Requirements for safe cycling

There are four requirements for safe cycling: physical strength, ability to handle the bike skillfully, knowledge of routes, and knowledge of traffic laws. Each of these requires some effort on the part of the cyclist. But they are skills that will stand him in good stead in the long run.

1. Building cycling strength: Physical exercises like jogging, walking or skating alone are not enough for the cyclist. They do build muscular strength but the cyclist also needs strong calf and thigh muscles. For this, the cyclist needs to cycle on rough terrains, especially mountain trails. The cyclist also needs to pedal long distances to help his body adapt to strain. A good policy is to ride a comfortable distance everyday, taking care to increase this distance gradually.

2. Improving handling skills: Efficient cycling needs proper handling of the cycle and quick responses. A cyclist must know how to ride in a straight line, look back while riding, mounting or dismounting. He must also know how to stop suddenly at traffic lights, avoid obstacles like stones, holes, ditches. Similarly, he must know how to swerve or take sharp turns without falling. The best way to learn these skills is to practice them in empty parking lots, deserted lanes or cycling tracks.

3. Rules for safety: The best way to ensure safety is to obey traffic laws, be alert, wear light colored clothes for visibility, take the less traveled route and keep the bike, especially the brakes, in good condition. Use of helmets, bells, and night-lights, riding on bike paths, keeping to the lane increase the security of both the pedestrians and the cyclist.

4. Keeping alert: It pays to be alert and vigilant, and ready to swerve or brake when encountering an unexpected obstacle.

5. Taking the less traveled road: Cycling on the less traveled road not only makes the ride enjoyable but also less strenuous. There is less traffic, and the cyclist can speed up if the weather is good or if he is in a hurry. This is not possible on high density traffic routes, where there is always a danger of collision.

6. Keeping the bike in good repair: A cyclist must always take good care of the bike. He must ensure that the brakes are properly adjusted, the wheel alignment is right, the handlebars are securely fastened and seat is comfortable and at the right height.

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