There are four qualifying factors for safe cycling: muscular strength, capability for handling the bike well, acquaintance with routes, and understanding of traffic laws. Every one of these calls for some attention on the part of the cyclist. However, they are practices that will benefit him in the long run.
1. Increasing cycling power: Physical exercises like jogging, walking or skating alone are insufficient for the cyclist. They do increase muscular strength but the cyclist also needs to build up calf and thigh muscles. To accomplish this, the cyclist should ride on rough ground, ideally mountain trails. The rider needs to pedal lengthy distances as well, to assist his body in adapting to strain. A beneficial practice is to ride an easily achievable distance daily, being mindful of increasing this distance little-by-little.
2. Developing handling skills: Proficient cycling requires appropriate managing of the cycle and swift responses. A cyclist is required to be able to ride in a straight line, look behind him while in motion, and mounting or dismounting. He should also be proficient in halting abruptly at traffic lights, maneuvering around impediments like stones, holes, ditches. In a like manner, he should be able to veer away or execute abrupt turns without falling. The most auspicious way to develop such skills is to practice them in unoccupied parking lots, deserted roads or tracks for cyclists.
3. Safety policies: The most expedient method of insuring safety is to observe traffic laws, stay alert, wear light colored clothes to maintain your visibility, follow the sparsely frequented route and maintain your vehicle, chiefly the brakes, in top notch condition. Using a helmet, bells, and lights adequate for the conditions, as well as using bicycle paths, and remaining in the lane adds to the safety of both the pedestrian and the cyclist.
4. Staying alert: Its advantageous to be attentive and watchful, and prepared to evade or brake when confronting a sudden obstacle.
5. Following the less traveled road: Cycling on the less frequented road assures that the ride will be more enjoyable as well as less strenuous. The traffic is lighter, and the cyclist can increase his speed in good weather or if he is in a hurry. Such options are excluded on heavy traffic routes, where there is a constant hazard of collision.
6. Maintaining the bicycle in good repair: It is imperative that a cyclist must invariably take excellent care of the bike. He must know that the brakes are correctly adjusted, the wheel alignment is without fault, the handlebars are securely fastened and the seat is positioned right for his height and comfort.
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