So you’ve decided to start bicycling as your main mode of transportation. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, there are a few things you need to know before hitting the streets. This guide will provide you with all the necessary information to make your cycling experience safe and enjoyable.
1) Familiarize Yourself With The Rules of the Road
Cycling on the street can be intimidating, but it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road. In most cases, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Be sure to know which lanes you can use, how to yield to pedestrians and cars, and when it’s safe to ride in traffic.
2) Get A Good Bike
Not all bikes are created equal. If you’re new to cycling, it’s important to invest in a good-quality bike that fits your needs. You’ll want a bike that is comfortable to ride, has multiple gears for different terrains and is equipped with reflectors and a light for night rides.
3) Wear a Helmet
In some states, it is required by law to wear a helmet while cycling. While many people don’t like wearing helmets, they can prevent serious injuries and fatalities from accidents. Even if it’s not required where you live, make sure you’re wearing a certified bicycle helmet every time you ride.
4) Learn the Rules of Survival
Knowing what to do in case of an accident will save your life and keep you out of legal trouble. Always remember: cyclists have the same rights as motorists and pedestrians and must obey traffic laws at all times. When riding on congested streets, always give yourself plenty of space between you and cars so that collisions can be avoided. Be courteous by giving hand signals for turns and stops, as well as ringing your bell to warn pedestrians and motorists of your presence.
5) Stay Visible
One of the most important things you can do as a cyclist is stay visible. Wear bright clothes during the day and reflective gear at night. Make sure your bike has reflectors on the front, back and sides. And use bicycle lights when riding in low-light conditions.
6) Plan Your Route
Before you start cycling, take some time to plan out a safe route. Avoid busy streets with high levels of traffic and try to stick to bike lanes or designated cycling routes whenever possible. If you’re not familiar with the area, be sure to print out a map of your route so you won’t get lost.
7) Take a Cycling Class
If you’re completely new to cycling, taking a class is a good way to learn the basics and get comfortable riding your bike. There are many adult cycling classes that provide instruction on how to ride safely and comfortably in traffic. The League of American Bicyclists provides a directory of state-specific bicycling education programs.
8) Rest and Hydrate Properly
After a long ride, it’s important for cyclists to rest and hydrate properly. Make sure you’ve eaten plenty of food and brought enough water or sports drinks with you to last throughout your exercise routine. You should also stretch out your muscles after every ride as this will help prevent discomfort from tightness or soreness later on.
Although cycling can seem like a daunting task, following these tips will help make the experience safer and more enjoyable. So get on your bike and hit the road!