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Cycling 101 

Biking 101: Tips for Getting Fit, Staying Safe, and Having Fun while Cycling

Make sure your bike is road ready.

Check your tire pressure, and make sure they aren’t under-inflated or over-inflated. Set your bike seat at a comfortable height. Check your brakes to ensure they’re in good working order. Ensure that your chain is well lubricated. Remember to bring a bike lock if you’re going to be stopping somewhere along the way. Taking the time before you leave will reduce the possibility of a headache later!

Wear a helmet.

Although some people argue whether or not it’s truly safer, there are others that passionately advocate for wearing a helmet when cycling. In some states, it’s required – especially if you have young children riding with you. Ultimately the choice is up to you, but it’s important to remember that as a cyclist you’re completely exposed. A helmet provides added protection for your precious brain, and we think your head is pretty great!

Bring water.

You may not seem to sweat as much when you’re biking as when you’re jogging or lifting weights, but you’ll definitely want to stay hydrated. You won’t want to be parched after climbing an unexpected hill, or pedaling faster to catch up with your biking friends. For a refreshing twist (and to help entice you to reach for that water bottle), add some True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade to your water!

Remember your lights!

In many places, it is required by law to use bike lights after dark. You should have a red light in the rear, and a white light in the front of your bicycle. It is difficult for drivers to see cyclists at night, so this is a key component in staying safe on the road.

Act like a car.

Bicycles are considered road vehicles, just like cars and trucks. Come to a stop at stop lights and stop signs. Yield to pedestrians. Signal when turning. Stay to the right of the lane, but move to the left side of the lane when turning left. You wouldn’t drive on the sidewalk, so do not bike on the sidewalk! This is dangerous for both crossing in front of stopped cars, and for pedestrians – and in most cities, it’s illegal. Also, bike in the same direction as traffic!

Always signal.

This is one of the easiest ways to avoid collisions, with cars as well as other bikers. All biking signals are done with your left arm only, so be sure to keep your right hand on the handlebars for stability.

  • To turn left, extend your left arm straight out to your side, parallel to the ground.
  • To turn right, extend your left arm straight from your shoulder with the elbow bent and your left hand pointing straight up. Your arm will form an “L” shape. If you are crossing lanes of traffic to prepare to turn left, begin signaling when you see that your path is clear to make drivers aware that you’re cutting across.

Respect other cyclists.

Use a bike horn or bell when you’re passing another cyclist, or speak up to make them aware that you’re passing. Since cyclists should always bike on the right side of the lane, always pass other bikers on the left. On a one-way street, pass fellow bikers on the side of traffic, never between the biker and parked cars. Always check for cars behind you before merging with traffic to pass.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Don’t use headphones, as this can limit your ability to hear when other cars or bikers are present. Ride closer to the center of the street when there are cars parked on the right, and be sure to keep an eye out for people that might open their doors. Be aware of riding in drivers’ blind spots, especially when drivers are turning right when at a stoplight. Often times bike lanes are on the right side of the road, and the driver may not notice before they turn in front of you.

Bring a tool kit!

If you’re biking for more than a mile or two, you may find a repair kit helpful to bring along. If you’re not sure how to fix a flat, consider taking a bicycling basics class at a local bike shop, or make a note of repair shops that are in the area in which you are headed.

Use common sense.

If you’re coming to a blind corner or alleyway, slow down and check for cars. If a car is stopped at an intersection where you’re passing, be sure the driver sees that you’re coming by making eye contact. And we shouldn’t even have to say this, but do not text and bike!

HAVE FUN!

Cycling is about getting outside and enjoying yourself! Being safe is not just about taking these precautionary steps, but it’s also about not stressing out. Relax, have fun, smile, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

For more information, Bicycle Safe has an excellent and fully detailed list of how to avoid accidents. Cycling is also a wonderful way to explore a new city (and stay in shape) while on vacation.

Register for the US Historic Bike Tour 

Click here to sign up for the Virtual Tour.

Register Today for this amazing experience:

  • Breathtaking ride through the grounds of the national monuments. Enjoy the history, impressive architecture, impeccable landscaping and lush gardens in their autumn glory.
  • An insider’s guided tour bringing riders up close to all the classic photographic locations as well as off the beaten path gems.
  • It will be Covid-19 compliant and social distancing guidelines will apply.
  • Carefully planned, family friendly to accommodate both the avid and casual biker.
  • Total complete distance 12.5 miles (3 hr tour) but shorter route options will be available.
  • Virtual option which will allow participation from anywhere in the world. If interested, participants will have from 10/4 to 10/18 to complete an equivalent 12.5 mile Bike, Run or Walk anywhere in the world and post a pic with the hashtag, #OperationSWRbiketour.
  • Commemorative event T-shirts and other paraphernalia will be provided.