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  • Preparation
    • If your bike is new, take it on a few short trips around the neighborhood before venturing into traffic or going on an extended ride Getting used to your bike takes time.
    • If your bike is of a certain age, check the tires for bald spots.
    • Clean your bike Grime caught into the chain or between the brakes and tires will could cause for poor performance.
    • Before setting off, put your helmet on and tighten the safety straps A helmet that isn’t properly strapped on is worthless.
    • If you are planning a biking vacation with a backpack, take the bag along on your rides Driving with a load takes getting used to.
    • Before setting off, check the air in the tires and the tightness of the brakes.
  • Gear / Equipment
    • Bike Choose the right one for your activity – mountain bikes have different tires and structural strengths than bikes for city riding.
    • Shoes These should have a closed toe, flat sole and no heel.
    • Apparel Choose clothing that is bright and tight fitting, to make you visible in traffic and to prevent loose ends getting tangled.
  • Things to Pack
    • ID Whether you take a leisurely ride or plan a trip over several miles, it is recommended that you have identification and contact information on you.
    • Communication Take your phone with you. A cell phone doesn’t take up much room but might come in handy should you need help.
    • Sunscreen In summer the speed of which a bike moves may keep you cool, but you are still exposed to harmful sun rays and you need to protect your skin.
    • Warm clothing In winter you may want to wear protective clothing as you catch more wind riding than walking. Warm gloves are imperative to protect your hands.
  • Fix-it Kit.
    • Spanner, spoke wrench and chain whip These can fix most mechanical problems.
    • Pedal Spares can save a ride in case of trouble.
    • Sandpaper, glue, and patch If you get a puncture in your tire, you can fix it yourself.
    • Air pump Invaluable if you get a flat tire or a slow leak.
  • Safety Tips
    • Kid safety Always accompany a child on a bike, never let a young child ride on his or her own.
    • Street safety Respect traffic laws and teach the laws to your children. Traffic laws are there to keep you safe. Always stop at a red light and a stop street.
    • Ride in a single line If you are in group, resist driving next to each other. Not only is the outside driver more likely to be hit by a car, if your bikes make contact with each other you may get tangled up and fall.
    • Baggage If you’re planning on transporting groceries with your bike, get a basket. Never hang packets from the handlebars.
  • Night Riding
    • Bright clothing Be as visible as possible. Avoid any type of dark colors for night riding. White and yellow is best as they are most visible for other drivers.
    • Reflectors Make use of reflective arm and leg bands. You can also make use of reflective stickers that can be attached to your back, arms and legs. For total visibility, wear a reflective vest.
    • Reflective tape Even though your bike is already fitted with reflectors, you can add more for extra visibility.
    • Pay attention Be aware of your surroundings. If possible stick to a bike lane and be careful.
    • Sobriety Don’t drink and drive. This rule is not just for car drivers, it applies to bike riders too.

Biking is more than a means of transportation.  It’s great exercise for your heart and lungs and the muscles in your arms, back and legs.Biking can help you with shedding a few pounds and improving your overall health. Young and old can enjoy a bike ride as riding a bike is not as physically demanding as running, so the exercise puts less strain on the heart. In addition to biking being good for you, it is also good for the environment. Distance permitting, you can cycle to work, use your bike for light shopping trips or to visit local relatives and friends. To stay safe while cycling, safety measure should be observed. This checklist can help you plan the perfect ride:

Tips

A helmet should always be worn.  Whether you planning on traveling down the street or cross country, a helmet will protect your head should you fall off your bike. For comfortable cycling, your bike should fit your size and the purpose for which it is needed.  If you have mountain biking in mind you will obviously need a different bike than if you just want to drive around in the city. Giving your bike a quick ones over for short trips and a thorough safety inspection before going on an extended trip is recommended.  Wheels and handle bars should be properly aligned and the seat should be steady.  The brakes should be in working order and the tires should have sufficient air.  Be sure that the front and back light is in working order and that side reflectors are fitted.  Being visible to other road users in the dark is important. Regularly take your bike for a maintenance check-up.  The chain may need oiling or shortening, as it stretches over time.  The tires and brakes may need replacing.  Stick to the cycling section of the road, don’t weave in and out of traffic and do stop for red lights.  Those light are not just for cars, they are for bikes too.  For good visibility, wear bright clothing and do not wear anything that can get caught in the wheels or chain of the bike.

Bike Safety Checklist
  John F. Smith


on December 22, 2011

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