Enjoy This Summer on Two Wheels

Last year, the nation’s bike shops took on an odd appearance: Showroom floors were empty but repair spaces were filled to overflowing. The reason? New bikes had been scooped up by people seeking an antidote to pandemic cabin fever, and people who couldn’t find new bikes dragged old ones out of the shed and asked mechanics to make them road-ready.

Looking at data behind bike sales suggests that the bike boom will continue, but we might see people taking their cycling up a notch this year. Initial sales last year were in what some people call the “casual bike” category; later, “enthusiast” bikes, including electric-assist bikes and those specifically designed for off-road riding, jumped in popularity.

Regardless of what kinds of bikes people are buying, there are a lot more people on bikes … and that means a lot of less-experienced cyclists merging onto roadways and trails. Many of them might have jumped into the saddle before they learned how to ride safely.

To help keep everyone safe, People Powered Movement, a cyclist and pedestrian advocacy group, offers the following tips.

  • Check your equipment. Make sure everything is ready for a ride, including your tires, lights, reflectors and more.
  • Wear a helmet. Wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of serious injury by 70 percent.
  • Be seen. Wear bright, reflective clothing. The more visible you are, the safer you are.
  • Use signals. Know the basic hand signals so you can let drivers and other cyclists know what you’re doing.
  • Stay focused. Stash the phone and pay attention to what you’re doing. You’ll not only be safer, you’ll enjoy the ride more.
  • Be a vehicle. As a cyclist, don’t think of yourself as not being governed by the rules for motor vehicles. Follow the same laws, as well as common sense.
  • Go with the flow. As pedestrians, we’re told to walk against traffic in the absence of sidewalks. Not so for bikes. Ride with traffic.
  • Use the bike lane. Many cities are installing bike lanes and dedicated pedestrian/bike trails. Use them. They’re safer, they’ll help to ensure that traffic flows efficiently and they’ll allow you to have a more pleasant cycling experience.

Really want to enjoy the ride? Find some cyclists who share your skill level and ride together regularly. Not only is there safety in numbers, but there’s also encouragement, fellowship and fun – which is what will ensure that a lot of the pandemic peddlers continue to ride after the pandemic has passed.

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