Riding a bike is a fun way to move your body, get your blood pumping and improve your health. The many benefits of cycling include improved circulation, increased lung capacity, healthier heart function, lower blood pressure, and more toned muscles. These benefits are great for anyone of any age or ability, with the outdoor nature of cycling bringing a host of health boosting qualities.
However, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with cycling, and how you can best overcome these. Here are five safety tips to become a safe cyclist.
Although it can be easy to get carried away while you’re busy enjoying the fresh air, it’s essential to not push yourself too hard. Begin with routes that are short and not too strenuous – this will help you train your body to get used to the feel of a bike. If you notice any pain while riding, don’t ignore it – just bring your ride to an early finish.
Children especially will need to gradually increase their speed and distance over time to ensure they keep control and avoid injury. No matter your age, if you are unsure if cycling is the right exercise for you, be sure to check with your doctor for peace of mind.
Make sure you’re using a bike that is in top condition. It’s important to have your bike checked for any malfunctions that could potentially lead to accidents and have an expert assess if the bike is the right fit for your size and shape. It’s recommended to get your bike serviced once or twice a year, to ensure it remains in great condition.
You will also need to consider the way in which you store your bike. Using storage that isn’t fit for its proper purpose can result in your bike becoming damaged, and potentially unsafe to ride. In addition, be sure to keep your bike locked away safely out of sight when not in use, to deter any potential thieves.
There’s little doubt that riding a bike can help you soak up the benefits of being outdoors, either as a family or on your own. But it’s important to make sure you explore safely. Public bike paths and woodland tracks are ideal, but if you venture off the path then be sure to keep a close eye on any little ones cycling with you.
Avoid cycling near rivers, deep ditches or through dense woodland, where brambles and stinging nettles may be in abundance. It’s also a good idea to have a fully-charged mobile phone on you, with your GPS location shared with a friend or loved one in case you run into difficulty or become lost. Being a safe cyclist means being aware of your surroundings and being alert.
Many people have false interpretations of the rules of the road, but to be a safe cyclist, it’s vital to know your legal rights and obligations when out and about on your bike. If you’re going to be cycling on roads, make sure you wear a helmet and that your bike has working brakes, lights, and reflectors as necessary. Also, use hand signals to let vehicles know if you’re turning or changing lanes. Always make your presence known if passing a pedestrian or other cyclist on a bike path, and be sure to follow all the lights and signs as you would in a car. And lastly, never ride your bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Electric bikes have become increasingly popular with riders as they allow people to experience longer and more challenging rides without risking an injury. This new technology isn’t just a gimmick – it’s helping lots of people to explore their passion for cycling, while minimizing some of the risks.
These bikes can be used to take some of the weight off your feet to make pedalling easier, with a little extra boost provided by an electric motor. They are especially useful for helping you to scale steep hills without tiring yourself out – perfect for adventurous pedalers. While e-bikes are typically more expensive than traditional bicycles, the added benefits could encourage riders to get out on two wheels more often, making them a worthwhile investment for many.
Cycling should be a fun, liberating activity, allowing you to explore more of the great outdoors at your own pace. But ignoring the dangers could increase your risk of sustaining a serious injury. Follow these tips to enjoy a safer ride, and be sure to share them with your cycling companions. Riding as a safe cyclist ensures you years of joy while out on the open road!
Alice Truman – Alice works as a cycling instructor for young people, helping to educate them on how to enjoy their bikes safely both in the countryside and urban areas. An avid cyclist herself, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and wisdom to help promote the health benefits of cycling and make it more accessible to all.