Stay Safe while getting fit and losing weight on your bike
You can easily be put off cycling because you don’t like the idea of cycling in traffic, even in the most rural locations. many cyclists use busy roads every day without any problems and that’s because they cycle safely and make sure other road users know they are there.
I’m going to share some tips for cycling safety, point you to some great cycling safety gear and help you on your way to losing weight and getting fit out in the fresh air on your bike.
Tips for cycling on roads –
courtesy – https://www.sustrans.org.uk/what-you-can-do/cycling/cycling-safety-and-rules/road-safety-cyclists
Cycling in the rain
The most important item of clothing to have with you is your jacket. A great waterproof jacket will keep your body dry it will also help you regulate your body temperature. GorTex is one of the best materials, its waterproof and breathable, its essential for your safety not to overheat on your bike.
Keep the splash to a minimum, make sure your bike has good quality mudguards fitted. Mudguards may not look great and may well rattle (should not do that if fitted well). Mudguards will keep all the filthy water on the road and off your legs, feet and back. Even if you miss the downpour, the roads are still wet and all that dirt and spray will make you wet and cold.
- Ride the bike that is the correct size for your height. Riding a bicycle that is either too big or too introduces a safety risk and could cause bad handling and control out there on the roads. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to stand flat footed over your bike’s top bar and there should still be around 3 to 5 cm of space left.
- Check for Loose Nuts and Bolts
- Check all the nuts and bolts from your handlebar, stem, seatpost, pedals and wheels’ quick release before heading out on your bike. Tighten anything that comes loose.
- Check and pump up your tyres. The tyres should be correctly inflated to within the recommended air pressure range, usually printed on the side wall of the tyre. Check for general wear and tear at the same time and don’t go out with damaged tyres – have them changed and save the ride for another day.
- Check the wheels for loose or bent spokes. Spin the wheels and observe if they’re spinning true and not wobbling about.
- CHECK THE BRAKES – Check pads are correctly aligned and rubbing on the wheels or disc rotor. Spin the wheels and press the brakes to ensure cables are working as expected.
- Use a headlight day and night. The front light serves two purposes, see when its dark and for you to be seen during day. Take into consideration the mounting type, weight and battery runt times before buying front headlights.
- Use a rear light. Rear lights are important both during day and night so you can be seen. Set them to flashing mode to attract attention. Make sure batteries are fully charged.
- Use a bike bell, in some countries, bike bells are required by law.
General Safety While Cycling
- Be aware of your surroundings – stay alert for everything that is happening around you. Keep an ear out for traffic in front and behind you especially lorries
- No Headphones – Never use headphones or listen to music while you are riding your bike. You simply can’t hear vehicles coming up behind you until the very last moment.
- Pack the phone – Don’t use your mobile while riding, you will lose balance and concentration and might even wander across the road into oncoming traffic.
- Ride evenly – Don’t waver and wander, keep it straight up, try not to make unexpected moves in traffic. Don’t swerve in and out carelessly. Look and scan ahead to avoid making last minute movements.
- Both hands – keep both your hands on the handlebars. If you’re taking a drink, scan the road ahead, grab the bottle and take a quick slurp – ideally stop. Keep your eyes peeled if you drink on the move, you don’t want to hit a pothole with one hand on the handlebars.
- Don’t ride at speeds you are not happy with or don’t fell in control with.
- Don’t drink alcohol and ride.
- Act like a car – when you ride on roads you are considered a ‘vehicle’ so behave like one. All traffic rules apply to you so observe them as if your were driving. Don’t jump red lights, it could be lights out for you !
- Don’t hog the kerbs, give yourself a few feet to bail out in case a vehicle comes too close. Ride with the traffic flow. research shows that riding against the traffic is 3 times more dangerous for you.
- Stay out of Vehicle’s Blind Spot –
- Always use hand – signals:
- Slow down approaching junctions and look out for cars and their ‘door zone’, try to ride 2 to 3 feet away from parked cars.
- Have a cycle saddle bag or kit available. Ideally with a spare tube and tyre levers, patch kit and some patches.
Be Safe and Enjoy the ride
Some quick basic checks, some basic awareness and good gear will help you ride the roads safely and comfortably. Use your signals, keep your ears open and free from headphones of any kind. Watch those vehicle blind spots – get to know them and stay safe. Get out there and enjoy cycling for great health benefits and lose weight along the way.