Article Draft on Safety and Riding Tips
I am interested in your reaction to this next portion of my (at this time six-part bicycling series - but to grow to many articles** bicycling series. This article is not yet posted.
Remember, my audience is newbie bicycle riders riding on our local excellent MUPS.
I do believe this article may provoke some interesting reactions from you folks.
Future topics in the next articles will include:
Gravel, ice, wet leaves, etc.
Steering with body
Bicycling About Parker #6 – Safety and Riding Tips
There are a number of ways I increase my bicycling safety and pleasure. This is the first of several articles on this topic.
At times, I will find my wheels going off the edge of the road or trail. I have seen this happen to someone at Cherry Creek State Park, where the individual was “forced” off the pavement at the edge of the road into the rough area, gravel, ruts and dirt, and, subsequently, took a good tumble into the roadway.
My immediate response is to try to steer back onto the road, turning the wheel left. But, I don’t do this. If I attempted to get back on the road, the ledge on the edge will grab my wheel and throw me from the bicycle, generally directly into traffic. Instead, I have two better choices. First, I keep the bike going, staying off the edge of the road, and come to a gentle stop. Dismount, put the bike back on the road, and continue. This is my usual procedure. Alternatively, if I can keep going, and I see a spot ahead where the road and edge are the same elevation, I will continue until I get to that point, and get back on the road where things are level.
Wearing a helmet. There is a great deal of research regarding helmets, and you can read what the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute has to say about helmets here http://www.bhsi.org/quick.htm .
There is a lot of controversy, with some folks saying that wearing helmets is not necessary, as bicycling is inherently safe, and all of the hullabaloo about helmets causes folks not to bicycle because they feel it is dangerous, and because they feel it is dangerous for their children.
Here are my thoughts. A helmet will not save my life if my head is run over by a car. However, a helmet may reduce the severity of any injury involving the head. So. I always wear one. And, I wear a “doo rag” between my helmet and my head, to keep the sun’s rays from reaching through the helmet vents.
All helmets are required to meet the same safety specifications. Differences in helmets are ventilation, style, how the straps work, roundedness of the helmet (rounder is better), comfort, weight, design and color and the “wow” factor. Helmets can vary remarkably in price. I believe that any helmet is better than no helmet, so if I purchase a helmet at my local store, it will be fine. Helmets vary in size. I have a large head, and sometimes the helmets will not fit. It is as important for adults to wear helmets as it is for children.
I replace my helmet after any crash involving my head touching the ground. I ignore manufacturer’s claims that a helmet deteriorates and should be replaced every X years. I have found no research to support this – quite the opposite – see http://www.bhsi.org/replace.htm
Signaling when turning, slowing down or stopping is extremely important when bicycling. A bicycle is the ultimate stealth weapon, and I can have someone right behind me, or even passing me, and not be aware unless they are courteous enough to let me know.
Therefore, signaling gives the, perhaps unknown, bicycle rider behind or approaching you time to properly respond to my planned changes.
In Colorado, one legally signal a left turn by placing their left arm straight out, a right turn by pointing one's right arm at about 45 degrees down toward the ground, and slowing down or stopping by placing one's left hand, generally palm open, pointing towards the ground.
I have had a number of close calls when I failed to signal and found a stealth rider actually passing or attempting to pass me.
Then I will post a ride about Parker, as I have with the other srticles.