Booklet/Cycling tips

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(From 2011)

  1. Have top control skills.... become expert at riding one-handed: practice a figure of 8, practicing with each hand. It can be hard at first.
  2. Use your gears efficiently to prolong their life, and that of your knees, to allow you to zip away from stationary positions and get up hills easier.
  3. Adjust your bike so that it fits you well: slight bend in leg when pedal at longest extension, brake levers in a position so your hands rest comfortably on them (be kind to your wrists!). If you choose to wear a helmet make sure it is fitted correctly (In Italy, FIAB and the Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta managed to block a proposed law to introduce mandatory wearing of helmets).
  4. See, be seen, communicate! In traffic, ride in a good visible position (at least a car door distance from parked cars), don't weave into gaps (you disappear), and get good eye contact with other road users (it humanises them and you know if they have seen you). At junctions, either make sure you can get to the front of the traffic and be visible, or remain in your place in the queue – in the centre of the lane.
  5. Look out for the biketour signs on the road – and draw biketour signs on the road yourself! These are really helpful and happy-making for anyone behind you.
  6. Before turning, look, signal (if there is someone to signal to) and look again in the direction that you are turning to see that your signal has been accepted. Give yourself plenty of time to do all this.
  7. Get into the habit of overtaking traffic on the left-hand-side, like any other vehicle would. It is just as fast and you'll avoid being cut up by right turning vehicles. This is one of the most common causes of serious accidents, as drivers are not always in the habit of using their right mirror, and larger vehicles such as lorries have a substantial blind spot.
  8. In wet weather person-hole covers (a.k.a. Man-hole covers pre political correctness!) and drains become very slippery. Avoid turning on them and if you do ride over them do so confidently and in a straight line.
  9. The most common response of motorists after an accident is 'I didn't see you'. To combat this think of wearing a high-vis jacket or such, having working lights at night – flashing mode doubles battery life (rechargeable batteries, of course). But remember it is the position that you ride in the road which is the main element of being seen (see 4)
  10. Carry a bicycle pump and keep tyres pumped nice and hard (less punctures, more energy efficient, faster, steering more responsive, tyres last longer), don't forget the trailers have tyres too, check your brakes, use a bell, and listen to your bike – strange noises usually indicate a problem!

Adapted from Bicyclogy – a cycling activist group in the UK.