While bicycling is a skill you never really lose, road biking is a whole different bowl of fishing. Even the most stable cyclist may be annoyed the first time they hear a vehicle approach from behind.
It’s a perfectly understandable feeling, but the good news is that the perception of how dangerous roads are for cyclists doesn’t always correspond to reality and there are techniques that can make cycling on roads as safe as possible. One of the best tips we’ve received is eye contact with other road users, as communication is critical to any mode of transport.
For more tips, whether you are a completely new or seasoned rider, sign up for a free webinar that Cycling UK is offering in partnership with Clif, an energy bar maker. There are two sessions, and each runs five times, so you should find a date and time that suits your schedule.
The beginner / advanced session teaches the basics of equipment, bike setup, and road skills. The first class takes place on Monday, September 28th at 7.30 p.m. The meetings will take place on the following two Mondays at 1
The advanced course provides advice on how to be safe at multi-lane intersections and how to filter past stationary traffic. This course reflects the same schedule but takes place on Tuesdays. The full schedule can be found on the Cycling UK website.
To give you an idea of what to expect and hopefully by reading you will make you a safer cyclist, we asked Matt Lamy of Cycling UK for some tips for beginners. Here’s what he came back with.
Three safety tips for beginners
1. Adjust your saddle to the correct height
When you’re new to cycling, it’s common for your saddle to be too low, which means you have less leg strength to pedal. When setting up your bike, adjust the saddle height so that your knee bends slightly when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If you are unsure how to do this, your local bike shop will be happy to help.
2. Don’t hide by the roadside
It is common for new cyclists to hold close to the curb to avoid traffic. The downside is that other road users may take advantage of this and often try to squeeze past you in places where there isn’t enough space to do so safely. There is a risk of hitting the curb or damaging your tires from dirt on the roadside and not being seen by other vehicles. Be confident and drive about three feet from the curb.
3. Make sure your helmet is on properly
While the use of a helmet is not mandatory, it is important that you wear a helmet if you are wearing one. First, make sure it’s the right way up – we often see riders with them from back to front – and make sure it sits straight on your head and protects the front and back of your skull evenly. The straps should fit comfortably under your chin. When you buy a helmet, the bike shop can also help you fit it and adjust it correctly.