The 8 Biggest Cycling Mistakes (And Tips on How To Avoid Them)

People riding road bikes

Riding a bike is one of the easiest sports in the world – just hop on, push the pedals and you’re off! However, even though it looks so easy, many bikers make a lot of mistakes…

Good to know:

In my tips, I assume that your bike is in good condition and has regular tune ups. If that is not the case, you should have a bike shop or bike mechanic check it before you take your first trip,” says bike expert Gerhard Gulewicz, with an emphasis on safety.

Mountain biking

Mistake 1: You don’t wear a helmet

Do you know bikers who ride around with their helmet hanging from the handlebars? That doesn’t make much sense – anyone with a brain protects it. So, never make the mistake of riding without a helmet, no matter how short the trip may be.

Mistake 2: The saddle is too high or low

If you want to ride a bike, you should look at the height of the saddle. Follow these steps to check whether everything is set correctly:

  1. Put your bike upright.
  2. Stand up straight next to the bike, facing toward the front of the bike.
  3. Now check how high the saddle is. Ideally, it should be at your hip crest. If not, take a minute to move the saddle into a neutral riding position: the saddle should be level and pointing toward the front, not tilted up or down.
  4. The position of the saddle should feel comfortable.

Man on a bike without a helmet

Mistake 3: The handlebars are too high or low

Make sure that you adjust the saddle first and then the handlebars. If you are a beginner, the difference between the height of the seat and the handlebars can be one to two centimeters. After a few trips you will get used to this position, then you can move the handlebars down a bit. “Don’t make the mistake of moving the seat up and keeping the handlebars in the same position,” says Gerhard Gulewicz.

Mistake 4: You’re wearing the wrong clothes

Part of enjoying a good bike ride is wearing the right clothes. Well-padded biking pants make sense, but the right bike shirt has a big advantage, too. The special fibers wick the sweat away from your body.

Mistake 5: You’re riding the wrong bike

City bikes, trekking bikes, mountain bikes: there are a lot of different bikes to choose from. So, before you buy, think about how and where you want to ride your bike and get advice from a bike shop about the size of the frame.

Mistake 6: You’re not wearing cycling sunglasses

High quality sunglasses are not just to protect your eyes from UV rays. They will also keep your eyes from watering, like when you’re on a fast downhill. Plus, glasses will prevent insects and dust from landing in your eyes.

Did you know?

Good cycling glasses also protect you if you fall. The lenses are shatterproof, which provides better protection for your eyes.

Mistake 7: You’re riding without biking gloves

Gloves are not a must – unlike helmets – but it still makes sense to wear them. They will protect you if you fall, and you’ll have a better grip on your handlebars when you work up a sweat.

Mistake 8: You overdo it

Cycling has a lot of benefits. But just like with other sports, it’s all about the right intensity. Don’t overdo it on your first ride – pace yourself.




Gerhard Gulewicz Gerhard Gulewicz has been participating in the Race Across America bicycle race for over a decade. The race stretches from the West Coast to the East Coast of the USA. In 2014, the career of the extreme athlete was part of the documentary film “Attention – A Life in Extremes.” View all posts by Gerhard Gulewicz »