Ten Tips for a Successful Outdoor Road Season, Part 2

The outdoor road season has finally arrived! Now that you've moved your ride outside, make sure you maintain your focus on safety!

First a review…

1. Bike Check

  • Ideally, have your bike checked by a professional mechanic
  • If you’re taking on the bike check yourself, your goal is just to make sure everything is working properly
    • Drop your bike, listen for rattling sounds
    • Check tires for tread and air pressure
    • Ensure there is enough “meat” on brake pads
    • Are your skewers tight?

2. Obey Road Signs

  • Put your foot down at stop signs
  • Remain stopped until light turns green
  • Use your best judgment; some things cannot be avoided/adhered to but the traffic laws are there to protect everyone on the roadways

3. Head Up!

  • Don’t look at your wheel
  • Don’t look at the next bike’s wheel
  • Look ahead and you’ll avoid accidents!
  • Seeing what’s coming provides the ability to anticipate and avoid danger
  • Bonus: you’ll draft closer, hold a straighter line and still see what’s below you via peripheral vision

4. Communication is Key!

  • When on a group ride, call out the news: debris in the road, turns/stop signs, etc.
    • Line leader calls out
    • Each person down the line repeats in turn
    • This passes news effectively and tells originator that message was received

5. Ride Predictably

  • When you ride predictably and all around you ride predictably, there are fewer accidents and everyone remains safe

...And now for part two:

6. Respect Traffic

  • This includes all road signs and rules of the road
  • Ride single file (riding 4 or 5 across the lane upsets drivers in cars!)
  • Stay close to the right at all times
  • Keep groups small, 10-15 at most
  • Divide larger groups into two or three smaller chunks (makes it easier for cars to pass)

7. VQ Bike Certification

  • 90 minutes to teach turning, getting in/out of pedals, bike safety, road safety

8. Stay within Limits

  • Bad decisions come from pushing limits too far (no oxygen to the brain!) and lead to dangerous situations
  • There will be plenty of time to push yourself hard later when you’re more comfortable

9. LSAP (Protocol for Group Rides)

  • When pulling off the front:

Look: all clear? no cars?

Signal: hand, elbow, even a verbal “pulling off”

Accelerate: ensures no overlap crashes

Pull Off: safely!

10. Safe Stops

  • Not in the middle of the road
  • Not on the right, next to the road
  • Get WAY off
  • Space should be large enough to accommodate entire group

Remember: You’ll enjoy yourself more if you know how to ride safely and predictably!