Road Cycling 101 – Road Bike Safety

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Road Cycling, what possibly can anyone learn?

In the recent years, cycling has grown so rapidly with such a frequent amount of events. Like zombies chasing after brains! Well, this is of course a very good sign that more people are starting to get fit and healthy by cycling and challenging one’s endurance and skills. But the common perception is that, road cycling is as easy as walking for some. Mountain biking, on the other hand, demands more technical skills and dynamics. So if your aim is to get better, stronger, faster, and more skillful at cycling events, we give you simple 8 dos and don’ts to follow. Because being strong and confident on the bike does make a huge difference on your ride and safety.

Check Your Gears!

Even before you go riding out there, check your bikes. Just imagine going out on your ride and you find out that the chain is bone dry. I’m sure many of you are guilty of that. So do your checks. You can start with checking the brakes, handlebar/stem tightness, gear alignment, tire pressure, and chain condition. Also have a look at your helmet for cracks, by removing the padding inside and by pulling the sides outward, like opening a durian. You’ll be able to see if there is any crack in the helmet.

Be Predictable

Be clear with your intentions, whether it’s changing lanes, avoiding potholes, drinking water, road obstacles, road crossing and many more. Anything that would disrupt the flow of the 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. All cyclists should be able to at least ride with one hand. Most of all, do not move suddenly when you’re in a peloton.

Be Visible

Face it, we are just like the motorcyclists around too, except slower. Just put yourselves in their shoes for a moment and think how you are going to make it safer for yourself and others around. Shine like the sun! If you’re visible, your chances of getting hit by a vehicle can be reduced greatly. So get your lights, bright clothing, and anything that’ll be loud to the eyes. Just imagine yourself as the one man parade!

Predict

Nothing is as bad as getting caught off guard when you are having such a great day out in the open on your bike with your group of cycling mates. Try to anticipate what motorists, pedestrians, and other people on bikes might do next. Watch for turning vehicles and keep a distance away from parked cars—
someone might just pop out the door. Look out for debris, potholes and other road hazards. Cross drain grills at a diagonal direction or you can always bunny hop them if possible.


Drafting (Overlapping wheels)

When riding in a group or what cyclists call a peloton, drafting will be a sure thing. What is drafting? Drafting is when one rider sits behind another to get some cover from the oncoming head wind. Everyone does it, so that’s when you have a long line of riders. While wheelsucking, keep a safe distance from your 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.

Blur is Bad

When you are riding on public roads, always be aware of your surroundings. Try not to daydream or get too focused on anything for too long. If you do, the tarmac is always there to catch you. Ouch!

The Silent Rider

Malaysian roads have their own obstacle course, such as potholes, dried up cement bumps, debris, oil, loose sand or rocks the size of a fist. One thing in common, they’ll be there sitting, waiting for you to end your ride. So when you see one, shout it out and be sure to pass the message loud and clear to the riders behind. Don’t be silent. In such situations, silence can kill.

Sweet Deaf

I’m sure you have seen some people riding their bikes and listening 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? That 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.+


Jessen Lee
Cycling & Fitness Coach

Jessen Lee is a Level 2 Sports Science Coach, specializing in cycling skills and performance, triathlon and general physical fitness. Certified by Majlis Sukan Negara, PMBIA, and ITU, he also conducts group and personal coaching sessions under The Ride School for road, off-road cycling, and triathlon for all levels. With 20 years of training, racing, and coaching experience, he passionately shares his love for sports with the community.

Contact: jessenlee@gmail.com

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