Cycling (Biking or Bicycling)

  • Author:
    Richard Weil, MEd, CDE

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Can I adjust my bike?

Yes. Seat posts can be adjusted up and down, and some saddles can be tilted forward and back. Adjust your seat post so that your leg is almost straight at the bottom of a pedal cycle. Handlebar stems can also be adjusted up and down on some bikes. Adjust your handlebar stem until your arms are in a comfortable position; there is no standard height for the handlebars.

How do I go about getting started bicycling?

"It's like riding a bike, you never forget!" This is true! We have muscle memory for riding, and it will come back to you even if you haven't ridden since you were a kid. I've taught adults how to ride again after more than 30 years of not riding! And if you've never ridden, you can learn. Check with your local bike shop to see if they offer lessons, and if you don't have a bike, check for rentals. Rental bikes are typically heavy-duty mountain bikes, and so they are stable, sturdy, and relatively easy to ride. It might take more than one lesson if you're a beginner, but chances are you'll be riding after an hour or two of instruction. And don't forget adult trikes if two-wheel riding isn't ever going to do it for you!

Where can I ride my bike?

Local parks are the obvious choice, but check your local recreation department or bike shop for trails you may not know about. In some locations, communities close main thoroughfares on weekends for people to bike on, and many cities are also designating bike lanes on the road. Many areas also boast a strong community of riders who gather frequently for short rides. This is an excellent opportunity to learn of the best riding trails in your area and make some new friends.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that converts unused railroad corridors into trails for biking and walking. They have more than 100,000 members and supporters and have built nearly 13,600 miles of rail-trails throughout the United States. Check them out online to see if there's a trail near you (

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