Road-Biking Guide for Newbies

Not the most experienced cyclist on the road? No worries! Road cycling trails on the Adirondack Coast vary in length and elevation, making them perfect for all ages and levels. First, pick the trail that feels right for you.

What’s Your Speed?

Pick a trail that matches your abilities. Start slow and steady with a shorter, more leisurely ride and then work your way up to the big leagues. This is where your gears come into play.The bigger numbers make it harder to peddle; the lower numbers make it easier. It all depends on what kind of incline you’re on. Whatever speed you decide on, remember: you’re here to have fun!

Once you pick the right ride, you can prepare correctly, here are some things to consider.

Preparing for a Cycling Trip

Cycling can be physically demanding. And even when it’s a leisurely bike ride, its important tobe prepared before heading out on the road.

Road Cycling father and son


This one’s a no-brainer – at least, it should be. GET A HELMET! New York State law mandatesriders 14 years old and younfer must wearhelmets, so set a good example for the kiddosand keep that noggin covered - especially ifyou’re riding on the shoulder of a busy road.


  • A is for Air - Make sure there’s enough air in your tires – especially if you plan on going the distance. Road bikes should usually be between 80 and 130 psi.
  • B is for Brakes - Make sure when you hold down your brakes, your bike comes to a complete stop quickly.
  • C is for Chain - Look at your chain and make sure there is no dirt or debris that could cause rust or damage
  • QUICK is for quick releases - If your bike has tire and/or seat quick releases, double check that they are full tightened and secured for the ride.

If you notice any issues before your ride, take it to a bike shop for a tune up before you hit the road.

standing with bikes watching race
cyclist pumping up tire


Depending on where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone, you’re going to want to bring a few things.

  • Hand pump
  • U-lock
  • Bike lights and/or reflective wear

4. Bring water

Bring plenty of water, especially if it’s hot out or you’re going long distances. Getting heat exhaustion on a rural road is not the best idea when you’re trying to have a fun cycling trip.

cyclist drinking water

5. Know Your Stuff

And by “stuff” we mean traffic laws. We’re all sharing the road here. Just how you'd prefer cars not to hit you, they'd prefer you not to be on the wrong side of the road. The same goes for joggers and pedestrians, too. Don’t cycle on sidewalks and if you pass someone on a trail, make your presence known by asserting“On your left!” or by ringing a bike bell

Where to position yourself

Make sure to give yourself at least three feet of room on either side when you ride. Ride three feet away from the edge of sidewalks and parked cars for your own safety. Ride in such a way that passing cars on your left pass you with at least three feet of clearance.

Lanes narrower than 12 feet are too narrow to share, so the law allows a cyclist to ride in the center of that lane (what we call“taking” or “controlling the lane”) to deter unsafe passing.

Use Hand Signals

One of the best ways to stay safe while riding your bike, is by being predictable, and letting other road users know your intentions. Hand signal sare a great way to alert other cyclists and motor vehicle drivers, know if you’re changing position.

Here is an example of using your hands to indicate turns:

  • Left turn
  • Right turn
  • Stop
Follow Traffic Signals

You are considered a vehicle while riding a bicycle on theAdirondack Coast.

Be sure to follow all traffic signals the same way you would if you were driving a motor vehicle. Stop signs, yield signals, and traffic lights all apply to you when you’re on a bike.

6. Dress Appropriately

Don’t peddle in stilettos! Get yourself a sturdy pair of shoes that complement the grips on your peddles. Also, be aware of changing temperatures if you're riding from morning to afternoon where it will be hotter; or afternoon to evening where it'll begin getting cooler.

cyclist drinking water
cyclist pumping up tire

7. Stay Alert

Cruising up and down scenic road trails visualizing your soon-to-be athletic physique while listening to a vegan “mindfulness” podcast will definitely make you feel like a healthy-living star... in the moment.And a moment is all it takes for you to lodge your front wheel into a pothole and go flying over the handlebars.

Be cruelty-free to yourself and unplug. Enjoy the workout and your time outdoors! You should also be certain to brush up on the traffic laws before heading out.

Follow these tips and you’ll pick up the ways of the road in no time. The sooner you get outdoors, the sooner you’ll be on your way to cycling superstardom!

Remember: don’t take yourself too seriously on the road. This isn’t a triathlon. The only person you have to keep up with is yourself. Well... and your kids, spouse, or whoever came with you to the Adirondack Coast. What matters is that you get to experience this beautiful area from a new perspective.

So, what are you waiting for? Ready, set… explore!

Plan Your Adirondack Coast Adventure Today!

Check out our great guides to make the most of your trip!

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Don’t have a bike? Grab a rental!

Sure, that’s obvious, but the real question is whether to rent or buy. If you’re here for the season and you plan on exploring more than a few Adirondack Coast road-biking trails, you should consider investing in your own model. Just here for the weekend? A day rental is probably more up your alley. Check out the Plattsburgh City Marina for a rental option near downtown Plattsburgh. Also remember to have a lock for your bike if you plan to goin to a restaurant, store or museum on your route.

Want to buy a new Bike?

If your bike is too big or too small it can affect how sore you’ll be tomorrow. Often bikes need to be professionally fitted in order to meet your body’s dimensions. Parts like the handlebars, stems, saddles, and seat posts sometimes need to be replaced in order to make your ride more comfortable. Meet up with a staffer at a nearby
bike shop if you suspect parts of your model need to be adjusted.

Bike shops & rentals

Adirondack ElliptiGO

By combining the best of running, cycling and the elliptical trainer, ElliptiGO bikes provide a strong cardiovascular workout that eliminates impact on joints and allows people to get out of the gym and enjoy the outdoors. Elliptical cycling is an effective way to build fitness without aggravating injuries. That’s why more than 30,000 customers around the world –from the health-conscious to the elite athlete – enjoy riding their ElliptiGO bikes.

Visit Adirondack ElliptiGO to learn more, purchase and enjoy a bike. Find them on Facebook today!

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Maui North Ski, Bike & Board Co.

A local source for all things ski, bike and board. Their diverse staff is passionate, friendly and full of personality! They love sharing their knowledge and experience to help others have fun.

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Play It Again Sports

Play It Again Sports is a family owned store that specialized in buying and selling quality used and new sports gear. They carry equipment for hockey, baseball, golf, fitness, soccer, racquet sports, inline skates, skateboards, boxing, skis (downhill and cross-country), snowboards and much more!  

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Viking Ski 'N Cycle

The friendly, experienced staff at the family orientated Viking Ski N' Cycle have been providing customers with the knowledge they need when choosing the right model of bike (plus skis and snowboards!) for over 50 years.

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