Today's guest post is a wonderful guide on general cycling safety from probikefit.com.
Your Guide to Bike Trail Safety
Whether you are planning to test your strength and stamina by tackling the more challenging routes near your home or explore the easier ones at a leisurely pace, it is a good idea to think about basic safety precautions before setting off. Sticking to cycle trails may help you to avoid some of the dangers of the road, such as careless motorists and pedestrians, but there are other things that you need to consider when exploring the countryside on two wheels.
• Preparation – This point applies to all routes but especially to the longer and more demanding ones. Make sure to study the trail carefully while you are still at home so that you are aware of any obstacles and the type of surfaces that you will encounter. Take note of the weather forecast and dress appropriately. If you already own some decent racing bike clothing that is waterproof, you can probably use it when tackling cross country trails. If not, you might like to invest in some good quality garments to keep you warm and dry.
• Safety gear – If you are new to cycling and do not have any equipment yet, one of the first items that you should buy is a cycle helmet. Although it possible to find cheap examples, both on-line and in physical stores across the country, it is better to economise in other areas as a good quality helmet could literally save your life.
• Cycle maintenance – It is important to ensure that your machine is in good working order before setting off. You will not want to have to deal with mechanical problems when all your focus should be on the track ahead of you. A careful visual inspection is a good start and will help you to spot any obvious faults. However, it is also worth testing each moving part individually to make sure it is functioning properly. If you will be tacking steep gradients, pay particular attention to the brakes and gears.
• Food and water – For longer routes, make sure that you take adequate supplies with you. Cycling on a hot day can lead to dehydration if you do not take on enough liquids during the ride and carbohydrate-rich snacks will help to ensure that your energy levels do not drop too quickly.
• Stay alert – All your preparation could be in vain if you fail to pay attention to your surroundings when you are tackling off-road trails. You should focus on the terrain at all times to ensure that you have time to avoid any unexpected obstacles and you should also keep an eye out for other people along the way. If the route that you have chosen bisects or follows any bridleways, make sure that you are ready to take evasive action if you should happen to come face to face with a horse and rider.
About the Author
Founded in the early 90s, ProBikeKit is a leading road cycling expert, offering the best range and advice on a huge variety of biking components.