Bike Handling

Bike Handling

Cyclists need education and confidence to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the greenway. These tips will help you when riding your bicycle.

The following are some basic bike handling skills all bicyclists should know before riding.


A balanced, stable, and comfortable position on the bicycle is key to achieving good control and handling. First and foremost, ensure that you are riding a bicycle that fits you properly. To ensure a safer ride, visit a local bike shop to have a professional check your fit for the following:

  • Saddle, including height, fore/aft, and tilt

  • Handlebars, including stem length and handlebar height

  • Pedals, including cleats

Hand Placement

A major factor in your safety on a bicycle is a secure grip on the handlebars. Safe hand placement is key, so use your thumbs to grasp the bar and make sure your hands have a secure grip on the handlebars. But, don’t go overboard. Holding too tight will fatigue your hands, and locking your elbows will send shock through your arms and throughout your upper body.

Starting and Stopping

When you get onto your bicycle, first stand over the frame in front of the saddle and hold the brake levers so the bike won’t roll away from you. On a properly fitted bicycle, the first stroke on the pedal will get you moving and allow you to mount the saddle. Turn the pedal to the 2 o’clock position, let go of the brake, and push down on the pedal to start the bicycle. When the opposite pedal comes up, use your other foot for the second pedal stroke.

When preparing to stop, shift down to a low gear to slow. Just before you reach a complete stop, stand on one pedal and slide forward off the saddle, so you can place your free foot on the ground and lean the bicycle to one side. Then, get ready to start again by raising the other foot in its pedal into the 2 o’clock starting position.

Riding with One Hand

Make sure your bike is as stable as possible before taking a hand off the handlebars for any reason. Before you take one hand off the handlebar, move the gripping hand inwards, as close to the stem as possible. This technique will give you more control over the bike and make steering easier when riding with one hand.


The more precisely you can control your bicycle, the better your rides will be. Don’t tense up. For optimum bicycle control, relax while maintaining a secure grip on the handlebars and concentrate on making smooth motions when steering your bicycle.

If you see an obstacle in your path ahead, look forward, focus on the route around the obstacle, stay alert, and keep a view of the surrounding environment in your peripheral vision.