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  • Writer's pictureJason Ryser

6 Ways to Stay Safe While Long-Distance Cycling

Updated: May 18, 2022

Many things can go wrong while long-distance cycling at any point during your ride; thankfully, there are ways to prevent anything bad from happening.

Cycling is a convenient way to get around with a very low environmental impact, is a great way to enjoy exercise, and improve your physical and mental health. Pedaling your bike enhances muscle tone, and because it’s a low-impact activity, it won’t stress your ankles or knees. Cycling is also perfect for your cardiovascular health, which results in a lowered risk of stroke and heart attack.

While cycling is incredibly good for your overall health and wellness, injuries and accidents can happen. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe on your bike.

Continue reading to learn how.

6 Simple Ways You Can Stay Safe While Long-Distance Cycling

Here are six ways you can stay safe during long-distance cycling:

  • Obey All Road Laws and Rules While Cycling — Just because you’re not in a car doesn’t mean you are exempt from the laws and rules of the road. It is essential to be courteous and follow all the laws. It’s imperative to remember the following:

    • Use turning hand signals to flag your intention.

    • Do not coast through stop signs or red lights.

    • Never ride on the wrong side of the road.

    • Cycle in a predictable way.

    • When riding on a shared path, always use your bell to alert pedestrians or other cyclists that you are passing them.

    • Ride in a single file in heavy traffic.

    • Always use a bike lane if one is available in the direction you are riding.

    • Do not ride on urban freeways.

  • Implement Proper Riding Posture — One long-distance ride can take hours, so it is crucial to make sure your form is perfect. Incorrect or poor posture can cause serious injuries that need to take a significant amount of time off of cycling.

While cyclists’ legs are powerful and muscular, they don’t always have the back, core, and torso strength to resist and support the force from their legs. This causes the back to work in overdrive resulting in spasms and rapid fatigue. To prevent lower back injuries, maintain a straight back whether riding, sitting, or standing.

  • Maximize Your Visibility — One of your best defenses against accidents is to make sure you are visible to the other drivers and riders on the road. Here are a few suggestions on ways to make sure you are seen:

    • Avoid wearing dark or dull-colored clothing, which is more challenging for motorists to see. Opt for brightly colored garments instead.

    • Install lights on the front and back of your bike. Depending on the laws in your area, you may be required to have a steady or flashing light fitted on the front, a steady or flashing red light on the back, and a red reflector.

    • Wear reflective clothing and shoes to help increase visibility at night.

  • Wear the Right Gear — Wearing the wrong or ill-fitting gear can make cycling miserable! Many cyclists experience burning feet or numbness in their feet, typically caused by irritated nerves. This can be caused by various factors, such as road vibration, too much climbing, and, most commonly, too tight of shoes.

Another common complaint of long-distance riding is a sore behind. You can easily remedy this with a good pair of padded biking shorts or a padded bike seat. Most people opt for shorts since washing them is much easier than the seat. With a few rides under your belt, your behind will develop calluses which will help you ride farther and more comfortably.

Hand injuries are also common among cyclists. To prevent these injuries, make sure to do the following:

  • Grip your handlebars in a firm yet relaxed manner.

  • Change hand positions often.

  • Keep your wrist straight.

  • Use handlebar tape or padded gloves to reduce vibration.

  • Implement These Cycling Safety Tips — By implementing the following safety tips, you can significantly reduce your risk of accidents and injury while cycling:

    • Do not assume that the other people on the road have seen you. Drive defensively.

    • Make eye contact with other motorists when turning, intersections, and passing.

    • Use your brakes smoothly and slowly. Avoid braking hard and suddenly.

    • Do not wear headphones while riding. You should be able to easily hear everything that’s going on around you.

    • Get your bike serviced by a professional every year.

    • Personally check your bike to make sure it’s in good shape, including gears, bearings, tires, chain, etc.

  • Be Prepared — Before heading out on the road, make sure you are prepared for whatever might come your way, including emergencies. Here are some things to consider:

    • Weather can change at the drop of a hat. Make sure to dress in layers to stay comfortable on your ride, regardless of what Mother Nature has in store for you.

    • Wear sunscreen. You won’t want to miss out on your next ride because you’re too burned.

    • Tell someone your intended route and an estimated time when you’ll return.

    • Bring along all the essentials in your saddlebag, including:

      • Cash or a card if you need to stop off somewhere and buy something.

      • Food and water to help maintain your strength and stamina.

      • Commonly used or important tools, such as a wrench and a flat tire repair kit.

      • Your phone and photo ID.

Love Long Distance Cycling? Register for the Saints to Sinners Relay Race Today!

Doing all you can to stay safe during your long-distance cycling rides is crucial.

Make sure you’re in good shape and are healthy for the Saints to Sinners Bike Relay this summer. Like you, we are dedicated to improving our cycling skills and overall health and wellness while helping out a good cause. All of the proceeds go to the fight against ALS. We’re fighting back and are here to show ALS that it cannot win!

This race starts in the beautiful mountains of Salt Lake City and ends in the arid desert of Las Vegas. Registration is now open, so gather your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to support a good cause and join in on the fun! Contact our team to learn more today.

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