Cycling is an exhilarating sport which provides the body with a good all over workout. It’s an excellent cardio activity as it gets the heart pumping, and it helps tone and strengthen the legs and core muscles. It’s a fantastic way to improve your overall fitness level and can be a sociable sport if you go for a leisurely bike ride with friends. However, there are a few things you should bear in mind when you go cycling to stay safe on the roads and in the countryside.
Firstly, it’s crucial that you always wear the recommended safety equipment. You must wear a helmet, and should make sure it fits your head perfectly so that it protects your head properly and doesn’t slip around while you ride. This could be dangerous as it could leave your head exposed to injuries if you fall or are knocked off your bike. Elbow and knee protection are also recommended, along with wrist and ankle support if you plan on going mountain biking.
It’s very important that you wear the right kit. If you’re cycling in the dark, opt for light, bright clothing, such as a specialist cycle jersey in a neon color, or even a reflective fabric to ensure motorists see you on the road. Sturdy yet flexible shoes should also be worn to make cycling more comfortable, and shoes should grip well on the pedals so that they don’t slip. The general rule is that for cycling in public, the brighter the better so that you can be spotted.
Another thing to remember about cycling in the dark is that you should attach bike lights to your bike. These should go on the back of your bike, ideally with a light on the front and either lights or reflective badges on the spokes of the wheels to allow headlights from cars to pick them up to alert people to your presence. A bell can also be useful. Never cycle in the dark without lights or something reflective to draw attention to yourself.
If you’re going into the countryside, take a small emergency kit. A bottle of water can be attached to your bike frame using a special harness, and you should take a small first aid kit including the essentials. A pump might also come in handy as you never know when your tires might start to go flat. A handheld torch is also a good idea, just in case you get stuck anywhere in the dark and need to find out where you are, along with a map and compass if you’re taking an unfamiliar route.
Christie Marlin is a keen cycling enthusiast who offers her advice to those looking to get involved in cycling through regular blog posts and Q&A sessions