Cycling is an excellent form of exercise and a great way to get around town. But before you hit the open road, there are some things you should know about safe cycling practices. In this article, we’ll cover everything from choosing the right bike and gear to reviewing the rules of the road. With the proper preparation, you can start pedaling with confidence and enjoy your ride.
Choose the right bike
First, you’ll need to choose the right bike for you. Make sure it fits properly by sitting on the seat and placing both feet flat on the ground. The seat height should be adjusted so that when pedaling, you can have minimal bending of your knee in its furthest extension. When selecting a bike, consider the type of riding you plan to do. A road bike is lightweight and fast, while a mountain bike has thicker tires and sturdier brakes suitable for off-road trails.
For instance, if your main goal is commuting, a hybrid bike offers the best of both worlds. It’s designed to handle paved roads and light trails with ease.
Know the cycling laws in your county
When you’re out on the open road, it’s important to know and follow the cycling laws in your county. This includes wearing a helmet at all times, keeping to the right side of the road, and signaling before making turns or stops.
In some counties, cyclists are required to have lights when riding at night. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with bike paths and bike lanes in your area. Namely, the legal right for cyclists in Michigan states that helmets are not required for cyclists over the age of 18, but it is still highly recommended. The law also states that cyclists should stay on the right side of the road and use hand signals when turning.
Pick the right gear
Make sure you have all the necessary cycling gear before heading out on your ride. A helmet is essential for protecting your head in case of an accident. You’ll also want to wear light, airy clothes that can be easily seen by drivers and other cyclists. Consider investing in cycling shoes as well, which will provide extra grip and support while pedaling.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in the popularity of bike-sharing programs. While convenient, shared bikes may not always be maintained properly and may lack certain safety features such as helmets or locks. Before you take a ride on one of these bikes, make sure it’s safe and inspected for potential defects.
Follow local laws
Before you start riding your bike, make sure you know the laws in your area. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road and any bike-specific regulations in your city. Remember to obey all laws, including speed limits and stop signs. Always yield to pedestrians and other cyclists on shared paths, and be aware of vehicles on the roads around you.
Even more so than cars, cyclists must be especially mindful of their surroundings. Keep your eyes on the road and use hand signals to alert other riders and drivers of your presence.
If you plan on riding in low-light conditions, make sure to wear reflective gear so that you can be easily seen. Consider investing in a set of lights for the front and rear of your bike to make it even more visible. You can also add reflective tape to your pedals, frame, and other parts of your bike to increase visibility.
Learn basic maintenance
It’s important to stay on top of routine bike maintenance in order to ensure your safety. This includes inspecting your brakes, tires, chain, and gears regularly. Additionally, make sure that all nuts and bolts are tightened properly before each ride. You can also learn how to perform minor repairs such as changing a tire, patching a tube, and adjusting the brakes. This way, you’ll have the knowledge to get back on the road quickly in case of an emergency.
Practice good habits
Once you’ve gotten the hang of cycling, you can start building good habits. Always maintain a safe distance from cars when riding on the road. Use hand signals to indicate your direction, and wear reflective clothing at night or during low-light hours. Finally, be sure to check your bike before each ride for any loose parts or flat tires that could cause an accident.
In conclusion, if you’re looking to take up cycling as a hobby or form of exercise, it’s important to remember the safety measures that go along with it. Research your local laws and make sure you have the right gear, such as a helmet and lights. Follow traffic rules, practice good habits, and stay visible to other cyclists and drivers. With proper preparation and care, cycling can be a safe and enjoyable activity for all ages.