Stay Safe While Cycling Solo: Gain Confidence
For more information on how to ride solo outdoors safely and confidently, Read Part one, “Stay Safe While Cycling Solo: Plan Ahead” here.
WHAT IF I’M NOT COMFORTABLE RIDING SOLO?
A female cyclist recently expressed her concerns to me about riding solo. If that describes you – male or female – there are a few things you’ll want to do:
1) Learn how to change a flat tire. REALLY!
This video is a good primer. Pro-hint: Stash a pair of Nitrile gloves in your tool bag to keep your hands clean when handling the derailleur or bike chain.
2) Practice (in advance) how to use that CO2 cartridge.
The last time I used one, it had been so long since I’d had a flat out on the road, I wasted the whole cartridge re-learning how to use the air chuck (valve). Fortunately, I had a back-up cartridge with me.
3) Enhance your visibility:
a. Wear bright colors, especially socks. You’ll be less visible to cars when riding solo, than you would be if you were in a group.
b. Pull out to the center of your lane (after checking behind you) when approaching blind driveways, cross streets, or when thick vegetation comes up to the edge of the road.
c. Use bike lights, front and rear, for added visibility.
4) The good news is that there are a lot of solo cyclists out there right now, and many of them will keep an eye out for you and offer assistance if you’re stopped on the side of the road. I’m seeing a lot more friendly waves from other cyclists these days – it seems that we’re all doing our best to encourage and reassure each other.
BUT, WHAT IF I CRASH WHILE RIDING SOLO?
A number of devices are available to broadcast an SOS if your solo ride ends abruptly or if you’ve gone missing:
Specialized now sells bicycle helmets with integrated crash detection that can send an SOS message, along with your coordinates, if you crash. The crash sensor is also sold separately for use with your existing helmet.
The popular Strava cycling app now includes Strava Beacon, which will report your location if you’re not home by a specified time.
The Garmin Edge bike computers can also send emergency messages. According to Garmin’s website, “When an incident is detected by your device with GPS enabled, the Garmin Connect App on your paired smart phone can send an automated text message and email with your name and GPS location to your emergency contacts.”
“Find My iPhone” can also be an effective way for your partner to locate you.
If nothing else, print out your planned route from Ride With GPS including the turn-by-turn directions with street names, highlight your direction of travel, post it on your refrigerator, and let your loved ones know when you expect to be home.
PASS IT ON:
During this nation-wide shut-down, it’s important to keep your Local Bike Shop (LBS) in business. Local bike shops are still open because they provide essential services for maintenance on bikes, which are an increasingly important part of our transportation sector. Keep in mind that most shops now require appointments to bring your bike in for service – no browsing in the store. Consider purchasing bike shop gift cards to help keep them in business or check their websites for the opportunity to do some online shopping with home deliveries.
Let us know what successes and recommendations you have. Let’s keep this online community active so that we can all learn and thrive during this difficult time. Thank You!