Hi. Everybody. Welcome to read my first ever written article on my site. Indeed, it’s the very first article I ever published to the public. I will make my guide for the beginners in several topics. The first one will talk about the safety issues on the road. Please feel free and leave comments. I am here to suggest a few tips from what I learnt and experienced from my past five years.
Although it’s controversial that helmets are forced to wear under the legislation, its good advice for beginners to wear them because beginners are more likely to get hurt from falling down. A good helmet can save your head while it’s comfortable to wear and lightweight too. Cycling helmets have different price ranges, and differentiated by the comfort, size fitting, ventilation and weight.
Wear gloves as you can. Gloves can protect your palms in case of fall. Those with gel pads can absorb the impact from the fall and make comfort on handlebars.
Wear cycling glasses
If you don’t wear any eyeglasses, try cycling glasses. Cycling glasses can shield your eyes from sunlight glaring, wind, dust, rain, and bugs. I started riding with prescription glasses on. However, the comfort and coverage from cycling glasses are simply on the next level. No matter how slow you ride your bike, a headwind can dry up you eyes on a longer ride. Sand and dust from dump trucks simply distract you from seeing the road. Sun glare stops you from riding until after sunset. Bugs in summer can hit your eyes. Sweat can make you uncomfortable to have glasses on. Cycling glasses can help solve those issues you may experience.
Build confidence while being cautious
- Practice balancing and cornering before your hit the road. You can practice in park or parking lots when there is no car. When making turns, ensue that the outside pedal is at the lowest position and be a slight force applied to it. That will prevent you from sliding out especially when the road is wet.
- After your can make turns and balance well, your should try riding on quiet roads so that your are assertive overtime before your hit busier traffic.
- If your are not confident on your own on traffic, consider to ride with others and stay in the middle of the group.
Choose the route wisely
- When your are back to ride after years of sedentary, consider riding on the flat first. Once after certain body weight is lost, your can start on rolling hills, and then the mountains and steep hills.
- Avoid steep uphill and/or downhill when your are riding on the bikes with rim brakes in the rain. Sand and gravel left in winter time on road shoulders could be slippery to road tires when the gradient of the road goes up.
Potential dangers to avoid
- Avoid riding over gutters with narrow road tires! Those gutters will catch your wheel, and your will fall down.
- Avoid over metal sewer covers especially those are plain flat and when the road is not dried up. Those covers are slippery as ice when wet.
- Avoid sudden stops and shape turns on painted patches during rain. Pavement paint is plastics and is treachery to ride on when wet.
- Keep a meter of distance from the doors of parked cars. Many cyclists, even motorcyclists, get hurt or killed by being doored!
- Train rails are metal objects. Again, they are slippery when wet. Approach train rails at 90 degrees angle to the running direction. Don’t stop on the rails, your should ride pass across them. Practice this more, it would be tricky since rails sometimes are at an angle with the road!
- Potholes could be hidden under puddles! Don’t ride across the puddles.
Yield to the buses
A bus sometimes cut into your lane in front of you for a stop. In that situation, in my opinion, you are better off staying behind the bus until it goes. Chances are you never know the bus would cut into your lane right after you try to pass the bus. Tragedy could happen if you got hit by the bus, and then a car behind you couldn’t stop and rolls over you. I heard a sad story about a cyclist losing a leg because of that tragedy.
To see the road and to be seen too
- If your ride your bike in the dark, mount the front light to see the road and rear light to let others see your.
- Ride with clothes with reflective strips or on bikes with reflective stickers on.
- In urban settings, lower the brightness of your front light but good enough to see the road. Front lights should be pointing to the road, and never to the automobile drivers. Blinding drivers with strong front light will make your more dangerous.
- Learn how to ride with one hand on the handlebar first.
- Hand signals are the same as automobile drivers make. Left arm straight to the left to make left turn. Left elbow up or right arm straight to the right to make right turns. Elbow down to signal a stop, left or right arm doesn’t matter here. Make hand signal more than once before turning or stopping if possible to let vehicle drivers know at advance.
Right of the way
- In north America, keep riding on the right shoulder of the road unless your make left turns or on shared single lane.
- Ride on the bicycle lane if there is. Be careful to watch the cars that turn right, they will hit the cycle lane before making right.
- You got as much right as other road users. When riding on a single lane, stay in the middle of the lane. That’s the safest position to ride on a single lane.
Never stop on the crossing when you walk your bike
When you have a chance to walk your bike on the crossing, you have to make a complete cross. If there are things you forgot to do coming up in your mind, never stop in the middle of crossing and turn back to where you started. Chances are automobile drivers are not expecting you to make a turn back and hit you on the crossing. My advice here also applies to pedestrians.
Hopefully, the tips above are helpful to ride you safe. Smile! Enjoy yourself to keep riding. More articles for beginners are coming, stay tuned.