Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Important Things To Remember When Cycling

Cycling is a great way to stay fit. Done on a regular basis it can lower high blood pressure, improve your heart rate, strengthen your muscles, and protect your joints as the circular motion helps transport energy to your cartilages which reduces the risk of arthritis and other joint problems. The posture that is used when cycling improves your sense of balance while also strengthening your spine. A strong spine is less likely to suffer from pains or be afflicted by slipped discs.

As shown above cycling comes with many benefits, but there are also some bad points that you need to be aware of. Cycling, especially cycling in a city can be very dangerous. You are more at risk of injury on a bike than in a car, but there are some simple things you can do to reduce this risk.

The first is to make sure you can be seen. Even if you’re travelling when it’s dusk, you are still harder for cars to see than you think, so be sure to wear light-coloured clothing or a fluorescent jacket. For extra visibility consider wearing a reflective belt, or arm and ankle bands.

The second vital thing you can do to keep yourself safe when cycling is to wear the right equipment. A helmet is a must when cycling, as even a small fall can end in a serious head injury. Be sure to wear the helmet in the correct manner, otherwise it can’t protect you. The right manner is for the helmet to sit just above your eyebrows and not be hanging down your neck. When adjusting your helmet be sure that the straps are straight and that you can fit two fingers between the bottom strap and your chin. Shake your head around including up and down and side to side. If the helmet wobbles and moves, then it is not on tight enough, or you may need a better fitting helmet.

The third thing you can do to keep yourself safe is to cycle in a forward looking manner. Be aware of your surroundings and the dangers ahead, and always follow the Highway Code. If there is a red light ahead, stop in the middle of your lane. Don’t sneak forwards and stop to the right of the first car, as you will be in their blind spot and this could lead to an accident if they are turning right and you are going straight on, with neither of you knowing where the other is going. It is often forgotten by both motorists and cyclists that a bike is part of the traffic and must be treated, as well as behave as any other vehicle. For motorists this means overtaking bikes with plenty of space, and for cyclists it means to only overtake cars from the left.

Clear signals are vital for city cycling, and it’s best to avoid hesitant manoeuvres as these will confuse other vehicles. A confident and decisive cycling manner is needed. Also, be respectful to others on the road. If someone lets you enter a main road from a side road, then thank them for this. If you are cycling on a cycle path, which is adjacent to a pavement, be sure to warn pedestrians of your approach by using your bell. Always slow down when passing pedestrians as they may not be expecting you to pass them so quickly.

As long as you cycle in a sensible and forward thinking manner then you will gain all the great health benefits from cycling on a regular basis.


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