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What Every Bicycle Rider Should Know

Updated on June 3, 2014

On the Road Repair

  • On the road repair – Unless you are riding around the block and never plan to go more than a mile away a minimal repair kit is a good idea.
    • What should you carry? It all depends on what kind of riding you have in mind.
      • If you are riding locally, say a ride in the park or in your neighborhood then you can get away with nothing.
      • The farther you ride the more important a tool kit becomes. Having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere is no fun at all.
      • Scaling the supply of tools and repair items to the type of riding and distance traveled is important.
    • Okay, so what do you carry?
      • At minimum a small wrench, tire pry bars, a patch kit or spare inner tube and some sort of hand pump or cartridge compressed air inflator.
      • Learn how to repair or replace an inner tube before you have to do it in an emergency. Practice tells you if you have everything you need.

Clothing

  • What do you wear? – Again it depends on what kind of riding you plan on doing. Local rides that are less than a mile don’t require anything special aside from measures to keep your pant leg from catching in the chain. You can roll your pant leg up on that side or use an elastic band around your ankle to hold the fabric. There are special straps available if you don’t mind spending a little money.

In warm weather a regular pair of shorts and a short-sleeved shirt works just fine. A pair of fingerless gloves is a really good idea. They will prevent your hand from getting chewed up if you fall. Scraped or gouged hands are painful and slow to heal.

  • Head protection – It is mandatory in some states, in others it is a personal choice. In my opinion it is a good idea. Once you’ve bumped your head on the ground you will never go without a helmet again. Even a bump really hurts. Try to image the pain when you crack your skull. It is very easy to have an accident that will hit your head. Most bicycle fatalities involve major head injuries.

Cell Phone

Carry a fully charged cell phone. Smart phones that can be traced to your location are a great idea. Or at least have one that can display your position on a map that you can use to direct someone to come help you. But really any cell phone is useful. It’s got me out of a jam at least once

Be Aware

  • Situational awareness is a fancy term for Pay Attention. Legally a bicycle is regarded as a vehicle and as such is required to obey the traffic laws.
    • Watch where you are riding and avoid broken glass, potholes and other road hazards.
      • Don’t wear headphones because you won’t be able to hear approaching cars behind you.
      • Don’t allow you friends who are riding with you to distract you.
      • Watch the traffic not the good-looking person off the side of the road. I had a buddy crash hard because he was watching a pretty girl.
    • Drivers are hard to predict.
      • A car turning into you is a common danger
      • So is a driver opening his door in front of you
      • Eventually you learn to judge the distance of a car approaching from the rear by how it sounds. I avoided being hit by a motorcyclist because I could hear that he was too loud and therefore too close and I was able to twitch the bike to the right just as his handlebar passed by where my left kidney had been moments before.

The Importance of Having Fun

Bicycling riding is not all business and danger, far from it. It is a fun activity. Most people ride a bicycle because they enjoy it. It is one of the best ways to have a really good day and still get some exercise.

Even if you are only riding around the neighborhood or in the park the basic concepts still apply. If you want to be safer then pay attention and use common sense. You will still have fun and a nice day riding.

Bicycle Accidents

What Kind of Bicycle Accident Have You Experienced?

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