Safety is of the utmost importance at the CycleAblity Challenge. Please read the following information carefully before beginning to train
Be Visible – Brightly colored shirts or jackets work well and let others see you. Yellow is a very visible color as are other neon colors (orange, red). Do what you have to do so those drivers may see you. Do NOT assume that drivers will see you. Always, always, always wear your cycling helmet and make sure that it is “locked on.”
Use hand signals: To turn left, extend your left hand out directly to your side. To turn right, use your left hand and arm to extend your hand skyward, with your elbow at a 90-degree angle to your arm. To indicate ‘slowing down’, extend your left arm and hold your arm at an angle to your side. You should always call out when you are slowing or stopping to avoid getting rear-ended.
Cross railroad tracks with your wheels perpendicular: Use EXTRA caution if they are wet, as they will be very slippery. Be aware of grates (especially if they are parallel to the direction you are going!).
If a dog comes near you, especially if a dog surprises you, pedal slowly while yelling “No” or “Go Home”. If you cannot out-ride the animal and need to get off your bike, keep your bike between you and the dog while walking slowly away. Don’t let the dog get behind you when you are off your bike.
Avoid puddles, if possible, as your brakes will be less efficient in stopping. Dry off the break pads and wheels by applying the brake gently. Be extra careful when riding in the rain, as braking distances increases due the poor grip on the wheels. The road has grit, gravel and oil on it that makes it more slippery, deceptively so at times.
If you come upon gravel, or sand in the road, be aware that control of your bike will be less than expected or perhaps needed. Call out a warning to the riders behind you and stay relaxed, pedal slowly, with steady pressure on the pedals. Don’t try turning on gravel, as the wheel will slide out from under you.
If you have “CLIP-LESS” pedals, be sure to be able to disengage your cleat quickly without losing balance, especially important in traffic (e.g. stop lights). Do not clip back in until you have gone through the intersection. Looking down for your cleat while in an intersection can cause an accident.
Be able to ride close to the 4” wide line at the side of the road, riding as smoothly and as straight as possible so drivers in oncoming cars can have some confidence that you will not “jerk” into their lane.
Ride single file, particularly when we enter towns with more traffic. Even though you might be tempted to ride double-file if there is a wide shoulder, please save your talking for pit stops.
Drafting can be dangerous. Please leave enough room between you and other cyclists so that you can see what is coming and that you have some place to go if you need to.
If you are in an area with traffic, BE AWARE OF CAR DOORS OPENING SUDDENLY. If you see a person on the left-hand side of a parked car, assume that they may open the car door into your path and yell “door”. If you are not sure if a car is moving, look at the wheels of the car. If the wheels are moving, the car is moving, and that means that you have to be careful.
Yell out to riders in front of you and behind you about cars coming up, drivers in parked cars, glass, dirt-sand in the road, potholes. Call out, “car back”, “road kill”, “glass”, etc. so that riders behind you will have more time to negotiate these situations safely.
Do not pass cars on the right at red lights because car doors could open on both sides of you. You need to follow all the same vehicular traffic laws and you can be ticketed if you do not.
Call your pass; if you plan to pass another rider, you must wait for traffic to clear and pass on their left. Be sure to call your pass loudly (“on your left” or “passing left”) so the rider is aware of your presence. Never pass on the right as it may force the other rider to their left and out into traffic.
Be aware that you are an “ambassador” for other cyclists. Use hand signals for turns. Demonstrate courtesy and remember that the cyclist always loses the battle between a car and a bike rider.
Common Driver Errors: Turning left in front of an oncoming cyclist who is going straight through an intersection. Failing to obey a stop sign and pulling out in front of a cyclist. Passing a cyclist and immediately turning right across his or her path.
Never wear earphones or use a cell phone while cycling. Listen for traffic coming behind you. Be aware of the growl of a big truck. If someone honks, be aware that they might need more space to get around you.
Yell if you have to, bells and whistles take to long if you have to get someone’s attention immediately.
When tractor-trailers go by you, you may get “sucked” into their draft. Be ready to compensate while riding as straight a line as possible.