Summer is upon us and outdoor leisure activities abound! What is better than a bike ride on a beautiful summer day?
Despite the heat and humidity, we still want to ride for fitness and leisure. Don’t let this stop you, but take some time to read through these summer cycling safety tips that will take you through the hot summer months.
Plan ahead and check for weather advisories. Don’t overdo if it will be extremely hot and/or humid, or if the air quality is projected to be poor.
Use protection! Be sure to wear your helmet.Yes, it can be hot, but bike helmets are cool, light, and necessary! Wear appropriate clothing with SPF and wicking material to keep cool and dry. Wear sunscreen on exposed skin.
Stay hydrated. Bring extra water for a longer ride. If you have a hydration pack, this is a good time to use it.
Observe the rules of the road for extra safety. There will be a variety of levels of riders on the roads, including children, and many beginning riders do not always understand how to ride correctly on streets and bike trails.
Give your bicycle a good once-over, especially if you haven’t ridden your bike in a while. Check the frame, lights, reflectors, tires, seat and repair anything before you venture out.
Keep your mobile phone and flat repair kit handy.
Join riding groups if you do not want to ride alone. Look for groups through Facebook, Meet-ups, and through local leisure organizations. Bicycle shops and retailers often have bulletin boards with groups looking to add new riders.
While Riding On the Streets:
Be seen. Wear bright colors. If you are riding on the streets, the bright sun and glare from car windows can make cyclists difficult to see.
To beat the heat, many cyclists ride in the early morning hours or later in the evening. Riding during these times may expose you to more street traffic. These times of day, when the sun is lower in the sky, you are harder to see, so take extra precautions when riding on streets.
Use designated bike lanes when possible but remain aware of traffic.
On Urban Bike Trails:
There are more commuters. Depending on time of day, there may be more riders on the trails, as the good weather makes it desirable to ride to work.
Watch for our wild, four-legged and feathered friends. Deer, squirrels and water fowl may have young that can dart out suddenly onto the trail. If you are riding in the early mornings and evenings, you are more likely to see animals near the trails.
More people are using the trails for jogging, walking, hiking and walking dogs. More strollers are out, too, and these can take up space in bike lanes. Proceed with extra caution around pedestrians in these circumstances, and keep your speeds low.
Keep a close eye on loiterers. If someone looks suspicious, ride quickly past them. Sadly, assaults on urban bike trails are more common that one would think. Avoid stopping in remote areas along the trails unless there is an emergency. Even men can be victims of assault.
Bicycling is a wonderful activity, whether riding for leisure, to work, or for fitness. Play is safe and keep on riding! For more information on cycling, here are some general tips you may find helpful.
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