The Dos and Don’ts of Cycling

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I’ve spent the last six months riding my two-wheeler in my neighborhood. And I’ve learned that cycling is more than just turning pedals and getting wheels moving.

I’ve had to keep up with some dos and don’ts of cycling, and I can say for sure that I’m a better cyclist today than I was six months ago. 

I want to share these dos and don’ts with you, and I hope they can make you become a better bike rider just as I’ve become. 

Let’s get to it. 

The Dos of Cycling

Do Wear a Bike Helmet

I’ve fallen from my bike twice, and I can only imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t worn a helmet in those two instances. Although I haven’t had another crush in a long time, my bike helmet is a must-have accessory that I bring on any ride. 

You won’t get a ticket for riding a bike without a helmet. But it’s important to have one for your own safety. According to the Guardian, bike helmet can lower the risk of fatal head injuries by up to 70%, therefore making it one of the most important cycling accessories. 

It’s not just the head safety of adults that matter when it comes to cycling. The law requires that every teenager must wear a helmet before taking their bikes to the streets. Or, they’ll get a ticket if they fail to do so. If you have a child that loves cycling, get them a kids’ bike helmet that fits. 

Do Install Lights on Your Bike

I like to be as visible as possible when cycling at night and in areas with low light. So I’ve made sure that my two-wheeler has the best bike lights installed. To be clear, the law requires that every cyclist must have lights fixed on their bike, and failure to do so will definitely get you a ticket. 

You can have both rear and front lights installed, but give more priority to the front setup. Keep an eye on the lumens of the light you choose. The higher the value, the brighter it’s likely to be. Also, make sure the light is visible from at least 100 feet away. This will make it easy for other road users to spot you and drive/ride past you safely. 

Bike lights aren’t expensive, so you don’t have a good reason not to have them fixed on your bike. At the end of the day, it’s a safety gadget that you can’t cycle without, so get one if you haven’t yet. 

Do Check the Weather 

One thing I do before I take my bike to the street is to check the weather. Doing so not only helps me to determine if the outdoors is friendly for a bike ride, but also I’m able to decide the cycling clothes to wear. I know exactly when to wear my cycling jersey and when to bring a cycling jacket on a ride.

It may also be a good idea to wear cycling gloves if it’s cold out there, a case that’s particularly true if you live in arctic environment. As for gloves, I don’t recommend wearing the fingerless ones. You had rather go for the models that cover your fingers to keep you warm throughout the ride. 

Do Plan Your Routes, Always

One of the things that I have to do before I ride my bike is to know my route, right from my origin to my destination and back. This is handy because it helps me to determine just how far I have to ride my bike. 

You should do the same thing. Understand the condition of the road better before you take your bike to the street. Avoid roads with a lot of traffic and consider cycling in an area with slow speed limits.  

If you’re just getting started and you have no idea how to map your route, ask a few cyclist friends for help. You can also get commute routes from apps like Strava. 

The last thing you want to do is to tour the route first. This will enable you to understand the condition of the road. 

Do Wear a Fitness Tracker

Is a cycling activity tracker a must-have? Well, it’s not. But it can make a great addition to your cycling kit. Thanks to its ability to track cycling performance, a fitness tracker can help you count calories burned, total distance covered, and even your heart rate during cycling. 

So while it’s not as mandatory as a bike helmet, I do recommend getting one if you want to collect your cycling stats.  

Remember, fitness trackers aren’t made equal. They vary in features and prices, so it’s important to check top customer reviews on sites like Amazon before you buy one. 

The Don’ts of Bike Riding

Don’t Wear Dark Clothes for Cycling

The worst mistake you can make is to wear dark attires for cycling. You need to be visible all the time, so anything dark should be a no-no. Invest in bright shorts and jerseys. If possible, go for the ones that have reflectors. These usually make it very easy for other road users to spot you even at night. 

Don’t Ride Aggressively

Just because your bike has 24 gears with Shimano shifter doesn’t mean it’s an opportunity to hit the streets aggressively. Riding at top speeds is fine, but only do so when it’s absolutely necessary. Remember that you even have traffic rules to observe, and you can’t keep up if you ride your bike recklessly. Also, make sure you use proper hand signals to communicate the right message. And always let cars have their right way. 

Don’t Forget to Give the Chains a Treat

Would you be comfortable riding your bike with rattling and possibly rusty chains? No, you wouldn’t. So you shouldn’t forget to tune up your bike chains when you have to. All you have to do is to clean and lube them properly, and you’ll be good to go. 

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