By Eric Yao
Getting injured is not fun. I recently got into a bike crash and it has certainly interfered with my life. Given how easy it is to get hurt while biking, I wanted to share my 4 tips (learned from experience) to keep this outdoor activity safe and enjoyable.
#1: Make sure you’re warmed up.
My top tip is to warm up your body before going on a biking trip. Simply jumping in place, doing some lunges, or swinging your legs for a few sets beforehand will make a big difference in your stamina. The last thing you want is to get a leg cramp halfway through your trip: you won’t be able to keep pedaling afterwards, or worse fall into traffic!
#2: Learn road etiquette.
Another essential safety tip (especially for newer bikers) is to know road etiquette, which will keep you safe when you’re sharing the road with cars. Here’s a crash course: a bike is legally considered a vehicle and thus must follow all the same laws as cars. This means you should ride in the same direction of traffic, stop at stop signs and red lights, be consistent in your riding (ride in a straight line and a constant speed), and always ride on a bike lane if there is one. Also, make sure to keep an eye out for cars making right turns, as drivers rarely look over their right shoulders for cyclists.
#3: Watch out for poles!!!
This may sound obvious, but slow down near poles or sharp turns on the sidewalks. Especially if there happens to be a sign sticking out of the pole, your handlebar can easily catch on it if you get unlucky. It’s always good to be aware of your surroundings when biking, and a general rule of thumb is to look for any obstacles in the path of your bike at all times. Also make sure to be extra careful when turning blind corners.
#4: Tune your bike settings.
And lastly, make sure your bike fits you. The seat height, seat angle, brake angle, handlebar width, and suspension settings should all be adjusted through personal experience. This not only ensures that you are comfortable, but also makes sure your bike doesn’t fail you when you’re out on the road.
While biking is very fun and certainly great exercise, it can also be very dangerous if you’re not careful. Following these four tips will ensure both your safety and that of others sharing the road with you. And even if you do fall - that’s ok too. I’ve certainly learned a few things from my crash. As a friend of mine once said, “any fall you get up from was a good fall.”