11 Things to Avoid Looking Like A Cycling Hubbard

Jan Poshenko
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1. Incorrect Bike Fit

You want to look like a professional cyclist, don’t you? You want to ride in comfort, while also saving the energy you need to hit your personal bests.

A bike is a very personal thing. And when it comes to cycling, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

That’s why it’s so crucial to find the right bicycle fit for your body. A professional bike fit is a must. A good fit makes for a comfortable ride – and a rider who can perform at their personal best. And that’s going to make an even bigger difference on your cycling performance.

2. Noisy Chain

Many chainrings are known for being noisy. If you hear grinding noises when you turn or a loud clink every time you engage, then you know this noise very well. It’s pretty annoying for the people around you, but most importantly, it’s hurting your drivetrain. It wears out your chainring and sprockets faster than it should.

Some noisy chainrings might be a sign that someone before you didn’t fully tighten things up. If you’ve just gotten this bike, then loosen everything and tighten it all again after it’s all done. A bike mechanic will know exactly how to do it.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, then you need to get a replacement. It may be very annoying, but this is a safety hazard and you shouldn’t wait around on this one.

3. Creaky Bottom Bracket

Trails are full of features, uneven surfaces, rocks, and roots. They’re tough on drive trains but the perfect place to work on your bottom bracket bearings. Bottom brackets are usually sealed shut for two reasons:

  • To extend the life of the bearings
  • To make life easier for mechanics

Back in the day, each wears part on a bike could be replaced. For some reason, Bottom Bracket bearings were the exception to this rule. The standard for replacing bearings was not universal and many manufacturers were not using the same part. Because of this, many bikes were rolling around with Bottom Bracket bearings that were shot and needed to be replaced. Now, because of Bottom Bracket standardization, parts are readily available and can be replaced for a reasonable cost.

4. Flat Pedals

While it’s fine to use flat pedals for rides under five miles and training sessions when you’re just getting into cycling, try not to use them for multi-day events or for any training sessions that are three or more hours long.

Why? Well, for one, you’re a lot less likely to fall off of a bike that’s equipped with clip pedals than one that’s got flat pedals.

Flat pedals also require you to maneuver your body around a lot more.

Because you’re trying to lift your feet off the pedals rather than just move your foot out of the way, you might end up exaggerating your motion and wobbling around on the bike.

This could lead to upper body soreness or even an injury.

5. No Saddle Bag

This is something that I see a lot in cycling, people carrying all sorts of things on their bikes: collapsible chairs, boxes of beer, coolers, and all sorts of bags.

With a good bike there's no reason to carry "luggage" on the bike. There are racks that can carry all kinds of things if you need to load up.

Here is a simple test. If you're traveling from point A to point B and could transfer everything you'd like to carry into a size and shape of a long suitcase, then you need a rack and a bag.

If you're just going to a local shop and will return the same way then you really don't need an extra bag. And if you do need a bag, make sure that it will fit on the bike you're using.

You want to be as aerodynamic as possible when you're riding. Anything dangling off the back of the bike is going to wind up slowing you down.

6. Using Rear Mirrors

Riding in the middle of the lane when cars are passing on your left is one way to look like a novice biking for sure. Cyclists always use proper hand signals when turning or changing lanes. Use rearview mirrors to ensure that both of your shoulders are visible to cars so that they know you are aware and are riding with correct cycling etiquette.

7. Using A TT Saddle

A saddle is one of the most important pieces of a bicycle, and there are so many specialized ones out there. The saddle that you use must be properly adjusted to prevent pain in the sitting area, but also to ensure that it is comfortable for you to ride on. It is important to remember that some cyclists feel pain in their sitting area, while others don’t, so there’s no guarantee that a saddle will fit you.

But it is still a smart move to try a saddle that is recommended to you by your cycling coach or friend. Be sure to give yourself a few weeks to try it out and see if you feel any discomfort before you make a complete switch.

It is also important to note that all cyclists have to learn to adapt to the saddle they’re currently using. If you are anticipating an activity in which you will be riding for a long distance, you might want to consider a wider saddle that is more suitable for long periods. Or if you plan to be riding on rough terrain, you might want to consider using a saddle that offers some suspension.

Hovering is another thing that cyclists tend to do while they are riding, especially when they’re in the middle of a competition. It's best if you avoid doing that.

8. Using Clip-on Aerobars

One of the big mistakes that cyclists make when purchasing clip-on aero bars is that they think they will make all the difference in their riding. While it’s true that clip-on aero bars come with several advantages, they will not “fix” you.

It will take a fair bit of getting used to clip-on aero bars. While you will find that they give you far greater flexibility in terms of where you place your hands, they’re not very forgiving if you’re not in the correct position.

One of the biggest advantages over normal bars is that you will have much more elbow room. You should feel more comfortable on your bike as your primary contact will be your arms rather than your body. This means that you shouldn’t be so cramped and distracted by your tight-fitting attire.

However, there is a real danger that if you’re not in the correct position, you’re going to hurt yourself.

9. Loose Bottles Cages

Bottles cages are designed to hold bottles. The reason people use them is that it makes it quicker and easier to drink water whilst on your bike. However, some riders choose to get off their bike and presumably run beside the bike whilst drinking their water.

This has the potential to go disastrously wrong for anyone involved. We don’t wish to be Debbie Downers, but the last thing you want is for the bottle to come out of the cage and hit another rider.

Another scenario to avoid is having your bottle fly out every time you go over a bump in the road. Again this may be embarrassing, but it is also dangerous to other riders and especially yourself.

10. Mounting Your Smart Phone

It is not safe to use your smartphone whilst on your bike so you should avoid that at any cost. The hands are meant for holding your handlebars.

11. Spoke Protectors in the Rear Wheel

These days, nearly all bike wheels come with a plastic protector in the rear, which is designed to stop the spoke from making contact with the tire. Ideally, this will prevent the spoke from taking the brunt of bumps. However, with this plastic protection in place, the wheel is unable to breathe, which causes a buildup of mud, grime, and water. The solution to this is to remove the plastic protectors.

12. Half Shifting

If the chain looks like it has lots of room in between the gears, then don’t go using that space not believing this is okay. The only time a half-shifting is okay is when entering into the highest gear and when descending downhill. It doesn’t matter whether you ride an automatic or a standard drivetrain; it’s not okay to use those upper gears.

13. Bearing Seals

It’s best to replace outer bearing shells and races frequently. You are going to have to access the rear brake and you must remove the wheel in order to do that. The best thing to do is to break the clamps of safety to avoid them from rotating if loosened. Keep all bearings away from strong detergents.