Introduction: How to Bike Quickly!

Picture of How to Bike Quickly!

Hello and welcome to my first instructable! This is a brief instructable that I created to help others bike quickly. You don't need a fancy bike, spandex (ew), or anything besides your normal every day clothes to bike quickly!

Step 1: Preparing Your Bike...

Picture of Preparing Your Bike...

Some people may find biking in jeans difficult, and if you seriously can't, then don't. I just wear a regular t-shirt with shorts. You don't even need to bike every day!

Alwayts make sure to get a tune-up every once in a while. Lie your bike down on its side. Spin both wheels, and make sure there is no scraping sound. This means your brakes are too tight, which may slow you down significantly. Also oil your bike occasionally, you don't need to do it that much. DO NOT USE WD-40 ON YOUR BIKE CHAIN!!! THAT WILL DAMAGE IT!!! Just buy a small bottle of bike oil from a local shop.

Ok, now that's over with.

Step 2: Clothes to Wear!

Picture of Clothes to Wear!

If you feel comfortable biking in it, wear it while biking! Make sure you wear good shoes!

Step 3: Biking!

Picture of Biking!

The key to biking quickly is...


Do not coast. Pedal! Even when you are going down hills, PEDAL!

Ok, I hope that was emphasized enough.

Also, bike at least a few days a week. If you don't have a gear bike (I hope you do), get one. If you are pedaling and your speed is not increasing, get a bike with more gears. I recommend a 21 speed bike, if not more. Use the highest gear whenever possible, even when going up hills. This is difficult to achieve, but with practice, biking quickly up steep hills becomes much easier. Also, bike using a route that gives you time to pick up speed before going up hills. But when biking fast, remember to brake! I know when speeding down a hill at 35 mph, you don't want to stop at the stop sign or traffic light ahead. But you could get seriously injured if a car is coming, or lose serious cash if a cop is near. Also, always bike on the right side of the road (in the U.S.) to best avoid collisions. To increase speed before going up a hill, stand up on your bike at your highest speed. This allows you to bike easily up steep hills. Also, I've done some tests with some of my friends. We noted that the higher the seat, the faster you bike (well, as long as you can still touch the ground). A good height is to have your feet just touching the ground. This is crucial when you are stopped at a red light or at a stop sign. It is good to pedal with the balls of your feet, also. Don't pedal with your heels. I know it seems difficult to ride up hills on high gears, but with practice, it increases the speed greatly.

The image below is of my bike. Well, that's not my bike, but it is the same type and all. A good bike at not a bad price, the cost was under $300.

Step 4: Thank You!

Thank you! I hope you enjoyed my first instructable! Remember to practice! If you follow these steps, you will achieve!

Please vote for this in the bike contest!

Images courtesy of Google.


wobbler (author)2013-07-20

Tyres are important. Put on narrower tyres, the narrower the better. Unless you're doing some rough off-road, super fat tyres just cause excess drag. Narrower tyres need to be pumped up to a higher pressure and have much less rolling resistance but are also less comfortable as they give a slightly harder ride. For normal road use, go with the narrowest tyres your rims will take.

Also, on cheap bikes which are designed for easy cycling, the top gear isn't fast enough which means either putting on a larger front chainwheel or a smaller rear socket or buying a bike with bigger wheels.

Also, don't buy a bike with suspension if you don't need it. It only adds weight and saps away energy if all you're doing is riding roads. Buy a bike that is appropriate to your riding, not one that's cheap, chainstore heavy or fashionable and get it set-up properly for you.

Yard Sale Dale (author)2011-11-27

Actually, seat height relative to "your feet touching the ground" is irrelevant. seat height in relation to bottom bracket height is more informative. Mountain bikes (esp suspension bikes) and true track bikes, will have high bottom brackets to permit cornering at speed and prevent obstacle collisions.

nikdunndh (author)Yard Sale Dale2011-12-11

yo dude just like to point out that the nicer the bike the lower the bb will be, for example my knona operator supreme, i have a super low bottom bracket because the center of gravity is lower throu corners. its like the same idea as a "athletic stance" when you play other sports like volley ball for example a lower centre of gravity is more stable. how ever in some bike (dirt jumpers) ar slightly higher bb's and not nearly as long of a chainstay, this allows more pop off lips as well as manuals easier and more reactive. also you will see rise bars like bmx bars and dirt jumpers that nimbles up the front end more dh riders are starting up high bars now also.

nikdunndh (author)nikdunndh2011-12-11

also with my dirt jump bike i have 1 gear but can outbike most people, except road bikers becayse their animals, also my 9,000$ bike has verry little gears you dont need a big selection just how to use a small selection properly. cheers eh broh

yonutzky (author)2010-11-21

You have a lot to learn about biking. Here is a link to a pedaling tehnique:

The highest gear is not always the best. For example, you start off in a car in first gear because you have more power (at a highh RPM). You don't start off in 3dr or 5th gear because you can't get enough power at such a low speed. I'v passed a cyclist many a time only because I was "spinning" and the other one was "pounding a big gear". It's also more efficient energy-wise. Also, getting out of the saddle increases your heart rate by about 8%, which means you get tired faster.

Another important thing is nutrition and hydration. On rides longer than an hour it's good to consome about half a quart to a quart of liquid and about 300 to 350 Kcal/hour, because through pedaling constantly you glycogen stores run out (in about an hour) and then you can start to feel light headded, dizzy, can't focus well etc. This is called the "bonk" in cycling. It can be even worse, depending on your output.

Here' a link to a professionally studied way to fit a road bike to one's body.

Knowing things like these have done me tons of good in my cycling technique.

One the bike I use clipless pedals (Shimano SPD sh 50-52) and Shimano SPD shoes rigid soles sre best for hardcore riding (no walking. They're worse than high heels). I would not go back to ordinary pedals for anything now! I love these.

You might find it helpfull, also, to google heart rate (HR) zones.

Have a great ride,

yonutzky (author)yonutzky2010-11-21

killerjackalope (author)2008-05-07

Eh okish 'ible, then again I hurtle around like a lunatic... I have a giant aswell... Not bad bikes... It could be worth mentioning more in to pedalling technique and using foresight, by looking ahead and seeing that the lights are red but have been for a bit you can slow down and by the time you get there they've changed and you have more momentum to bring you on...

shooby (author)killerjackalope2008-05-08

Right. When approaching a stop light, never come to a complete stop until it's absolutely necessary. Just slow enough that at the last minute you can come to a complete stop if the light doesn't change to green in time. If you time it right, you'll always beat cars off a red light, and be able to cycle ahead of the traffic, way safer and less stressful.

freakmonkey (author)shooby2008-05-21

i do this when i'm in a car too.

Swert (author)freakmonkey2008-05-24

I HATE it when people roll through stop signs in cars. You do not know how many times I have almost gotten seriously injured because somebody is in so much of a hurry that they can't take the extra five seconds to completely stop and make sure there isn't anybody, who actually has the right of way over them, that would get hit. So the morale of the story is, do what the stop sign says "Stop". It doesn't say "Roll through the stop sign and ignore that cyclist".

yonutzky (author)Swert2010-11-21

Slight Tap On Pedal is what STOP means for some :))

freakmonkey (author)Swert2008-05-25

I don't roll through stop signs, i hate that too. It's illegal. That's not what shooby said, "When approaching a stop light, never come to a complete stop until it's absolutely necessary. Just slow enough that at the last minute you can come to a complete stop if the light doesn't change to green in time." it only says not to stop at green lights. Just coast up to red lights and stop if you didn't time it right and it's still red when you get there.

Swert (author)freakmonkey2008-05-25

OK, sorry, thats just a huge pet peve of mine.

killerjackalope (author)shooby2008-05-08

Indubitably... It amkes all the difference, for both energy and for time keeping... Also it's fun to pass the cars on an amber light and have the warm fuzzy feeling of victory...

Beating a land rover over a hill is also a fuzzy feeling.

yoitspoe (author)killerjackalope2008-05-08

ya i agree. thats fun

jmshnsy (author)2008-05-09

I’m curious about this conspiricy against WD40. I am in total agreement that it is not the best thing to put on your bike chain. However if USED WELL it is far better than a specific chain lube USED BADLY, and will certainly not damage your chain!

VRAndy (author)jmshnsy2010-04-08

WD40 is primarily sold as a solvent and a degreaser.

Basically, if you DON'T want something to be greasy you can spray some WD40 on it.  It will dissolve the grease, and the WD40 itself will come off easily. (A lot of it will evaporate!)

Because WD40 is itself an oil, it's also handy for things you need to be temporarily oiled up. (A stuck bolt, for example.)

It's absolutely not to be used on things that are supposed to *stay greasy* like a bike chain. 

So, To sum up :  it won't dirrectly damage the chain, but it will remove any existing grease and dry up far too fast.

glorybe (author)VRAndy2010-08-08

Yes, and the further issue is that it is impossible to get grease into the pins and between the plates of a chain. The last thing one wants to do is drive grease out of those locations. One thing that motorcycles taught us was that a chain that runs in a leak proof enclosure that keeps dirt out and an oil bath on the chain at all times makes for a chain that lasts seemingly forever.

rock it (author)jmshnsy2008-05-31

WD-40 is not suitable for bike chains, it'll mainly degrease it and if that is your purpose, there are better cleaners out there. Although it works as a light lube on things like hinges, there is a reason that bike lube companies exist. Google for White Lightning, Tri-Flow or Finish Line (among others). Not really sure how one could use a chain lube badly, you apply it lightly while cycling the drivetrain and then forget about it...

Hellchild (author)rock it2010-04-06

I use WD-40 and my chain works better than it was before, its really quiet, and works like it was new. so Yeah.

Esmagamus (author)rock it2008-08-07

Bike lube? I mostly use grease, to keep dirt away from my precious bearings. Bike grease? I use industrial grease that says in the can "for heavily overloaded mechanisms".

sharlston (author)Esmagamus2009-08-13

i use mobil 1 f1 grease that they use on f1 karts,heavily used machinery its really good

jmshnsy (author)rock it2008-06-01

On what evidence do you suggest that wd-40 will "mainly degrease"?

Chain lubrication really is a controversial topic among bike mechanics, if you really are interested this is a good place to start looking and one well qualified opinion.

branded chainlube will sometimes be your best option but non bike specific lubes can also do a fine job, depending on the conditions

rock it (author)jmshnsy2008-06-01

because it's mainly a solvent?

solvent a simple Google search of wd40 and bike will yield much better information than your link

jmshnsy (author)rock it2008-06-02

I apologise if I wasn't clear as to the purpose of the link attached to my last comment. It has no direct relevance to WD-40, but was intended to demonstrate the fact that there is at least one way to use chain lube badly.
However I must take issue with your use of the word better. A google search will give you more information, but unless we can digest a large amount of sometimes conflicting detail, and then verify the sources from where it comes, then a short, clear article from Jobst Brandt, one of the most respected and best qualified writers on bicycle mechanics is clearly superior.

The main ingredient of WD-40 is solvent, although I am not sure that we can deduce from that that it "mainly degreases" any more than we can take the fact that an espresso has water as its main ingredient and then deduce that it will mainly hydrate the drinker.

The solvent will serve to degrease & clean but will also carry the lubricant between the individual chain parts (where it is needed).

If WD-40 is sprayed on to a dry surface it will leave a significant oily, lubricating residue, in this case it has not acted in any way as a degreaser. If it is sprayed on to a very oily surface the net effect may be slightly less oil, but I would suggest that is no bad thing when applied to a cycle chain.

I am a trained, qualified & experienced bike mechanic, however I have no qualification whatever regarding chemistry, and so when talking about WD-40 or other lubes I put forward these comments as loosely held opinion and points for discussion, please don't take them as gospel.

BBBB3 (author)jmshnsy2008-06-17

I just use what works in my 35 years of riding bikes and rollerskating. WD-40 works for chains, for the fact a chain is exposed to dirt and WD-40 will clean and degrease and chain (by washing away dirt) and leave an lubricant on the chain. I personally prefer to wash and degrease the chain and put a good oil for chains. I like Tri-flow for bearons in skates, but for bikes a good waterproof bike grease packed to keep the dirt out. I haven't tried the chain wax yet.

narindergautam (author)BBBB32008-08-26

how will it work

BBBB3 (author)narindergautam2008-08-31

If you are talking about chain wax. Its a paraffin wax with sometimes with other lubricants. You remove the old lubricant on the chain. (can be done by boiling the chain.) Take the dry and unlibericated chain and put it in a hot pot of the wax. After it has soaked for a few minutes remove and let cool. Replace on the bike. The extra wax will flake off. The only advantages I see is it doesn't attract dirt and wont get you greasey. BB

volund (author)rock it2008-06-01

Tri-flow ftw :D

RandomCake (author)2010-08-08

Not sure I agree with the riding in the highest gear all the time, riding in a higher gear means slower acceleration, also trying to start off from stationary in a high gear risks the chain slipping, and then there is also that riding in higher gears all the time will increase wear on those gears, leaving you with half your gears worn out, and half used... I find that a more balanced use of gears gives the best overall speed!

ll.13 (author)2008-05-08

Cadence also comes into it, -Speed of how fast your feet go round too fast or too slow, you need to choose a gear suited to the terrain, (so your feet are spinning around crazily, and you're having trouble pedalling, and when your feet not going fast enough, it takes more effort to pedal) -And if you really want to get going faster try out a road bike (old second-hand 1980's type are really good!) or a "courier" bike, like a road bike, but more up-right like a mountain bike.

extremegtafan (author)ll.132010-07-14

I think I have a courier bike. It looks just like a mountain bike, except it has narrow tires on it. I loved that thing- it was fast and comfortable. It had great brakes! That thing was real dependable, and I never really had much trouble with it. Then one day some moron was chasing me through the parking lot, and since they were on foot, they had a faster start than I did. I almost escaped, but they threw their keychain into my chain and bent my dérailleur to pieces. I never could get it straight again... After that I was left with only four low gears. Not much fun to pedal extremely fast and go 7 miles an hour.

crazyg (author)2010-05-25

back when i was cabable of riding bikes enerjetically, iused wd to blast old crud off, then lots of axle grease scrubbed on with toothbrush,a dirty greasy chain is a happy chain,i used this method on all moving parts and some that didnt but wanted to rust, mum used to grumble about the ripped black oily inside right calf of my jeans but years later now i primarelly drive she still grumbles anyway!

sharlston (author)2009-08-13

please rely is mobil 1 synthetic lubricant anygood for bikes becuase ive got 7 bottles of it also is mobil1 grease good its in like a silicone tube and its thick and blue? i really apresiatte your time

dollardude (author)2009-06-27

i dont wear long pants because once it go jammed in the cogs and ruined $100 pants (dont wear em)

Pasketti (author)2008-05-08

You may or may not need the bike shorts. I started commuting by bike wearing regular shorts, and after a week I had some really bad chafing in places you really don't want to be chafed. So I got the spandex shorts, and life's been good.

Gamer917 (author)Pasketti2009-03-10

i know how you feel

Esmagamus (author)Pasketti2008-08-07

That's probably because of that strange liner. Wear different underwear. I've always cycled with jeans, and saved a lot of scuffs.

RaynoGernsback (author)2008-08-22

It's not going fast that's difficult, it's stopping. On my daily commute (both on the way to college and work), I am lucky enough to go down an incredibly steep, really long hill along by a couple of schools- so the traffic is either still or non-existant. One day, i'm late and in a rush so i'm flooring it. Then some dozy parent in a Lexus 4x4 (you know who you are, I got your registration number!) decides to pull out without indicating, forcing me into an emergency stop. After all, it's a bike, how fast can it be going? That wouldn't have been so bad, except the urgency and speed were so high, and the amount of weight in my panniers so great, that I ended up bursting my tires and seriously scuffing my paintwork. So, the moral is don't go flat out down hills.

davethescubarock (author)2008-05-10

You shouldnt use WD40 on bike chains because they often can strip off any lubricants that are already there, and possibly leave you with only WD40 on the chain. i always use grease on my chain rather than WD40, because it lasts so much longer.

You probably don't need to put any lubricant. It really doesn't makes a significant difference on friction and atracts dirt.

jmshnsy (author)davethescubarock2008-05-10

Yes, if your chain is already well lubed WD-40 will remove the (arguably superior) lubricant that you have on your chain. However if your chain were already well lubbed it would be detrimental to put on more, whatever the quality of product. WD-40 may be too light a lubricant for most (but to my understanding not all) cycling conditions but grease is too viscous for any cycle chain application. For a lubricant to be effective it must be able to penetrate between the plates, rollers and possibly bushings, grease will not do this, what it will do quite effectively is stay on the outside of the chain and attract dirt. It is my belief that if you live in a flat, dry area and spin a high cadence (you will go faster in the long run) rather than push a high gear, then, you could do a lot worse than use WD-40 on your chain. This is just my opinion (educated on this subject if not much else). To quote Sheldon Brown “Chain maintenance is one of the most controversial aspects of bicycle mechanics.”

oinkoinkzoopals (author)2008-05-16

but be careful when going fast i was at the highest gear on my bike while riding down a hill. and there was a sharp bend and i was goin to fast to i wound up hitting a rock face head first at about 30 mph and it wasnt to fun...

That's why recon is important. You've got to know the roads where you plan to go fast or you'll find your way to the hospital.

Nice instructable. Cheers! I'd disagree with the idea about using high gears, though. The secret is learning to pedal quickly and making sure you never run out of steam. If you do this and practise it a lot, you will get really fast. Over a long ride, pushing too hard against the pedals (from using too high a gear) will tire you out quicker, and like other people have said wreck your knees if you ever become really serious.

I seriously think that using your brains is as important as using your muscles to go fast. Oh, that 80 km/h day...

ypetya (author)2008-06-02

Try to use a higher pressure in your wheels.

susanrm (author)2008-05-11

Good stuff - but I understand cadence is important too. And if you keep pushing yourself in highest gear, especially on long rides in hilly areas, you will *blow out your knees.* Use caution!

Yerboogieman (author)2008-05-08

yeah, and carry extra pedals........dont ask.

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