AIDS Lifecycle - Ride to end AIDS
 

      

Keeping it Safe During the Winter Training Season

Posted December 3, 2012

Have you looked outside recently? Let’s face it…winter has arrived.  This time of year brings many wonderful things—holiday parties, cozy nights, and, most importantly, tasty holiday treats! But it also can bring wet and cold weather. So what’s a cyclist who’s training for an epic, 7-day, life-changing bicycle ride to do when the weather turns foul? Luckily for you, safe cycling is kind of our thing here at AIDS/LifeCycle, so read on for some tips and tricks to keep you safe during the winter training months.

But before we get to the tips, it’s important to note that the power of this event comes directly from the strength of its community—and we are a community that looks out for each other! We’re all in this together and the future of the event depends upon each and every participant’s willingness to keep it safe out on the road. Consider this the first of many safety discussions and remember that becoming a safe cyclist takes practice. This year, we’re asking EVERYONE to renew their commitment to safety so all participants can arrive in Los Angeles happy, healthy, and in one piece!

Practice patience and slow your roll. With wet or icy roads, the potential for tires to lose traction increases tremendously. Keep it slow on descents, when cornering, even on the flats. And be patient with yourself and others around you. Remember, AIDS/LifeCycle is a ride not a race, so keep it safe and enjoy the scenery!

Remember that painted lane lines and railroad tracks are slippery! Railroad tracks are known as fierce bicycle wheel eaters who lay low and prey on unsuspecting cyclists who happen to cross them incorrectly. These dastardly tracks become even worse when it rains! If your ride takes you across some tracks, remember to cross them at a perpendicular angle and take it slowly.

Allow more time to stop. Keep in mind that wet roads equal wet wheels and wet wheels take longer to stop. Give yourself more time and more distance to stop by braking earlier than normal when stopping is necessary. Also, remember to “feather” your brakes (lightly squeezing and releasing your brake levers repeatedly) more often to avoid locking up your wheels and skidding out of control.

Ride visibly. With less daylight available for training, it’s important to outfit your bicycle and your body with highly visible items like front and rear lights and brightly colored or reflective clothing. Put yourself in the driver’s seat of the car passing you on a poorly lit road. What would it take for you to notice you? Even if you and your bicycle are as lit up as the Las Vegas Strip, assume that drivers and other cyclists do not see you. Make eye contact with drivers and alert people of your intentions with hand signals.

Keep in mind that other cyclists and (more importantly) other cars are experiencing these same issues. Increase the volume of your personal safety bubble and keep it in control and you’ll be doing your part to ensure that everyone on the road will arrive at their destination safely.

If you’d like more winter riding safety tips and tricks, or if you have other questions about how you can help to keep AIDS/LifeCycle as safe as possible, please contact your Cyclist Rep!