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Before you go out on your first ride, or if you're just getting back into cycling, we have some important tips to help make sure you're ready for a fun and safe riding experience.

Picking the right size bike

It doesn’t matter how much the bike costs or how flashy it is—if it doesn’t fit properly, it won’t be fun to ride. Too large, and the bike will be hard to handle as you stretch to reach the handlebar. Too small, and you could end up banging your knees on the handlebar as you pedal. Your comfort and safety could be compromised, so it's vital to get the size right.

The chart below offers a general idea of which size is correct for your height. There are some additional factors to consider such as arm length and inseam—the distance between your groin and the ground—so you will see some overlap in the chart.

Sizing chart for bikes

Additionally, some bike components come in different sizes, depending on the bike size, so they fit differently. For example, the crank arm length varies between "M" sized bikes and "L" sized bikes, thus affecting pedalling efficiency. The same goes for stem and seatpost length.

If you are unsure which size is most suitable for you, check with an expert fit technician at a local authorised Giant retailer.

After you have determined the right frame size, the next step is adjusting saddle height, fore-aft position, and angle. Proper saddle position is key to maximising comfort and performance. It also reduces the risk of injuries.

Getting ready for your ride

When getting ready to ride, make sure you know how to keep your bike in top condition. This will help the components last longer and minimise expensive repairs in the long run. Below are five things to check before every ride.

Tyres

Recommended tyre pressure varies depending on factors such as riding surface, tyre width and rider weight. For example, sport-level bikes tend to use wider tyres that are more suitable for lower tyre pressures. However, heavier riders should increase tyre pressure slightly. Overall, research has shown that a lower tyre pressure can improve comfort and efficiency, as obstacles are rolled over more easily.

In any case, do not exceed the maximum pressure suggested on the tyre. And to lower the risk of puncture, clean the surface of the tyre and remove foreign objects. If you spot a significant cut, change the tyre for a safe ride.

Quick Release or Through Axle

The wheels on your bike are attached using a quick release skewer or a thru-axle. These mechanisms make it easy to remove or install a wheel, but it is important to check that they are tight and secured.

If the quick release is too loose, open the lever completely, hold the quick release nut with one hand and turn the lever with the other hand to tighten. Then, try to close the quick release lever again. The ideal lock position is achieved when you need to apply some force to close the lever.

Brakes

Brakes should be checked regularly. Ensure that all the components are properly positioned and don’t show any irregularities in their alignment. Over time, disc brakes tend to lose some of their effectiveness, mostly because of worn pads. This can lead to poor braking performance, so it’s important to remove the wheel and inspect the pads. If they appear worn, remove them from the callipers and replace them.

Lastly, check that the brake rotors are firmly attached to the wheels and that they don’t show any sign of damage such as gouges or warping. If they do show signs of damage, the rotors should be changed.

Chain

To ensure your bike runs smoothly and to extend the life of the drivetrain, you should always keep the chain clean and lubricated. A quick and easy way to do this is to hold the chain in your hand with a clean rag and spin the cranks backward a few times to wipe the chain clean.

Once the chain is clean, you can apply lubricant as needed. Don’t use too much lubricant, as that can make it easier for the chain to pick up dirt.

Bolts

Routinely check all bolts to ensure that your parts are safe and secure. Otherwise, you could experience several problems. For example, a loose stem bolt could cause you to lose control, and a loose saddle clamp bolt might cause your saddle to slip out of the proper position. Always ensure that if you're tightening a bolt, that the recommended torque rating is adhered to.

Beyond simple bike maintenance, there are other steps you can take to make sure you're ready to ride. These tips can make your cycling experience more enjoyable and comfortable.

Clothes

The right clothing can help you feel comfortable on your bike. As with any exercise, you will likely sweat—so cotton clothing is not ideal. Instead, you can wear a base layer, in cold or hot weather, to keep your skin dry and the temperature stable. You can then wear a cycling-specific jersey over the base layer for comfort and performance.

A proper pair of padded bib shorts will also improve your comfort. Make sure you try a few models to find your ideal fit.

Lastly, a good pair of cycling-specific eyewear will protect you from sun, wind and other potential hazards including dirt and bugs.

Shoes

Choosing the right cycling shoes depends on your pedals. If you ride with flat pedals, you don’t necessarily need cycling shoes, but we still recommend shoes with a stiffer sole to help transfer more power to the pedals.

If you ride with clipless pedals, you'll need cycling shoes and cleats to match the pedals. Clipless pedals improve your pedalling efficiency and give you a close, connected feel on the bike.

Gear and Accessories

You don’t always need to buy a lot of equipment to start riding. You should focus on the essential gear first and then upgrade later.

A helmet, lock, and lights should be your initial investments. There are a lot of options out there, but it mostly depends on personal preferences. If you want to be able to repair tyres on your own, you should also consider buying tyre levers, a spare tube, a mini pump or CO2 inflator, and a patch kit.

Off-Bike Exercises

Strengthening your core muscles is a great way to improve your cycling performance and decrease fatigue. A strong core is essential for powerful pedalling and stabilizing your body in the saddle.

Weight training can help you increase your power output. There are exercises you can practice at the gym, but it is also possible to train your legs at home without equipment. Body weight squats are one example.