Thursday, April 9, 2009

Safety tips for all skill levels

The following safety tips are from the League of American Bicyclists. For more safety tips and more information about them you can visit their website at


I. Wear a helmet for every ride and use lights at night
II. Conduct an ABC Quick Check before every ride
III. Obey traffic laws: ride on the right, slowest traffic farthest to right
IV. Ride predictably and be visible at all times
V. At intersections, ride in the right-most lane that goes in your direction
VI. Scan for traffic and signal lane changes and turns
VII. Be prepared for mechanical emergencies with tools and know-how
VIII. Control your bike by practicing bike handling skills
IX. Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry
X. Have fun!


Stretching and exercising is important to do before you start out on your ride. Here are some great tips on ways and reasons you should stretch and warm up.

1. Reasons to stretch
-It reduces tightness and strain in your neck, back, shoulders, arms and face
-You are able to ride longer with less fatigue; recover faster with post-ride stretches
-Always warm-up muscles before stretching; cold stretching can cause injury

2. Be careful
-Never attempt these stretches while riding in a group or paceline situation
-Check for traffic, slow down and maintain control of your bicycle
-Attempt stretches only on smooth, flat, dry pavement

3. Lower and middle back stretches
-With one hand on the bar, reach back and place your forearm across your lower back
-Twist your upper body toward the hand that is behind you; hold for 5 seconds
-Look over your shoulder and move that shoulder back while moving the other forward

4. Shoulder and neck
-Reach across chest to opposite shoulder as far as comfortable; hold for 5 seconds
-Lift shoulders toward your ears until you feel tensions
-Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly roll back to original positions

5. Fingers and forearms
-Place hand on hip, palm down, fingers up; straighten elbow to stretch for 10 seconds
-Place fingers on handlebar and push down to stretch forearms; hold for 5 seconds
-Bend hand back as far as possible; rotate wrist back and forth; hold for 5 seconds

6. Face and jaw
-Open your mouth in an "O" then move your lips right to left to stretch cheek muscles
-Open your mouth wide to stretch jaw muscles
-Never clench your teeth while riding

7. Back
-Arch your back while lowering your head slightly
-Then straighten your back and lift your head up to straighten your spine
-Hold each for 5 seconds; perform both stretches consecutively

6. Legs
-While coasting, straighten one leg in the 6 o'clock positron and drop your heel
-In the 3 and 9 o'clock position, stand and drop both heels; switch feet and repeat
-Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and repeat

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