Road cycling has continued to increase in popularity.
It has grown so rapidly with an overwhelming turnout of cyclists every wekeend. Many people are starting to get fit and healthy by picking up cycling as a hobby.
Compared to mountain biking which requires more dynamics and technical skills, road cycling can be easy as jogging. If your aim is to get better, faster, and more skillful, here are 8 dos and don’ts to follow.
Being strong and confident on the bike definitely makes a huge difference in your ride and safety!
- Check Your Gears!
Before you go out for a ride, be sure to check your bike! Imagine going out for a ride and finding out that your chain is bone dry. You would not want that to ruin your day.
You can start with checking the brakes, handlebar/stem tightness, gear alignment, tire pressure, and chain condition. Also, you can have a look at your helmet for cracks by removing the padding inside and pulling the sides outward. You will be able to see if there is any crack in the helmet.
- Be Alert!
Be clear with your intentions!
Whether it’s changing lanes, avoiding potholes, drinking water, observing road obstacles, crossing the road, or more, anything that would disrupt the flow of your ride can always be worthy of a shout-out or a hand gesture. If you can’t ride without your hands, you should learn how to. Every cyclist should be able to learn the meaning of every hand gesture. Make sure you know your hand signs!
Most of all, be completely alert whenever you are in a peloton, especially if you’re just starting out! If you don’t feel comfortable with the speed of your group, then drop back and find a group that suits your pace.
- Be Predictable!
When riding on the road especially with heavy traffic, you should anticipate the motorists, pedestrians, vehicles, and other people might be doing.
When you are riding with a group of cycling mates, watch for turning vehicles and keep a distance away from parked cars as someone might just pop out the door without your attention.
Most importantly, look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards. When approaching any drain grills, be sure to cross them in a diagonal direction to avoid an imbalance that could lead to falls.
- Be Visible!
If you’re riding at night or under a low light condition, get your lights, bright clothing, or anything that would be loud to the eyes.
You should always remember to put yourselves in the shoes of other road users and think about how you are going to make it safer for yourself and others around.
If you’re visible, your chances of getting hit by a vehicle can be greatly reduced.
When riding in a group or a peloton, drafting will be a sure thing.
What is drafting? Drafting is when a rider sits behind another to get some cover from the oncoming headwind. Everyone does it. So, that’s when you have a long line of riders.
While wheel sucking, keep a safe distance from your riding mate’s wheels at one wheel’s length. Anything closer and you might not be able to react quickly enough. Do not overlap the rear wheel of the person in front.
- Don’t Listen To Music
Some people like to ride and listen to music while pedaling. Your ears are very useful when it comes to identifying oncoming vehicles or calls of warning from others. So, when you saddle up, be sure to leave those headphones at home.
Do you know your inner ear is mainly responsible for sound detection and balance? The system is called the vestibular system, dedicated to balance. So, open up your first line of defense against accidents. Let them work and enjoy the sounds of the ride, and the great outdoors!
- Don’t Get Distracted!
When you’re riding on public roads, always be aware of your surroundings! Pay attention! Always look around before making a move whenever possible. Try not to daydream or get distracted. If you do, the tarmac is always there to catch you!
Sudden movements in a close-knit group are not helpful. If you plan to pull out of the group, and go to the front, look around, and shout: “On your right (or left)” to the rider you are overtaking.
Indicates an obstruction or hazard on the road such as a pothole or drain cover that needs to be avoided. Be sensible with this one, only pointing out major obstacles that should be avoided.
- Don’t Forget To Hydrate!
If you plan to go for a long-distance ride, make sure to bring a bottle of water and fuel yourself before hitting the road.
Riding in summer weather like Malaysia, you will easily get dehydrated. Drinking adequate water and not forgetting to eat before riding your bike will keep you focused and prevent you from getting bonked on the road.
You can also prevent dizziness under the heat of the sun and other factors while on the road and riding your bike.