Intro to Biking

It gets easier, we promise. Don't worry; you are ready now. Let's ride.

 

Getting Started

First, you'll need a bike. Here's some great advice on selecting a bike. You can also stop by our community workshop during open hours and see what we have in stock. 

You'll also need some essential accessories: a lock (see our advice on locks here), a set of front and rear lights, and a helmet. 

Non-essential accessories that could make your ride easier include a bag of some sort to stow your air pump, multi-tool, cellphone, cash, etc., and a waterbottle and waterbottle holder.


ABC Quick Check

Always give your bicycle a once-over before you begin a ride. Following this easy-to-remember checklist will help ensure that you arrive at your destination safely.

  • A - Air. Make sure tires are properly inflated (and stay that way).
  • B - Brakes. Give them a squeeze while the bike is moving to ensure they're not too loose and that you can stop the bike quickly, nor too tight and rubbing against the rim.
  • C - Chain/Crank. The chain should be taught, lubricated and able to change gears without any trouble. The crank should rotate smoothly all the way around. Give the crank arms (where the pedals attach to the bike) a push and pull toward and away from the bike. They shouldn't be loose whatsoever.
  • Quick. Check any quick release levers to make sure they're tight and pointed in the direction of the frame (not pointed forward or downward).
  • Check. Look over the entire bike and make sure that nothing is loose, broken or out of place.


Selecting Your Route

Our maps feature is coming soon! In the meantime, here are a few great tools for selecting a route: 

  • Google Maps (select "bike" for your mode)
  • Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Center's Bike Map


Bicycle Rules of the Road

Bicyclists are required to follow the same road rules as cars. This is important for your personal safety. A major concern many bike commuters have is the potential dangers of riding in traffic. Cyclists who learn and obey the rules of the road have 80% fewer collisions than those who do not. Here are essential safety tips:

  • Ride on the right. Riding against traffic is a major cause of bicycle accidents.

  • Be predictable. Avoid sudden swerves and stops.

  • Be visible. Wear bright, reflective clothing. Use lights and reflectors in low-light conditions.

  • Follow and obey signs, signals, and pavement markings.

  • Signal when you are turning or stopping. Look over your left shoulder for traffic before you make a move. This also signals motorists.

  • Yield to pedestrians.

  • Watch for road hazards such as broken glass, gravel, and potholes.

  • Position yourself appropriately. On wide roads, ride 3-4 feet to the right of cars in the traffic lane; on narrow roads, stay just inside the traffic lane so vehicles must partly cross the middle line to pass. (This removes the temptation to squeeze by you.)

  • For turns, work your way into the proper lane 150 feet early; if you can’t get in by 40 to 50 feet before the turn, go straight and double back. Stay at least a foot away from the curbs, where debris accumulates. Always allow enough room for a car door to open when passing parked vehicles, and never weave in and out of traffic between parked cars.

  • Ride defensively and respectfully. Watch for people who may not be looking for you, and be courteous to other road users.


Find Out More

A complete list of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws as it pertains to bicyclists can be found by visiting  the Governor Traffic Safety Committee’s website.

The best way to learn how to ride safely and gain confidence is to learn from others! Check out our event calendar for group rides and events.