Published on May 20, 2016
Now that warm weather is officially here, it calls for all cyclists to grab their gear and get ready for the upcoming cycling season! Before you start out on the road, here are a few tips for a safe ride:
- Get your bike in shape first
- Cleaning – Before you take your bike out of your garage, the storage locker, the basement, etc., it is a good idea to clean away any gunk, dust or debris that has built up on the brakes and gears. Wipe down the whole bike with a damp cloth and clean up the gears using a degreaser.
- Tuning – Your local bike shop can tune-up the bike or if you have the experience, it can be done at home. With a tune up, make sure you or your local shop give the bicycle a thorough inspection, cleaning, and replacement or repair if needed of the tires, tubes, breaks, cables, pedals and seat. Pay special attention to the chain and make sure you use a chain lubricant designed for bicycles to coat the entire chain.
- Fitting – All levels of riders can benefit from a professional bike fitting. Your skill and fitness levels can change from season to season and bike fitting will help set your bike to your specific physical demands, to increase endurance and decrease the chance of injury. While an annual or biannual bike fitting is recommended, many recreational cyclists can get away with making their own minor adjustments during the tune-up.
- Take it slow to start
- Start with flat roads, avoid hills and stop at the first sign of any physical pain.
- In early spring, off road trails are most likely not dry enough and often muddy, slushy and icy from winter snow. Bike on roads and paved trails instead until trail conditions becomes more favourable and safer.
- Spring brings unpredictable and quickly changing weather conditions, so be prepared. Always dress in light waterproof layers and take care to ensure you are visible — especially at night. Make sure your bike has lights – both front and back, and replace or recharge the batteries so they are fresh.
- There are numerous free weather apps you can download to your phone to check the weather before you get on the road and be prepared for sudden or unexpected weather changes.
- For longer rides, for example, if you plan to ride an hour or more from home, or to ride in inclement conditions, bring these few things along: a space blanket, energy bars, extra water, duct tape, plastic zip ties (for simple fixing), spare cash and a charged cell phone.
Have a safe and happy cycling season!
Joyce Lee, BSc, DC, CSCS
CMCC Research Program
Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
6100 Leslie St.