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13 Things You Should Know About Cycling

Riding a bike is an easy and fun way to get in shape.

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Kids Can Start Early

Skip training wheels and start your toddler on a balance bike at two or three years old. Balance bikes don’t have pedals, so kids push themselves around by their feet.

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Fit Matters

Find the perfect fit. Men should be able to stand over the top tube with five centimetres of clearance. Women riding bikes with dropped top tubes should be able to reach the ground with their toes while sitting on the seat.

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Fixed-Gear Bikes Are Gaining in Popularity

Want a trendy ride? Get a fixie, a single-speed bike on which the rear cog is attached to the rear wheel, so there’s no coasting. With one gear to take care of, they’re easy to maintain and lighter to carry.

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The Rules of the Road Apply

If you’re riding in traffic, make eye contact with drivers when possible to ensure they know you’re there. Give parked cars a wide berth, watching for opening doors. If there’s a choice between taking up the lane and getting doored, always choose the lane.

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There’s an Array of Helmets Out There

There are just as many helmets as bike types. Road and mountain helmets are vented-comfortable for longer, sweatier rides.

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Going Clipless Takes Practice

If you get clipless shoes and pedals-a misnomer, since the shoes have cleats that clip into the pedals-practise snapping in and out in a parking lot first. Expect to fall occasionally before you get used to clipping in while pedalling.

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A Yearly Tune-Up Is a Must

A tune-up is like a safety inspection for your bike. Mechanics will adjust your brakes, shifters and derailleurs, and true your wheels. Check in at least once a year, and immediately following any crash.

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Biking to Work Is Great For Your Body

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that active transportation, including cycling, is more effective exercise than regular gym workouts. People tend to bail on the gym, but there’s no skipping work.

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The Right Gear Makes a Difference

You don’t need a spandex getup, but cycle-specific clothing can help. Levi’s makes commuter jeans with heavier denim and a reinforced seat area. And padded cycling shorts will save your butt on longer rides.

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You Can Explore the Unbeaten Path

Find local paths by asking staff at community bike shops about routes that match your ability, and explore trails at national and provincial parks. Before heading out, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

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You Can Do More With Your Bike

Bike gear can make your ride a more useful steed. Stuff your panniers with groceries. Fenders will keep your pants clean through puddles. You can even charge your phone with pedal power using the EcoXPower Device Charger.

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A Little Competition Never Hurt

Challenge yourself by trying group races. Work yourself up to a century ride of 100 kilometres, often sponsored by a cycling club.

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Public Transport Is Still an Option

Buses in many Canadian cities have bike racks, and cyclists can take their rides on the subway during off-peak hours. So don’t worry if you venture too far from home-you can hitch back.