Information on how to bicycle safely in urban areas
Safety Tips and Suggestions for Enjoyable Biking
- Always wear a helmet.
- Ride with the traffic (on the right side of the road)
- Ride single file do not ride two or three abreast
- Ride on the shoulder or as close to the edge of the road as possible
- Wear biking gloves. They are padded and protect your hands if you fall or hit a big bump
- Ride in control going downhill. On rural roads there is often sand at the bottom of a big hill.
- Carry water
- Keep at least two bike lengths between you and the rider in front of you.
- Learn to change your tires and carry a spare tire or a patch kit. Learn to put your bike chain back on the deraileur if it comes off the deraileur.
- Use extreme caution when the road is wet
- Walk over railroad tracks. Your wheel can get caught in the tracks.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals
- Try to out-ride dogs, if this is not possible get off your bike and put the bike between you and the dog. Dogs usually won’t chase you past their territory. Do not ride on the left hand side of the road to avoid the dog.
- Be aware of road conditions and ride accordingly, watch for wet leaves and oil slick roads, they are both very slippery. Be aware of sun glare, especially in the morning and the evening.
- If you are not riding your bike pull off the road completely.
- Carry a light and reflective bands in case you are riding in the dark. Try to avoid riding in the dark.
- Use hand signals when turning or stopping
- Call out if you are passing another rider.
- Ride carefully through towns where cars are parked. People don’t look for cyclists when the open their car doors.
- Carry a first aid kit with band aids, antibiotic ointment and tissues.
- Maintain your bicycle-keep the gears oiled, the brakes working and the seat properly adjusted for your height.
Tips on Cycling
- Try to cycle using the same revolutions per minute by changing the gears to adjust for hills and wind. In other words, ride at a comfortable cadence, using the gears if you need more or less tension.
- Wear stiff soled shoes and pedal with the balls of your feet. Toe clips help to keep your feet in the right place.
- Wear layers if it is cool, as you may get warm on the uphills but it can be very cold going downhill.
- Change your gears before you start up a hill. If you wait until you are on the hill the chain may derail when you change gears.
- Bike bags which attach to the handlebars are great for storing necessities and they usually have a transparent pocket for the directions.
- Bike computers are useful if you want to check mileage, cadence, time and distance.
- Check for wind directions. If you are pedaling with the wind the headwinds on the ride back may be strong. This is especially true near the coast or on the plains.
- Bike shorts with padding are great. They don’t have seams, which can cause chaffing and the padding makes the ride more comfortable.
- If you are planning to do extended rides learn about bicycle maintenance.
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