Tips for Beginner Cyclists

May is National Biking Month, so here to offer tips for aspiring cyclists is Dr. Frank Cordasco, orthopedic surgeon.

“Bicycling can be a wonderful method to improve one’s overall health and fitness,” says Dr. Cordasco. It can provide an excellent cardiovascular workout without subjecting the lower extremity joints to excessive loads. You can burn several hundred calories per hour depending upon the level of intensity of the workout.

Dr. Cordasco has these tips for the beginner cyclist:

  • Always wear a helmet; several studies have demonstrated that this is a critical factor in avoiding injuries or death in the event of an accident.
  • If you are going to approach bicycling seriously, you should make sure that the bicycle fits you appropriately with respect to frame size, seat height, handlebar height etc. Having a bike that fits your frame will prevent overuse injuries to the lower extremities (particularly the knees), lower back and neck.
  • Don’t ride with your hands on the lower portion of the curved part of the handlebars (the racing or drop position) for long periods of time as you may develop a neck strain or cramps in the shoulders or arms.
  • Don’t pedal in a high gear for long periods of time as this can place more pressure on the knees and may lead to an overuse injury. A reasonable pace would be 60-80 revolutions per minute (rpm) for a beginning cyclist. This provides reasonable exercise without placing added stress on the knees.
  • After a long uphill ride, be sure to pedal on the downhill instead of coasting. This helps to clear the lactic acid that was building up in your muscles during the uphill component of the ride.
  • Have fun!

Dr. Frank Cordasco is an Orthopedic Surgeon in the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. The primary focus of Dr. Cordasco’s practice includes ACL and meniscus injury in the pediatric, adolescent, and adult athlete; shoulder instability; bicep tendon tears, rotator cuff and pectoralis tendon repairs, clavicle fracture surgery and AC joint separations. Dr. Cordasco’s research and education activities parallel and complement these clinical areas of expertise. 

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.


  1. I think that everything said was very logical. But, think about
    this, suppose you were to create a awesome headline? I am not suggesting your content isn’t solid, however suppose you added a title that grabbed folks attention?
    I mean Tips for Beginner Cyclists | HSS on the Move Blog is
    a little boring. You should peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create post titles to grab viewers interested. You might try adding a video or a picture or two to grab people interested about what you’ve got to say.
    Just my opinion, it could bring your posts a little livelier.

    1. Thanks for your opinion. We’ll take it into consideration when writing our headlines.

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