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Smart Tips Every Cyclist Should Know Before They Hit The Road

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With more people taking up cycling for leisure, exercise and commuting, many need to start thinking more about comfort and safety on their bike. Here we help plot a course to a smoother and safer cycling experience.

1. Be Alert

Never assume that a motorist has seen you and always abide by the safety rules. Stay predictable while cycling – cycle at a steady pace and don’t wobble around or make sudden movements or stops. Be extra vigilant and visible when cycling at night.

2. Don’t Skimp on Essentials

Essential items and accessories to improve the quality and safety of your riding experience include:

Bicycle

Your bicycle should suit your needs and cycling plans. Different types of bicycles suit different purposes, such as leisure riding, racing, commuting, off-road exploration or long-distance touring. Varying frames suit different body shapes and sizes. The right frame makes it easy for you to get on, stay on and dismount safely. Seat and handlebar heights and positions should be adjusted to your size and shape. A seat that is tilted upwards too much can lead to painful pressure points. Conversely, one tilted too far downwards can cause you to slide while cycling, as it applies extra pressure on your arms, hands and knees.

Handlebars come in different widths and are sized according to the type of bike. Ill-fitting handlebars may result in neck, shoulder, back and hand pain. Riding with the wrong handlebar angle can lead to numbness in the palms of your hands. Ensure you can easily reach and work your brakes.

Maintain your bicycle so that it’s always roadworthy. Check the tyres, chain, brakes, seat and handlebars before every ride.

Helmet

Fit and comfort should always be placed above price. Your helmet should closely match the size and shape of your head. Don’t rely on size pads to fill in the space – these should be used only to achieve a slightly more comfortable fit. Once fastened, the helmet should stay firmly in place. Choose a helmet that is bright or fluorescent in colour for higher visibility.

Mirrors

Mirrors allow you to be more aware of your surroundings without having to move your head too much. Circular mirrors that clip to the handlebars are popular, though there are smaller versions that can be attached to your helmet.

Lights

Check your lights regularly, so that they don’t die out while you are cycling, especially when there is low visibility.

Clipless Pedals

These keep your shoes in place while helping improve your cycling technique. They are also a lot easier to use than the old-style clips and straps.

Clothing & Shoes

Lycra pants, shorts and gloves help increase your riding comfort. Don't wear clothing that can get easily tangled with your bicycle: and do use colours that ensure you are easily visible.

Sneakers are not good for cycling, as they allow your feet to flex too much while riding, which can cause leg and hip problems. Cycling shoes have a rigid sole, which provides a stable platform for your foot, giving you better power output when pedalling.

Tool Kits

Never ride without one. Tool kits should contain a puncture kit, tyre levers, small adjustable spanner, screwdrivers and a spare tube.

There are two types of riders in the world: those who have had a flat tyre and those who have not had a flat yet. As a matter of personal safety, every cyclist should know how to fix their own flats.

3. Be Weather-Ready

As our region is mainly hot and humid, be armed for the weather. When it’s hot, caps and sunglasses are good to help make it easier for you to keep your eyes on the road. Attach a water bottle cage to your bicycle so that you can always stay hydrated without having to stop to open your backpack.

Cycling is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve better health and fitness and since it’s a low-impact activity, it places very little strain on your body. Gear yourself up properly, know and abide by the safety rules — and pedal your way to a safe and smooth cycling experience at all times.

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