Cycling Safety Tips

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Cycling is more than just a simple ride. Instead, the hobby demands your physical best in order to endure the countless hours on the saddle. As much as we can discuss the multiple benefits of cycling, it is also important that you understand the various safety regulations before you embark on your journey.   

Below, I have provided six of the best tips to keep in mind for any cyclist. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these tips. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where your bike slides out of control while going 25-35 miles an hour downhill around a sharp turn.

Know the Rules

When it comes to cycling it is absolutely imperative that you understand the responsibilities that come with the sport. Because of this, I would highly advise that you familiarize yourself with all applicable traffic laws and cycling rules in your region. Remember, you are not the only person on the road. With various trucks, cars, and other automobiles within your surrounding area, you want to make sure you understand the safety regulations and rules that are allotted in each individual state. Now as for the rules, each state has its own set. Make sure you are aware of them. Some of the most common ones are not running stop signs or red lights, not using the wrong side of the street to ride, not blocking traffic etc. Riding with those rules and laws in mind will give you a better understanding of what you can and cannot do. In addition, this knowledge can also alleviate any tension and foster a more harmonious environment with motorist around you.

What Side to Ride On

One of the more general rules is to ride in the direction of traffic. In addition, try and stay as far to the right as possible. While this may seem uncomfortable, especially if you have been using the openness of the road, riding in the safety zone will help prevent any mishaps or accidents in the future. At the end of the day, you want to be practical and respectful to the motorist on the road. Staying to the right and making smart and strategic decisions as you ride can potentially save you from an unfavorable incident.

Joining Traffic

There will be times where you will have to join in with traffic. Because of this, it is absolutely necessary that you follow the common driving rules of the road. This is particularly important when taking a lane and joining traffic before an intersection. By joining the traffic lane, make sure you are directly behind a vehicle so that you are visible to all situations and to other drivers behind you. In addition, try and utilize specific hand signals to communicate with those around you.

Using your Eyes

While it may be difficult in the beginning, it is absolutely imperative that you train your eyes to be aware of your overall surroundings. Constantly moving your eyes to other touch points, especially to other motorists, will help mitigate any accidents. In addition, it will allow you to act more defensively on the road.

Playing Defense

As stated above, it is vital that you are constantly aware of your surroundings. In the grand scheme of things, there is a multitude of things that can happen to you as your ride. With objects in front of you, behind you, and on your sides, you want to make sure you are looking out for anything that can be threatening to your safety. In addition to the motorist, make sure you pay attention to the conditions of the road. Gravel, glass, and dirt can greatly wreak havoc on your bike. Also watch out for any potholes, sewer grates, and cracks that can hinder the overall flow of your ride.

Check your Breaks

This is probably one of the most important precautions you should take before you get on your bike. Make sure your breaks are in top-notch riding conditions. In addition, take into consideration the weather and road conditions. Whether it is a sunny or raining out, you want to make sure your breaks can handle any type of situation.

The Ultimate Cycling Riding Pack

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When it comes to cycling, many novice riders do not understand the importance of preparing a strong and effective riding pack. For many cyclists, a ride is not just a thirty-minute workout. Instead, it is an experience. Once you progressively get into riding, you will experience quickly that your time on the road will tend to be longer. Because of that, it is absolutely imperative that you pack the essentials. With just ten to twenty-minutes of preparation, you will be saving yourself the hassle for any mishaps or calamities that could potentially arise on your ride.

Below, I have provided five of the essential things you should pack for your next riding journey. While it may be cliché to say, it is better to be safe than sorry.”

Water Packs

When it comes to hydration, you have to understand how important water is to your body. Drinking water, especially during a strenuous ride, can help hydrate and replenish your body, combat fatigue, maintain sweat loss, and spark that necessary energy to get you to your final destination. With incredibly affordable hydration pack backpacks, it would be to your advantage to utilize this biking gear for your rides. Yes, a simple water bottle can suffice, but when you are on the go, these hydration water packs can provide a more efficient and easily accessible option so that you do not have to stop.

Energy Food

During your ride, especially if you are new to the game, you will find yourself tired and exhausted. To help get you over the hump, try packing various energy bars or gel packs for every hour you plan to be out. Keep the food in the top pocket of your back so that you do not have to stop or dig for it as you ride.

Tools

For those worst-case scenario situations, you want to make sure you have the necessary tools to help you on your way. Try carrying a hex wrench, Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, and a chain tool. The worst situation you want to find yourself in is one on the side of the road miles away from where you started.

Flat Tire Tool Kit

In addition to the tools listed above, try carrying a small pump, tire levers, spare tubes, and a wedge just in case you need to do some tire repair on your ride. Many novice riders do not assume the worst. On your ride, a variety of incidences can happen. To make sure you are prepared to handle any situation, try and have these essentials in your pack. This can potentially save you from experiencing that long walk home.  

Miscellaneous Items

In addition to your biking gear, you also want to make sure you carry those non-essential items such as your phone, your driver’s license (or some other form of identification), and a ten-to-twenty dollars worth of cash.

The Recovery Process of When Cycling

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Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned veteran to cycling, recovery will always play a vital role in your training and growth as a cyclist. In fact, learning how to rest and recover properly can be, at times, more important than the training and dietary restrictions themselves. The reason why this period is so vital is because overtraining can often lead to a higher risk in injury.

Now, with the sport of cycling constantly evolving, various experts and scientists have done a tremendous amount of research and testing in the process of reducing soreness, injury, and fatigue after such a high level of training. Yet with so much different research out there, the information can be baffling and oftentimes contradictory. What is worse is that some information can potentially lead you to a wrong recovery process for your body. To help prevent those hypothetical situations, I have provided four incredible recovery strategies that you can incorporate both during and after your ride.

1. The Cool Down

One of the biggest mistakes many novice cyclers make is to overwork and push the last leg of their ride. While accomplishing as it could be, this type of practice increases your chances for a more serious injury. After a long ride, you want to begin your recovery process by spinning at a calm and cool pace for the last ten to fifteen minutes. Having this stress-free ride will allow your body to recover to its normal resting levels. In addition, this particular practice will allow you to avoid fainting or dizziness, which can oftentimes result from blood pooling in the large muscles of the leg after vigorous activity.

2. Nutrition and Hydration Recovery

As you come to the end of your ride, make sure you eat two calories of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you will need to eat 320 pounds of carbohydrates of food. In addition, try and pick foods you enjoy. Be sure to read the labels and research the ingredients and the positive impacts that they can have for your body. As for hydration, water is an excellent way to start. To help assist with this, try various sources of fruit juices, smoothies, and low-fat drink options.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is a key weapon in any cyclist’s arsenal. It not only helps your recovery process, but also your mood the next day. For this to be effective, make sure you clean up any bad bedtime habits so that you can ride stronger and faster the next time you train. This means getting to bed earlier, cutting out television, and getting off any and all electronic devices.

4. Stretches and Active Recovery

After a hard cycling session, it is important that you stretch properly and stay active the next day. Now I am not asking you to go on another cycling session. Instead, go for nice easy walk or a relaxing swim. This type of active recovery activities allows you to complete your workout at a low intensity, but with just enough to reduce residual fatigue in the muscle.

Five Things Every Cyclist Should Know

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Like any new hobby, there will always be more than meets the eye. For many novice cyclers, the concept of getting on a bike and riding down the street is just the mere surface of the sport. In fact, much of the tricks of the trade are learned through word of mouth or by demonstration. But what if you were never informed? What if there was no one to show you the ropes? To better prepare for your next ride, I have compiled the five top things every cyclist should know.

1. Mending a Punctured Tire

If you haven’t already dealt with this problem, you are lucky. The good thing is that now you can handle this problem head on rather than taking it to a professional to get it fixed. Start off by turning over your bike and locating the cause and size of the puncture. If the tire is blown out or has a hole, it will have to be replaced. But if it is a small puncture, for instance a steel nail, often it can be fixed. Begin the process by spinning the tire slowly. Look for anything sticking out such as a nail or a piece of wood. Once you have located the cause, release the air out of your tire. Once the wheel is completely deflated, pry the tire off of the rim. Then lift the tube out of the tire. Be careful not to rip the valve stem off. Then pump enough air into the tube to inflate it to find the leak. The best way for finding the hole is by feeling or listening for air escaping the tire. Once you have located the hole, buff the area where you will install the patch. Then spread a thin layer of glue around the puncture site. Wait till it dries, then slide it back on to the tire, re-inflate, and you are ready to go.

2. Riding in the Wind

For many novice cyclers, they do not fully grasp the power of the wind until they are in an incredibly inopportune situation. In cycling, the wind can be one of your biggest enemies. The reason why is that it can sway you into losing your balance. To prevent this, know which direction the wind is going. If the wind is coming from the left, be sure to place your front wheel slightly to the right and vise verse. In addition, utilize your gears to leverage a strong and consistent pace.

3. Utilizing your Gears

Many novices underuse their gears by pedaling away on a higher gear. This not only exhausts much of your energy, but also slows down your speed. The key is to efficiently utilize the right gears for the right speed. For climbing hills or steep slopes, make sure you take full advantage of a low gear setting. This will allow you to gain control of your bike, while also moving steadily with less effort. For everyday terrain, utilize your middle gear. Last but not least, for descending landscape, switch to your high gear. This will give you much acceleration and will allow you to travel a long way for each turn of the pedal.

4. Bicycle Maintenance

To get the best long-term value of your bike, make sure you maintain and clean from time to time, especially after any long ride runs. Start by spraying your chain with a cleaner and degreaser with a rag. Once that is done, hose down your bike and wash the bike frame and wheels for any dirt and marks. When you rinse your bike, be delicate. Make sure you are not shooting high pressure water. This can damage the bearings or shock seals of your bike. After you are done, dry your bike and be sure to properly lubricate your chain and other components needed.

5. Look up as you Ride

For many novice riders, they focus on looking at the pedals or the overall scenery than looking directly up at where they are going. While as much as you want to focus primarily on your riding, you also need to make sure you are looking up as you go. Allow your peripheral vision to take care of the setting around you. Use your vision and focus to look out for any bumps or objects down the road that can impact your ride.