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Tag Archive: tips

Vulnerable on the Road Awareness Message from PeopleForBikes.org

In my inbox this morning from PeopleForBikes.org was an interesting public awareness video message – “Vulnerable on the Open Road” – in which “five professional U.S. cyclists reflect on their experiences with bicycle safety.. The riders share their visions for better bicycling conditions and lessons for safer motorist-bicyclist interactions.”

Their advice:
* “Slow down” – this goes for bicyclists and drivers, too
* “Drivers need to understand that cyclists are traffic on the roads”
* “Get more people on bikes so that it’s a normal thing for you(drivers) to pay attention to cyclists on the road”
* “Education”
* “Training or living in a community with really good bike infrastructure with bike lanes, with easy routes in and out of town to be accessible on your bike…. above all it keeps everyone safer – it keeps the motorists moving smoothly and it keeps the bike riders safe; if things are safe and things are easy, we’re going to ride our bikes more, for sure.”
* “I think it’s crazy for people not to ride bikes. Bikes are just amazing things that can transform your life. The benefits of riding your bike definitely outweigh the risks of being out there with cars for me.” (this advice is my personal favorite!)
* “I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people think that as a cyclist that we don’t drive cars”
* “You have to respect everybody on the open road and if we all work together, we can all enjoy exactly what we’re doing and go along with our lives without interrupting each other.”

Even though these riders are the top 1% of bicyclists, their advice—slow down, be aware, don’t blow through red lights, build more infrastructure, get more people riding—applies to anyone who likes to enjoy the simple pleasure of a bike ride.

Would you add any points to this advice list? I think it applies to all road users… especially the need for RESPECT by all and for all on our roadways.

Have a respectful ride.

Beginner Tip-Pace yourself

One of the mistakes I used to do when I first started bike commuting was trying to get to my destination as fast as possible. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to beat your time or use your bike commuting for training, but for the bike commuter who just started, you may want to pace yourself.

Why? Well there’s a few reasons. The biggest one for me was that if I went balls out on the first leg of my commute, I’d find myself getting way too tired before arriving at my destination. That poses as a problem because I would find myself way too tired to keep riding. Which made me stop to rest or have to buy a Redbull or Monster just so I can finish the rest of the ride. Another reason to pace yourself was I got way too sweaty. One of the things I hated was arriving at my destination dripping in sweat. This mattered to me because my work place doesn’t have a shower. If it did, then I’d roll out of bed, get on my bike, ride fast and just take my showers at work.

Now you’re probably wondering, “how do I pace myself?” For me, and this could be an entirely different experience for other riders, but what I do is I find the right cadence while riding. I’m not pushing too hard or going too easy. Basically I’m cruising around 14-17mph an hour.

I do hope that this little tip will help out our new bike commuter friends. Enjoy your ride!

Let’s Bike!

Sometimes we seasoned bike commuters can forget what it’s like to be newbie out there or someone on the fringe considering getting on a bike again (perhaps for the first time since childhood).

This afternoon my work has asked me to do a presentation on bike basics for my fellow staff, focusing on what you need to get out and enjoy biking. It’s aptly being called “Let’s Bike!” and will include:

* Best bicycle choices for you
* How to get the best bicycle fit
* What bicycle gear you need
* What are the best routes
* Ways to stay safe

I’ll admit that I’m a bit overwhelmed… as I have so much enthusiasm for this topic and maybe too much to share. Now I’m trying to stay focused and keep this presentation cohesive.

So, I turn to you – the experts – for your tips/suggestions. What are your best “basic” tips/suggestions? Or what is best bike gear (or non-bike gear) suggestion that makes your ride that much better or more enjoyable?

Thanks to you all for your comments and helping folks everywhere make it easier to “Let’s Bike!”

(hopefully this post will help us continue with a series of more in-depth articles on basic commuter skills)

Winter Biking Primer from Chicago

Streetfilms recently did some filming in Chicago and I love the resulting video about the joys and ease of winter riding that they put together:

I particularly agree with the comment about bike commuting helping to ease the “winter blahs” (at minute-mark 2:08).

Final note about riding in single digits vs. snow (minute 4:01). Last Friday at 7-degrees on the bone-dry roads I felt warmer than I did yesterday when it hovered close to 30 but stayed damp all day.