Be sure to read up on these cycling safety tips to ensure your next ride is safe and enjoyable!
Be ready for what you may encounter, including flats, longer
rides than expected, poor weather, etc.
Equipment to carry – tire pump or CO2, spare tube, multi tool, tire levers,
cell phone. Know how to use all of these. The first time you use them
shouldn’t be out on the road.
Ensure your bike is in good working order
- pump up your tires before every ride
- lube your chain (no WD40) every 5-10 rides and after riding in the rain
- ensure both brakes are fully functional w/ good stopping power
Plan your ride – know where you are going and how long you will be gone.
Anything less than an hour should include at least 1 water bottle. 2+
hours consider a Clif bar, Gu, or other nutrition. Train with what you
plan to race with.
Safety Equipment – your helmet is the most important thing you wear. Wear
it every time. It should be free from any cracks, fit snugly on your head
just above your eye brows, and your chin strap should be buckled with less
than 2 fingers width between it and your chin. If your helmet moves
easily on your head, you can see your hair line or is crooked, it’s not
protecting you. How To Chose a Bike Helmet
What to wear – A good pair of cycling or tri shorts with a quality chamois (pad) will
make your ride more enjoyable. However, a pair of cycling gloves are
invaluable in a crash or when clearing glass or other road debris from
your tires. Finally, a pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes from
wind, rain, bugs, dirt and other flying objects.
Winter riding – Riding in the winter presents its own challenges. A good
rule of thumb is to wear an extra layer of clothes for each 10 degrees
below 70. So that is 2 layers at 60, 3 at 50, etc. The outer most layer
should be a good wind barrier and form fitting. You will get much colder
at the same temperature riding than if you we’re running due to the wind
chill. A thin hat under your helmet, full fingered gloves, and something
extra covering your toes does wonders to help maintain the warmth.
Doubling up on socks often backfires because the extra constriction cuts
off circulation and makes you feel colder. It’s better to get extra large
tube socks, toe Warmers or booties and wear them on the outside of your
shoes. Even though its cold, be sure you are drinking and eating while
riding too. You might not feel it initially, but you are burning more
energy just to stay warm.
Be aware of of Ohio laws for the road. For you lawyers out
there. Ride as far right as you are comfortable but ride in the road and left of the white
line. It is illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk in Ohio. A good
rule of thumb is to ride where your right tire would be if you we’re
driving a car. Ride as though you are a vehicle as you are considered one
in Ohio. Obey all traffic laws, signal when turning, stop at all lights,
no more than 2 riders abreast, etc. Allow for extra stopping in wet
conditions. Also check out considerbiking.org.
Ride as close as you are comfortable to the person in front of you, but
the closer you are the better draft you will get and the easier it will be
to ride. Look up the road beyond the wheel in front of you so you are
aware of what is coming. This may include looking over the shoulder of the
person in front of you, under their arm or around them. Use your
peripheral vision to keep an eye on the bike in front and to the side of
you. Communicate with the other riders letting them know turns, pot
holes, and your general intentions (ie hanging off the back). Avoid quick
maneuvers or abrupt braking when possible. To slow gradually, stop
pedaling or sit up higher so your face is in the wind more.
When cornering, keep you outside leg down at the 6 o’clock position. If
you are turning right, this will be your left leg. You will lean more
than you actually turn your handle bars. Consider learning
counter-steering to get through corners most quickly. You should be
comfortable riding one handed, drinking while riding and eating while
riding. If you are not, practice this in a parking lot by yourself until
you get the hang of it. You won’t always have a light or stop sign to eat
or drink as often as you should be.
When riding with others, show up on time and be responsible for yourself.
Don’t rely on others to loan you a spare tube or pump. Bring your own
nutrition to avoid “bonking” or being overly fatigued. Ride with a group
that is within your means for both distance and speed. Be clear with the
group if you are trying to “level up” so they know if they should be
waiting for you. Know the route and how to get home if you get dropped
from the pack. Absolutely no riding in aerobars when riding with a group
unless you are practicing for a team time trial and everyone in the group
is on the same page. More Group Riding Tips
Considering getting a bike for the first time?
Go with a road bike. They are more versitale and generally more comfortable. A pair of bolt on
aerobars will get you close to what a tri or time trial bike will in terms
of aerodynamics. Buy a bike that you can afford that you think looks
cool. If you think it looks cool, you’ll ride it more and will be a
better rider for it.
Want more information? Questions? Contact Rick Slawinski at email@example.com.