“It’s as easy as learning to ride a bike!” says most anybody, without any disclaimer that there are so many aspects to learn. There’s equipment, positioning, road etiquette, and a host of other things that will mystify the beginner, but they’ll learn as they go along. However, there are some basics that will make sure you ride better and come back alive to learn more. Here, in my opinion, are the most important skills to master.
Mounting and Dismounting
When you start getting serious, it’s time to commit to proper cycling shoes and a pair of clipless pedals. These take getting used to, especially the twisting outward motion to disengage pedal retention. Also, there is the timing of when to lift your leg as you start, and when to unclip and get off the saddle before you dismount. I consider this the most important skill that most beginners take for granted. Unfortunately, it is also the one that may cause the most unavoidable accidents and injuries.
Get some practice: Spend some time getting used to your clipless pedal system and shoes by practicing mounts and dismounts. Don’t just head out there without having enough time and confidence. Learn in a safe environment before you hit the streets.
The second skill is something you build up with experience and it automatically increases simply with vigilance. Cycling isn’t the safest sport because we share our activity area with other cyclists, motorists, and the occasional errant pedestrian.