Bike Safety

Wear a Helmet!

You don’t wear a helmet because you’ll need it every time. You wear one because, if you ever DO need it,

you will really, REALLY need it. After a decade of wearing a helmet and never having a serious accident,

one day I whacked my head on the pavement with enough force to convince me that I would have been

seriously injured without the helmet. And the accident occurred on the way home from the store near my

apartment – exactly the kind of situation in which I would not have been wearing a helmet unless I made it a rule to always do so. The moral of the story is clear. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET. Before you get on the bike, make sure the helmet’s on you.

Drink Up!

Make sure you get enough water.  Your bike should have a bottle container already on it; if it doesn’t, get one before you leave.

Be Prepared!

A flat tire can either be a ten-minute inconvenience or a complete disaster, depending on whether or not you’re prepared. If you don’t know how to change a tire, learn now – and practice making minor adjustments on your bike as well. There’s nothing quite as dispiriting as fiddling with unfamiliar tools while the sun is going down on a lonely mountain road in early winter… By itself, a patch kit is not enough – remember to take a portable pump as well, just in case there’s no service station nearby when your tire decides to blow. Also take some simple tools; a bike shop can help you get what you need. I carry a pack of things on the bicycle with all of the things I’ve ever needed on the road: patch kit, simple tools, spare patches, spare cables, spare tire tubes, spare headlamp bulb, spare chain, spokes (you can get by without a few of these, though), tiny container of lubricant, and even a tiny respirator for those highways clogged with cars and exhaust fumes. All of this is not nearly as heavy as you might expect, and the peace of mind is priceless.

Lighten Up!

Carrying the bike bag and tools will make you want to keep your other gear light. This is easy during the warm months. My standard summer kit fits in a single backpack: cycling gloves (great for reducing hand fatigue on those long trips!) bike tools, pump, map, headlight, spare batteries, sunscreen, hat, light windbreaker, bathing suit, change of clothes, and of course the rolled-up bike bag. Winter adds a couple of extra layers, warmer gloves and a woolen cap for those cold, COLD mornings.

Neatness Counts!

Do your hands a favor and take along a pair of cheap, lightweight gloves (I use disposable vinyl ones) in a plastic bag for use when packing and unpacking the bike. You’ll see the value of this after your first greasy packing job.

Cover Up!

Even if you never burn and aren’t scared of skin cancer, it doesn’t hurt to wear sunscreen. Don’t underestimate the sun in summer, or anytime for that matter. Wearing a long-sleeved cycling jersey made of one of those miracle fabrics that breathe amazingly well will help you cut down on sunscreen costs (it’s expensive here). Sun protection should extend to your eyes as well; sunglasses are highly recommended, particularly to cut the glare from the bright summer sun.

Don’t Wind Up in a Ditch!

Be sure to take it slow on curves so you don’t overcorrect or undercorrect, or you could find yourself in real trouble; entering a ditch with a tire at high speed will surely result in serious injury or at least serious bike damage. and above all …Take it Easy! Remember that cycle-touring is different from racing. You’re not trying to win the race, you’re trying to make it to the finish line alive. Go at your own pace – and by that I mean, don’t try to over-extend yourself. Cyclists who have more experience or are in better shape than you are going to make it over the hill first in any case; don’t feel pressured to try to compete with them and exhaust yourself early on. A little practice will tell you the difference between being tired and being exhausted; you’ll soon know how far you can push yourself and still stay on the bike till day’s end. Most importantly, remember that “Arrive Alive” applies to cycling as well as driving.

*With all due respect to the author of these ideas, the above safety tips are adapted from an online source. There was no link or name found to rightfully acknowledge or ask permission.We appreciate being able to share! "