Bicycle Riding Safety and Care
Bicycle riding can be a great pastime or a fantastic way to get in some exercise while also getting some fresh air and sunshine. But there are some bicycle riding safety issues to be aware of and also some basic care you can give to your bike to keep it riding smoothly and safely.
The Ups and Down’s of Biking
Hills add challenge and interest to any bike ride. Follow these tips for handling hills with confidence, and get the most out of this great, low-impact activity.
- Going up. Before you approach a hill, slow your breathing down to a comfortable rate. Shift down into the next gear to make pedaling easier. Relax your body, keep your back straight and your hands loosely gripped on the bars.
- Coming down. You should always stay in control of your bike. Sit back on the seat for stability and keep your feet parallel to each other. Slowly pump both your front and rear brakes to slow down without skidding. Ease back into a comfortable pace and enjoy the scenery.
Bicycle Riding Safety Tips
- Keep a whistle on a chain around your neck and use it instead of a horn. It’s louder and shriller.
- Having trouble climbing hills? Maybe you’re hunching over the handlebars. This constricts your breathing. Sit up tall instead.
- On wet roads brake lightly now and then to whisk water off your brakes – especially after you’ve gone through a puddle and before you start down a hill.
- If you skid, don’t try to move your wheel. Keep your wheel in whatever direction you are going. Similarly, on a loose surface, let the bike drift the way it wants.
- In the country, sharp curves often have loose gravel and holes. Brake to reduce speed before you get to a curve, not while you are on the loose surface. Keep as far to the right as possible to avoid cars that may move into your lane as they round the corner.
- Use a winter hard hat liner, found in hardware stores, as a helmet liner in cold weather. For further warmth, push a folded section of newspaper up under your shirt to help block cold winds.
Kerosene is the best cleaner for a greasy bicycle chain. To keep the chain from squeaking, clean it every 2 months and lubricate it with a lightweight bicycle oil or a spray lubricant designed for the purpose.
If your chain breaks and you can’t fix it right away, lower the seat and push along with your feet.
Home Made Bicycle Lock
You can make a lock from six feet of vinyl-covered steel cable, two U-bolts, and a padlock.
At each end of the cable, make a loop and secure it with a U-bolt. Strip or epoxy the threads so that the nut can’t be removed. Run the cable through the frame and wheels and around the bike rack or a sturdy post. Padlock the loops together.
If you must leave your bike unlocked, remove the handlebars or front wheel and take it with you.
Repair a Bicycle Tire
You can repair a tire in no time flat with two kitchen spoons, some fine sandpaper, contact cement, talcum powder and a thin piece of rubber or soft plastic.
For patches, cut small squares of rubber from an old tire tube or swimming cap. Coat one side with contact cement and let it dry.
Remove the wheel and push in the tire with your thumbs just enough to angle the spoons, 5 to 7 inches apart, under its edge. Work them around, pulling the edge of the tire over the rim.
Take the tube out of the tire and look for the puncture. Check inside the tire for any sharp stones or debris. Put your ear to the tube. Can you hear the air escape? If you can’t find the leak, inflate the tube and submerge it in water. Bubbles will locate the hole.
Dry the tube and rough up the area around the hole with sandpaper. Coat it with contact cement and apply the patch, sticky side down. Sprinkle talcum powder over the patched area so that the tube won’t stick to the tire wall.
If you inflate the tube a little, it will easier to put back in the tire. Begin remounting the tire by first inserting the air valve into the rim, then work the tire back onto the rim with your thumbs. If this proves difficult, use the spoons – but with care. The could puncture your newly repaired tube.
When the tire is back on the rim, inflate it and replace the wheel.
Spring is coming – get your bike ready for some summertime exercise.