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Frequently Asked Questions

We are frequently asked questions regarding cycling. While we don't have all the answers, we certainly try to have as accurate information as possible. We encourage you to research other sites for additional information.

The laws governing cycling are constantly changing - please check your local and state government agencies for all the updates. This is for general information only.


Can I Ride a Mountain Bike on the Roadway?

Do I Have to Wear a Helmet?

What’s the Best, Safest Way to Cross a Railroad Track?

How Many Calories Am I Burning while Cycling?

How Fast Should I Pedal / What Gear Should I Use?

How Should I Lay My Bike Down?

How Much Air Should I Put in My Tires?

Should I Use a Rearview Mirror?

Headphones and iPods

What is Being “Doored”?

How Much Should I Drink While Riding?

How can I make my pedaling more efficient?

Dealing with Dogs 


Can I Ride a Mountain Bike on the Roadway?
Of course you can you can ride a mountain bike on the roadway. A very high percentage of miles ridden on mountain bikes are actually ridden on pavement. You may find it easier if you change the tires from knobby surface to smoother surface. The knobby tires are great for grabbing loose dirt or gravel, but they generate too much traction on paved surfaces. This rolling resistance means you’re working harder than you need to be.

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Do I Have to Wear a Helmet?
According to Georgia state law, helmets must be worn by bicycle riders under the age of 16. Here’s the language from the Georgia Code:


(e)(1) No person under the age of 16 years shall operate or be a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, bicycle path, or sidewalk under the jurisdiction or control of this state or any local political subdivision thereof without wearing a bicycle helmet.

(e)(2) For the purposes of this subsection, the term ‘bicycle helmet’ means a piece of protective headgear which meets or exceeds the impact standards for bicycle helmets set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

(e)(3) For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to wear a helmet only if a helmet of good fit is fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet.

Adults are not required by law to wear a helmet. Most, if not all, organized rides require participants to wear a bicycle helmet – including the MS 150. Team Noodle insists that you wear a helmet when riding with us. It’s a good idea! Why take the risk? Even the pros are required to wear helmets during their races.

And it’s important to wear your helmet correctly. The front of the helmet should rest about an inch or less above the eyebrows on the forehead. A helmet tilted upward from this position increases the likelihood of injury in a crash. A helmet should be snug but not excessively tight. Position the strap adjusters directly below the ears. Tighten straps to where a finger can fit between the strap and your chin.

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What’s the Best, Safest Way to Cross a Railroad Track?
Cross tracks as close to perpendicular as possible. It’s really easy to catch a tire between the rail and the adjacent gaps. If the track angles across the road, first check behind you for on-coming traffic. Then move out into the lane a bit to allow yourself to cross at a right angle with the tracks. Cross tracks at a slow, but not too slow, speed. Be especially careful when the road is damp – railroad tracks are incredibly slippery when wet. Most railroad track crossing are pretty rough, so be careful no matter what the conditions.

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How Many Calories Am I Burning while Cycling?
This is a little inexact, as calorie expenditure is based on several factors. The big elements are cycling speed and weight of the rider, so here’s a table with some estimated calories burned:

Calories Expended per Hour of Cycling

Speed in MPH

Rider Weight

10 - 11.9

12 - 13.9

14 - 15.9

19 - 19










































































This table applies to road cycling. It’s surprising how efficient cycling can be in burning calories! A nice, pleasant two-hour ride can be worth 1,000 calories – it’s great that cycling allows us to be a bit more liberal with what we eat.

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How Fast Should I Pedal / What Gear Should I Use?
Pedaling cadence is one of those personal preference things. It’s fascinating to watch the differences between the top pros as they do their jobs. Lance Armstrong has made popular the low gear-high cadence approach, while other riders push higher gears rather slowly. Many advisors suggest selecting a gear that allows you to pedal comfortably at 80-90 pedal strokes per minute. Select a gear that allows you to maintain the same effort and pedal at the same cadence whether you’re riding on the flats or going up or down hills. You have lots of gears on your bike; you might as well use them. This style is more aerobic and less stressful on your knees than pushing a big gear more slowly. In a way, it’s similar to weightlifting – lighter weights with more repetitions build strength while maintaining suppleness. But pushing a bigger gear more slowly, sometimes called grinding, can build bulk and power. The bottom line is you should pedal in a gear and at a cadence you feel is most comfortable for you.

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Lay Your Bike Down on the Left Side
If you need to put your bike down somewhere, it’s best to lay it on its left side. The right side of the bike is where the chain and gears are, and laying the bike on that side could result in damaging something important like the derailleurs. At the very least, you could get debris like dirt or grass in your chain and gears. If you don’t have a kickstand, leaning your bike against a solid object is best. But if you must lay the bike down, be sure to do it on its left side.

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How Much Air Should I Put in My Tires?
Bicycle tire manufacturers typically print a recommended tire pressure on the sidewall, so your best bet is to follow that recommendation. It’s important to have enough air in your tires to prevent the tube from being pinched between the wheel rim and an object or hole in the road – that leads to a pinch flat, sometimes called snakebite because it usually causes two holes in the tube. These punctures are a pain to patch, so avoid them by carrying plenty of air in your tires. And you want to minimize the amount of a tire’s surface that contacts the road. The less the tire rubs the road, the less “rolling resistance” the rider has to overcome. But don’t exceed the tire’s recommended pressure. Narrow road tires can hold up to 160 psi of air, although 100-120 is probably plenty for most of us. Wider hybrid and mountain bike tires hold considerably less air – again, follow the tire manufacturer's recommended pressure you'll find printed on the tire.

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Should I Use a Rearview Mirror?
Many cyclists advocate using a rearview mirror to help be aware of what’s happening behind you. Mirrors are available that mount to your handlebars. Some mirrors attach to your eyeglasses or sunglasses, or to your helmet. Some cyclists like these kinds of mirrors because you just need to turn your head a bit to see cars approaching from behind. Other cyclists do not advocate using mirrors. They believe that mirrors can become a “crutch” and that cyclists can become dependent on them, spending too much time looking into their mirrors. And the range of vision using a mirror is limited, even those with convex lenses. These people also point out that very few incidents occur that involve being hit from behind.

Whether using a mirror or not, it’s still important to be aware of your surroundings, including being alert to traffic approaching from behind. In fact, even if you use a mirror, it’s a good idea to turn your head and glance back at the road occasionally. And when you’re riding with others, be sure to let them know about approaching traffic (“car back”).

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Headphones and iPods
Your sense of hearing is important while riding, to help keep you aware of what’s going on around you. Do not use headphones, iPods, or anything else that will impair your ability to hear traffic or other cyclists calling out to you – or even approaching barking dogs. While it may be nice to listen to inspiring music or even sports talk radio, it’s too risky. It’s amazing how much we rely on our hearing while riding.

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What is Being “Doored”?
“Doored” is the expression used to describe when a motorist opens his/her door right in front of a rider, typically without looking. Avoid being doored by staying about three feet to the left of parked cars. It’s a good practice to look through the back windows of parked cars as you approach them to see if anyone is in the cars, about to open the door. Also do not pass vehicles on their right as you approach an intersection. Passengers may be about to open the right side door, dooring you.

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How Much Should I Drink While Riding?
A 150 pound rider can lose up to four pounds of water in just an hour of spirited riding in 85 degree heat – that kind of temperature is certainly common for our rides here in the Southeast. We're not racing the Tour de France, but we do have to remember to stay nourished and well-hydrated. One member of our group sets his sports watch to beep every ten minutes to remind him to drink. Please remember to drink plenty of fluids while you're riding. Have at least two water bottles – one with water and one with POWERADE (or maybe a mixture of POWERADE and water). It's wise to consume about 16-20 ounces of fluids for every hour of moderate riding.

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How can I make my pedaling more efficient?
When riding long distances like the MS 150, it’s good to be as efficient as possible in your pedal strokes. Experienced cyclists talk about “pedaling in circles” – the idea is to apply equal pressure all the way through your pedal stroke. That means pulling up as well as pushing down on the pedals. Here’s a good suggestion heard at a group ride last week: when your foot is at the bottom on the pedal stroke, drag it back as though you’re trying to scrape mud off the sole of your shoe. This recruits muscles like your hamstrings and glutes into the pedaling stroke, and relieves some pressure from your quads. The more muscles you can use to pedal, the more even-distributed your effort.

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Dealing with Dogs
When a dog shows unwanted aggression, many cyclists try to sprint or scream profanities or even kick the dog. Experts say these are exactly the wrong responses. The key to riding safely away from a “bad” dog is to rein in your fear and act with confidence. Here are some tactics recommended by animal behavior experts and Effective Cycling instructors:

*      Stop. If you’re not moving, you’re less interesting to the dog. If necessary, place your bike between the dog and yourself.

*      Impersonate the owner. Look at the dog and say “Go Home” or something similar.

*      Some people recommend squirting the dog with a water bottle or some non-toxic spray. Water is usually enough to distract the dog.

*     Don’t use a pepper spray that will irritate the dog, or your own eyes if it blows back into your face. And don’t waste your POWERADE on a hot day.

*      Some people recommend blowing an air horn to disturb the dog.

*    Carry dog treats and toss them to the dog to distract attention from yourself and other riders.

Most dogs simply want to run with you or chase you out of their territory and are not interested in hurting cyclists.

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Thanks Walt!!!


Cycling Tips Quick Links

  • Laws Governing Cycling in GA
  • Tool Kit for Carrying on a Bicycle
  • Prevent and Eliminate Knee Soreness
  • Riding in Groups
  • Tips for Shopping for a Road Bicycle
  • Winter Riding