The monsoon weather makes us want to go out and get wet in the rains, hike through trails and mountains. But the urge to get adventurous will have to momentarily come to a standstill as we go through the pandemic. What we can do instead, as we wait for the situation to settle is to stay healthy from the comfort of our homes. There are some great workouts you can find online and challenge yourself to cross off those fitness goals. For the ones who are in an area where there is no lockdown or certain relaxations with respect to movement is present, you know what to do. Dust off your cycle and go on riding into unknown terrains! Keep in mind, do not stay outdoors for long, and wear a mask before leaving home. As you do so, here are a few safety tips to ensure you have a smooth ride:
Check the weather
Open the weather app on your phone and see whether there will be any heavy showers or thunderstorms. Avoid cycling during an extreme climatic condition. Checking the weather beforehand can help you schedule your riding time more efficiently, and you can be prepared well in advance by carrying all the essential gear required to make your ride perfect.
Check your bicycle for any repairs
Make sure you inflate your tires the right amount beforehand. Reduce the tire pressure if need be. When the roads are wet, the friction between the tarmac and the tire can decrease. Reduce the pressure by 10 – 15 psi so that it will help increase the lost traction, thereby making the ride smoother. If you do not have one already, the BTWIN 500-foot pump is an ideal instrument you can keep in handy. It comes with a needle pressure indicator that can control the pressure reached.
Ensure you tighten all the nuts and bolts as well. Not having used your cycle in a long time may have let them loose. So, open your old toolbox and get to repairing your bicycle. Make sure you grease the chain as well.
Carry essential cycling gears
Monsoon can make the atmosphere foggy, therefore blocking the field of vision. The best way to tackle that is by wearing a neon gilet with reflective stripes. These ensure visibility so that pedestrians and people driving in vehicles can spot you easily. Attach wheel reflectors on your cycle as well if it isn’t there already. Also, attach a good LED light to the front of your bike so you can see the road ahead without any hindrance.
Needless to say, wear a helmet to protect your head incase of any minor accidents. Wear cycling sunglasses if you go out in the sun.The Van Rysel Roadr 500 provides protection from wind, dust, etc. The lenses in these sunglasses reduce the chance of fogging, therefore, allowing you to have a clear vision. Cover your mouth with a breathable mask and also add a neck warmer for maximum protection. Note that when you wear a mask, you should not be cycling for more than 30 minutes. Ensure you take enough breaks in between.
You should wear warm clothes when you are out in the rain. On top of it, wear a raincoat before you mount on your bicycle so that you do not have to stop midway between a rain shower.
Use hand gestures as much as possible:
Hand gestures allow you to act as indicators for the person driving behind, in front of you or beside you. It allows them to know which side you will be turning or cornering to so that they can move in the right direction and avoid any mishaps. Learn the universal signal for how to indicate you are taking a left or a right turn and various other hand signals so that you can implement it as and when required without having to ring your bell all the time.
Follow the traffic rules:
Observe traffic laws regardless of the traffic on the roads. An empty path does not mean you have the opportunity to speed through lanes or change lanes midway. A good cyclist always observes the traffic lights and maintains the speed limit. You should always stay on the left side of the road, keeping the right side for heavy vehicles. Make your movement heard as you pass by a driver or a pedestrian by ringing your bell or giving hand signals.
Maintain social distance:
Even though you will not be stationary, it is still wise to maintain 6 feet or more space between you and a moving vehicle or pedestrian. Especially when you are cycling past a pedestrian, ensure there is enough space between you and them.
During monsoons, your cycle may lose braking power because of the wet rims and less friction on the brake pads. In case you have to slow down or halt, you should put the brake a little earlier than at the junction you wish to so that your cycle slows down or stops at the right moment. This can help you avoid potholes as well.
Do not forget to keep a periodic check on your cycle for any signs of damage to the brakes, wheels, cables, or the chain. Repairing your bicycle can save you from accidents and a lot of money if done at the right time. Following these tips would ensure you have a safe cycling experience.