something i’d say is the most important to me as a newbie cyclist. i’m awful at eating and drinking whilst exercising but it’s the difference between trash miles and actual training. i’ve developed a taste for dates whilst on the move and a flapjack during a couple of minutes pit stop :slight_smile:

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Don’t try to make up for lost time by riding as much, or as hard as your more experienced friends. Progressive training works best. Saddle bags on mountain bikes (or gravel) don’t work well. Shaving your legs isn’t necessary. Always bring more food than you think you’ll need. Learn to change a flat with your on-bike tools, and attach as many to your bike as possible to avoid forgetting them, or your spare tube. Don’t surge on group road rides. Don’t chase gains with equipment upgrades, instead focus on improving your skills or fitness.

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Here is my top 10 list of things that I learned the hard way

  1. yes no underwear under bike shorts

  2. always pump up your tires before every ride (tubes) to reduce pinch flats

  3. eat and drink throughout the ride (stop if you have to buy more at gas stations) - a Monster in car-park before the ride will not sustain you for 50 miles - it does however fuel your tears when you can no longer pedal

  4. make sure your skewers are tights when putting wheels on at the car-park

  5. don’t lay wheels down behind your car when you leave the car-park

  6. put the garage opener in your glove box if your bike is on top of your car

  7. buy some cheap gas station sun glasses to leave in the car for the day you forget your nice pair

  8. always put your gloves, helmet and shoes together - less likely to forget the bunch

  9. don’t ride through red lights or stop signs - ride perdictibley for cars

  10. wave at all cyclists - even if they don’t awknowledge you - we are all family - even the a$$clowns

11. somedays you wil be the hammer - most days you will be the nail


Me too.

In fact, I forgot to change out my trainer skewer, packed up my bike and took it to France (from the US). Didn’t even think twice about getting a new skewer: left the trainer skewer on and rode 1200km. No issues.

I do as well and dont see the difference in them. They all seem to be made of the same material and in the same fashion

Anything you leave to do at the last minute…will not get done.

Too often forget to start my heart monitor

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ah, yes. A potentially very expensive lesson to learn.

If im not mistaken, every trainer that i have had that have come with skewers, have told me not to use while riding outdoors. :man_shrugging:

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