Cycling is a dangerous sport, that can’t be denied.
Moving at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, our two-wheeled mean machines must compete on a daily basis with traffic, pedestrians and yet more traffic. Even the most casual of rides come with a litany of risks to avoid. The roads themselves can be a threat to both our bikes and ourselves. Potholes, puddles, broken glass and needles lie in wait to puncture, pierce and poke our tires leading to expensive replacements and awful inconveniences.
With all this danger on the road, is there a dead certain way to avoid calamity?
Here are 5 Helpful Tips that will aid you in your journey of peril:
Cycling is not a lifestyle choice, its a calculated risk that we take on a daily basis. Like driving a car, swimming in the sea or rock climbing – necessary precautions should be taken before embarking on a journey. The gear is out there to buy, so invest.
A helmet is not required by UK law, but it should be. Even the hardest ones won’t save you from a collision with a vehicle, but it can reduce damage from speeds up to 12mph. Gloves, knee pads, gum shields and chest padding can all be purchased at reasonable rates.
Keep Your Eyes On The Road
This may seem likely slightly redundant advice, but its something that a great deal of cyclists forget to do. When the sun breaks through the clouds on a previously damp morning, the rays can reflect off the water logged potholes and divets in the road – dazzling the unaware cyclist.
The wrong time, the wrong place – you could find yourself at the business end of 3,000 kg Fiat Ducato travelling at 40mph. Sunglasses and keen peripheral vision can help combat the chance of this happening – but you will never be entirely safe – so stay vigilant.
Maintain Your Bike
Before you leave the house on your morning cycle, there’s one thing you need to do. More important than brushing your teeth, eating your breakfast, or kissing your wife/son/husband/dog
/hamster good bye – you need to check your bike for faults.
Overtime bearings can loosen, tires can flatten, brake pads can wear and chains can stick. If you want to avoid any dangerous mid-traffic breakdowns, then its imperative that you run through an extensive check list before setting out on the road.
Plan Your Route
Regardless of whether you’re on your usual commute to work or a 100-mile cross country trek, familiarising yourself with your route is an important part of cycle preparation. Once you know your route off by heart, rehearse it in your mind – remember each curve in the road, each landmark and each danger point.
The more you prepare for your journey, the more you can reduce the risk of an incident. Don’t rely on road signs or directions from pedestrians to get you on your way. Its a known fact that 30% of all road signs have been switched, Looney Tunes-style and over 45% of all pedestrians are mostly having you on, and wish nothing but ill-will towards you.
Last, but not least, just cycle safely. Don’t cycle too fast. Try not to pull out in front of cars. Indicate carefully and clearly. Obey the rules of the Highway Code, they apply to you as much as the cars. Don’t run red lights, they’re for you as well. Don’t weave in and out of stationary traffic, you’re not Trinity in The Matrix Films.
It’s really as simple as that. Follow these tips and you’ll be 100% safer on the road and 200% better than most other cyclists out there.