Wednesday, May 21, 2014

National Bike Month: 5 Tips for safe and smart cycling

As you may know, May is National Bike Month!
It's no secret that my favorite form of cross training (read: only form) is biking. I like to ride on the road, trail, or even beach.  I've always had fond memories of learning to ride a bike and still today riding gives me that carefree enjoyment that only the simplest of activities can. Maybe it's because bike riding was my earliest form of independence (yes, I was that kid who rode her bike to little league), and there is nothing more enjoyable than a bike ride on a summer day. Before you get started, there are few important things to keep in mind to keep you safe and ensure that you have fun.

5 Tips of Safe and Smart riding

  1. As easy as A,B,C. Before any ride, give your bike a quick 3 part check to make sure it is ready to go. Air (make sure the tires are properly inflated), Brakes (make sure the breaks work and that the brake pads are not worn out), Chain (make sure the chain isn't rusted or jammed).
  2. Get proper gear. Just like running, having proper cycling gear helps to minimize the chances of injury and ensure a more enjoyable experience. This does not mean buying the most expensive gear out there, but finding the gear that is right for your cycling goals. Getting your bike properly fit to your body is a quick and painless process that will make your time in the saddle much more comfortable.
  3. Safety is key! We all know that wearing a bike helmet is a no-brainer, but you should also check to make sure that your other safety gear works well. Reflectors (for both your bike and body), lights, and bright colors are important factors in making sure you don't get hit (and need that fancy helmet to protect you).
  4. Know your basics. Get to know your basic bike traffic laws, hand signals, and common verbal commands so you can best communicate with the cars and other bikes on the road.
  5. Bring friends. Not only is riding in a group more fun, but it provides more visibility for other vehicles on the road. Be sure to follow the rules of group riding and properly hazards within the group. Riding with buddies can also be really helpful if either one of you has a mechanical problem with your bike or a crash.

What is your favorite form of cross training?  Any other recommendations for safe cycling?

16 comments:

  1. Great tips! Riding is my favorite form of cross training. One of the best things about it is that I like to go bike riding with my husband.

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    1. Thanks Tina! Yes, it's a great activity to share!

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  2. you know...i haven't owned my own bike since i was in second grade. maybe i should get on that.... hmmm

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    1. You should Dawn! It's a great summer activity. :)

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  3. Awesome tips. Love riding with a buddy.

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    1. Biking is a great way to be active with a group esp since not everyone is a runner!

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  4. I've had the same bike since my son was 3 (he's 24 now) and it "disappeared" out of my shed this winter :( I enjoyed just biking around the neighborhood last summer, I need to get a new bike! Your biking shirt is really cute!

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    1. Oh no! How sad! You definitely need a new bike.

      Thanks! We are a pirate team for the 24 Hours of Booty ride. :P

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  5. Great tips EB! I have been wanting to get a road bike for a while now. I am not familiar with the road bike laws so I will definitely look into the link in tip #4. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Captain! Definitely give the rules a once over and even look for bike paths to start with until you are comfortable with crazy drivers! Happy Cycling!

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  6. Great tips. Mine is to have common courtesy and awareness of others when you're on the trail.

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    1. Yes, both cyclists and runner/walkers. Great tip.

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  7. I like both riding with friends and alone. When I am alone I can go my own speed, stop for lots of pictures and just enjoy the day. I also don't always have someone to go with so there's that too.

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    1. Yeah, I agree. I do find it easier to convince someone to go for a ride with me than a run though!

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