August 2016

10 Things Cyclists Wish Drivers Knew



We Feel Invisible

Ever get cut off—hard—by someone who doesn’t even know you’re there? That’s almost a daily occurrence for cyclists, especially in cities.

Drivers overtake us and then turn right across our path; drivers in oncoming traffic misjudge our speed and turn left right in front of us. And when passing, they sometimes do so close enough that we feel a phantom swipe from a sideview mirror.

If you’ve ever noticed us trying to make eye contact with you, especially at intersections, we’re not challenging you to a duel; eye contact is just the most effective way to register that you actually see us.


We’re Not Just Jerks

If an irate cyclist suddenly raps on your car window, or pulls alongside you at a stoplight and starts yelling at you, it’s probably not just because he’s feeling surly that day. In the majority of instances where a cyclist confronts a driver, it’s because something the driver did threatened the rider’s safety.

A simple “sorry” can go a long way; everyone makes mistakes. But if you find yourself in this situation with any regularity, that’s a warning—you’re not seeing cyclists.


We’ll Always Lose

Ever drive on a freeway full of 18-wheelers? They’re behind you, they’re passing you, and they’re changing lanes and taking up a LOT of space—right next to you, at 65mph. You probably get a little sweaty and keep both hands on the wheel, right?

That’s how we feel riding alongside cars. You’re cocooned in 3,000 pounds or more of steel, with reinforced roll cages, crumple zones, airbags, and seatbelts. We’re riding a 20-pound machine in the open air, wearing little more than spandex and some EPS foam on our heads. If we make contact, we risk life-changing injuries or death. You risk, well, mostly the insurance deductible. In any physical interaction, we’ll lose.


Most of Us Do Actually Follow Traffic Laws

When you see a cyclist roll through a stop sign or, worse, a red light against cross-traffic, you’re probably thinking, “Those damn cyclists never obey the rules.”

But the vast majority of us do, and there’s data to back it up. A 2015 survey of 18,000 people by a researcher at the University of Colorado found that while cyclists do break traffic laws, they do it at the same low rate as drivers (roughly 8 percent). In one crucial measure of law-breaking (running a red light), data from a 2013 Portland State study suggests that 90 percent of cyclists stop.


We’re Not Riding Erratically

Here’s one even cops don’t always get right: The statutes on riding on public streets state that cyclists should ride as far to the right as is practicable. That means we’re allowed to take more of the lane to avoid dangerous road conditions like broken glass or potholes, which sometimes force us farther out in the traffic lane than we’d normally be.

You might not notice these hazards if they’re not directly in your lane, and it might seem like cyclists are riding into your path for no reason. To avoid getting surprised on popular riding routes, make it a habit to scan the whole road for conditions that might be hazardous, even if they’re not directly in your path.



We Can’t Always Stick to Bike Paths

Yes, cities go to great lengths to put in off-street bike paths, and then we ride on the street anyway. To understand why, try this experiment: Drive to work tomorrow making only left turns. See how long it takes. See how screwed up your route is. See if you can even get there. Now, add this element: On-street or off, bike lanes sometimes appear or vanish with little reason or warning, stranding cyclists in general traffic lanes. So why do we ride on the roads? Same reason you do: They take us where we want to go.



We Ride Two Abreast Because…

It’s a lot more social. Riding can be a solitary pursuit, but for many of us, the social element is as important as the physical. Riding side by side makes it easier to have a conversation and simply share one another’s company, for the same reason people sit side by side at a table instead of front to back.

Eighteen states explicitly allow two-abreast riding in any circumstance (yes, even when impeding traffic) and another 21 allow it as long as riders aren’t impeding traffic. Only three states—Montana, Nebraska and Alaska—expressly forbid it. Furthermore, even where specific legal language prevents cyclists from riding two abreast, those laws only relate to the actual traffic lane. If both riders are to the right of the white fog line, we can legally ride two abreast, period.

Still, most of us try to be conscientious and common-sense about it; we don’t ride two abreast in heavy traffic, and even in light traffic we’ll often try to “single up” to let drivers pass. If we don’t do it right away, yeah, maybe we’re a little too caught up in our conversation. Please have a little patience; we’re not perfect either.


The Best Way to Alert a Cyclist Is…

Don’t, unless absolutely necessary.

Car horns are really loud, and might startle us enough to cause us to swerve and crash. Simply wait and pass safely when the opportunity presents itself. Or if you must honk, do it from a reasonable distance.


We Really Love to Ride

If you frequent a popular or scenic road, you’ve wondered why skinny, spandex-clad riders are constantly out clogging up traffic. We’re not trying to get in your way; we just love to ride our bikes. (Try our 21-day Ride Streak Challenge if you’re feeling extra affectionate)

The road that we’re on probably goes somewhere special, either physically or mentally, and even if we don’t look it, we’re probably enjoying the hell out of it. This sport is our passion; it’s what we live for on the weekend, what we talk about with friends, and what we build a significant part of our lives around. Just give us a little space and respect, and we’ll all be fine.



We’re Not Just Cyclists

It’s easy for us to reduce entire groups of people—drivers, cyclists, etc.—to a monolithic “other.” But none of us can be so neatly categorized.

So next time you feel impatient or annoyed with a cyclist, remember we’re fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. We’re your co-workers, your neighbors. We see you at the place we volunteer, or at church, or the grocery store. We’re part of your community. We’re you.

5 ways to improve your cycling endurance

Boost your endurance on the bike to ride long distances with ease.

Knowing you’re able to ride as long as your route, riding mates or imagination requires is a very powerful feeling. Conversely, feeling dread about passing the one-hour, two-hour or three-hour point will limit your training and fitness gains, and ultimately your enjoyment.


1. Think about your fuel

To really have good endurance you need to make the most of your internal reserves. These are glycogen (carbohydrate) in the muscles and liver, glucose in the blood stream, triglycerides (fats) stored in the muscles and that all-important biggest store of fuel: body fat.

So which of these fuel tanks is most responsible for keeping you riding? Well, it won’t be a lack of fats, lactic acid overload or a lack of oxygen that makes you get off the bike. Instead, running out of muscle glycogen, low liver glycogen or low blood glucose levels is what will stop you in your tracks. One or all three of these will cause the infamous ‘bonk’, ‘wall’ or ‘the knock’.


2. Increase your carbohydrate intake

To elongate your endurance you need to make sure that before long rides you have one or two days where you ensure that carbohydrate foods are eaten every three hours, with plenty of water consumed with each meal. This carbo-loading helps you stock up with muscle glycogen, but only if you ride very easy on these days. Carbo-loading but hammering short, sharp rides because you feel good does not maximise glycogen.



3. Eat an early pre-ride breakfast

Even starting with your glycogen stores stocked up does not guarantee you maximal endurance. The morning of the ride you should get an early breakfast of carbs, protein and fat around two to three hours before you head out.

Eat too close, say an hour before, and you’ll reduce rather than increase your endurance. So, either get up early or drink a carb-rich drink as you leave the house to start riding.


4. Stay topped up throughout your ride

Aim for 200 to 400 calories in liquid or solid form but know (by trying them out on training rides ahead of the main event) that they sit well on your stomach. If you are confident that your levels are high, you can start a ride fasted, but you need to feed religiously every 20 minutes or you will crash soon after missing one or two feeds. Aim for around 60 grams of carbs per hour during the ride as an estimate.

Researchers in the USA have shown that consuming 15g honey or glucose taken every 10 miles during a 64km ride improves performance compared to water alone. Riders with the high glycaemic glucose and low glycaemic honey got home 2.75 minutes earlier, having averaged almost 40 watts more output over the last 10 miles compared to water drinking-only riders.

If you find you regularly get dropped at the end of rides and have been riding on water alone, this research is especially for you!


5. Train your body for endurance

To really get the most from your body, start in the weeks, or rather months, beforehand with regular riding to make your body fitter and better at using its fat stores. Fit riders use higher amounts of fats and are more efficient at stretching out carbohydrate reserves. Use this simple reminder about what makes you fitter: A B C. That is, Aerobic riding four to six hours a week, Breakfast-less rides for up to two hours to make your body fat-burning savvy, and Consistency.

Teaching your body to go longer is a talent that is earned. If you do have a tendency to do too much, then lose motivation, ride yourself into illness or always feel you’re the only person who never seems to progress, take heart. Almost anyone can extend their endurance and achieve 100k, 100 miles or more. You may not set a competition record along the way but you can still make the distance.

Consistent riding gives you improved endurance and better use of fats. Once you start to increase your longest ride, the challenge is to set a bigger goal every second or third week. By taking yourself physically and mentally into new time-zones you experience the feeding, pacing and fatigue tests that new horizons bring. Choose riding buddies with a similar or higher stamina and stay close together so you can encourage each other.




Paris to go completely car-free for an entire day this September

For one glorious day in September, the car-free streets of Paris will be without traffic jams, car horns, or the smell of exhaust fumes. On “Journée sans voitures,” or Car Free Day, the city hopes to raise awareness of alternative transportation and the mindfulness that can come from experiencing all the city has to offer at a walking pace.

Following in previous years’ footsteps, Car Free Day will take place on September 25 this year. From the hours of 11am to 6pm all motorized vehicles will be banned from the streets, inviting cyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians to revel in the quiet atmosphere of a carless city. The Conventions and Visitors Bureau states, “People from the Paris region and visitors will be able to enjoy a peaceful and breathable city with 648.15 kilometers of car-free roads, equivalent to 45% of the area of the city.”

The event is expanded this year to cover nearly ever neighborhood in the French capital. Car Free Day is the brainchild of non-governmental organization Paris Sans Voitures, Collectif Citoyen, who says the special day “emphasizes mobility issues, the fight against pollution, the reclaiming of public space.” There will be free outdoor activities for the public and a sense of camaraderie that is often missed when people buzz about in cars and buses.

10-point maintenance check for your road bike

Good advice from

The bits that many people overlook

Despite road bikes being a relatively simple mechanical device, many cyclists focus on just one or two areas when it comes to maintenance check. They might be fastidious about keeping their bike clean and well lubed, or making sure their gears and brakes work properly, but many other maintenance tasks are often abandoned until something breaks or fails.



Even seemingly well-maintained bikes often hide spoiled headset bearings. They sit inside your head tube and are likely to suffer the torture test of your sweat dripping with every hot day of riding, and are likely to corrode.

To prevent this, remove your stem and drop the fork out of the frame. This is easiest with the bike on the ground. Newer frames will have sealed bearings, which just need a thin coat of grease on the surfaces. Put it all back together and torque to spec.

If you’ve let it go too far and the bearings feel rough, you must now try to source the right replacement headset bearing (that’s a whole different article).

This is also a perfect time to inspect your fork steerer for any signs of stress or damage. Be sure to check close to where the bearing races contact and where the stem clamps.


Gear cables

Gear cables can get kinked and fray, leaving you on the road without shifting. This is especially true for older 9- and 10-speed Shimano groups where the gear cable is external. These cables are constantly bent in the shifter and become weak over time.

Assuming you have external cable routing (likely given the age of these shifters), shift the relevant derailleur onto the largest cog. Now, with the chain holding the derailleur in this position, stop moving the cranks and click the shifter all the way down the opposite way — this will release all tension from the cable and allow you to pull it free from its guides. Poke the cable out of the shifter and check for any signs of fraying or kinks — replace if dubious.

If there is no kink to be found, drip some dry chain lube on that inner cable and work it through the housing segments.



So many cyclists will repair or service nearly everything yet ignore their pedals — even moving old, clapped-out pedals across to a brand new bike.

Watch for loosening bearings and of course worn cleats. Many pedals can be tightened or serviced to keep them spinning smoothly, but a worn cleat surface on the pedal body cannot be fixed, and the off-axis movement this causes can lead to knee pain and other issues. For example, older Look Keo pedals without a metal contact surface would wear in this manner.




Despite the common belief that a good freewheeling noise is a sign of quality, most freehubs shouldn’t sound like a Harley. If your hub has gotten noisier over time, it’s likely that it’s dry or dirty and needs some attention.

With the right instructions and tools (usually Allen keys and/or cone spanners, and sometimes a bench vice) this isn’t a hard or long job. Just be sure to read up on the process for your hub before starting, and be careful not to drop small parts.

Many quality brands will specify their own lubes. To ensure you don’t get chain droop or drops, it’s usually best to stick with the recommended lube. If in doubt, go with a thin grease or thick oil, standard grease will often cause drag and sticking.



Keeping your chain clean and well lubed is certainly crucial, but don’t forget to measure for wear every so often.

To give an extreme example, many pro teams replace their chains every 1,000km, so that over three seasons they very rarely wear out cassettes or chainrings. Of course it doesn’t make sense for everyday riders to change their chains this often, but it does give you an idea that if you replace your chain often enough, you’ll get plenty of life out of the rest of your drivetrain.

There are plenty of chain checkers on the market and they all work in roughly the same way, providing a rough guide on when to replace a chain. Personally, I use either a Park CC-3.2 or a Feedback Sports Digital Chain Gauge (it’s highly accurate but quite expensive).



Derailleur hanger

It’s easy to bend the soft alloy derailleur hangers on modern road bikes and so, if your shifting is not perfect, check whether your derailleur hanger is straight.

If your bike ever falls derailleur-side down (whether you’re on it or not at the time), you should always check that the derailleur hasn’t been hit or knocked out of line. Otherwise you could be pulling the chain out of your spokes before you know it.

If you’re keen to do it yourself, the Park Tool DAG-2 is one of the most affordable and trusted hanger tools on the market. Brands such as X-Tool and LifeLine make cheaper versions too.



Checking your tires between rides may pre-empt the dreaded roadside puncture.

Look for cuts or tears in the tread and sidewalls. If your tire is getting flat in the center, then it’s probably worn. Any protruding glass or wire must be removed, and if the tire is punctured through the casing, consider replacing it.

Personally, I have a maximum three flats per tire rule; after that the tire gets chucked.


Brake pads

Brake pads have wear indicators, so it’s easy to see if they have life left in them, but are they wearing evenly and still contacting the rim square?

If not, you can use a coarse file to get a little more life out of unevenly worn pads. Once you’ve squared them off, readjust the pads so that they contact the rim correctly.

On a similar note, your levers should have a light feel and not need excessive force to pull the brake. If they do, consider replacing your brake cables and giving the caliper a service.


Loose and rattling parts

Rattles and creaks can be avoided and while some can be a pain to find, most of the time it’s the simplest of things causing them.

To start, check for loose bottle cage bolts and jingling items in your saddle bag. It’s astonishing how often bikes have a slightly loose bottle cage.

Other common causes of rattling are loose cassettes, hubs or headsets. Rattling shifters is another, but can be harder to fix depending on the model, make or issue.

Chainring bolts can work themselves loose and easily disguise themselves as a creaking bottom bracket or pedal.

Tools for chainring bolts vary. Some brands need a 6mm and/or 5mm hex wrench, others now use Torx-30 and need a chainring bolt tool on the back — the Park Tool CNW-2 is a cheap and effective option.



Bar tape

Too many cyclists ride with ripped, torn or old and compressed bar tape. It’s cheap to replace and, like new tires, brings new life to any bike.

Another important reason to replace your bar tape occasionally is it gives you a chance to safety check your handlebar for cracks or corrosion.

Before you replace the tape, consider doing new cables too — they are tucked beneath it and replacing the bar tape is just as time-consuming as replacing cable.


Good advice from

Be Careful Out There! Mountain bike pedal sparks forest fire

California fire ignited by a mountain bike pedal striking a rock, investigation claims.

Fire investigators have concluded that sparks from a mountain bike pedal striking a rock caused a recent fire in a US National Forest that spans parts of California and Nevada.


A statement posted Wednesday on the Inyo National Forest Facebook page claimed that an investigation determined the cause of the blaze to be a pedal strike.

“The cause of the Rock Creek fire that started on August 5th has been determined. Investigators have concluded that the fire was started from a bicycle pedal strike to a rock. Conclusive evidence was found in the fire origin area that was on the Lower Rock Creek mountain bike trail. A fire ignition from this type of trigger is a testament to how dry the area is right now. All residents and visitors are asked to be extremely careful with anything that may cause a fire while you are out in the forest,” the post read.

Inyo National Forest spans portions of eastern California and western Nevada. Extremely dry summer conditions have increased the risk of forest fire. The Rock Creek fire burned approximately 122 acres before it was suppressed.

Speaking on behalf of the Inyo National Forest, fire prevention technician Kirstie Butler told BikeRadar that, while the exact cause of many forest fires go unresolved, the evidence in this instance was definitive.

“All the holes in the Swiss cheese lined up perfectly,” Butler said.

Investigators traced the source of the Rock Creek fire back to a single rock on a trail surrounded by cheatgrass. Cheatgrass is an invasive species in the western United States that is quick to grow back after fires. It dries out in summer, creating a fuel source for subsequent blazes.

The day the fire started, temperatures were high, winds were moderate and humidity levels were in the single-digits — ideal conditions for wildfires.

Marks on the rock and bits of metal indicated that a spark from a pedal strike ignited the cheatgrass.

“It really doesn’t take much for cheatgrass to ignite. Anything could start a fire in conditions like this. It would have been like striking a flint,” Butler noted.

According to Butler, while this may seem like an incredibly unlikely chain of events, the US Forest Service has evidence that this has happened before. She notes that sparks from chainsaws and lawn mowers are frequent causes of wildfires. To date, there have been 4,084 wildfires in California, burning a total of 150,498 acres in 2016.

Butler, who is a mountain biker and has frequently ridden the Lower Rock Creek Trail, doesn’t believe the incident will result in trail closures to mountain bikers, nor does she view mountain bikers as more of a fire hazard than any other trail user group.

“This is not about pointing fingers; we know it wasn’t done maliciously. We understand that mountain biking is a popular activity and we’re not trying to say that this is a reason to stop. It’s just something to be aware of,” said Butler.



5 Myths About Bicycling

From the


Each year, 100 million Americans jump on a bicycle at least once, especially when the weather gets warm. Some of these pedalers are recreational riders; others rely on their bikes for transportation to and from work. In the past few years, cities have rushed to accommodate such travelers: Scores of bike lanes and bike-share programs have popped up. But there are still a lot of misconceptions about getting around on two wheels. As the number of cyclists rises, it’s important to keep in mind some truths about who they are, how they behave and what impact they have on the space around us.


1. Mandating helmet use is the best way to keep riders safe.

There’s no doubt about it: Helmets save lives. Studies show they reduce the risk of cyclist head injury by 85 percent. Recently, bike advocates such as Greg Kaplan have argued that riding without a helmet should be illegal. “Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is analogous to wearing a seatbelt while driving,” he wrote in Bicycling magazine.

In truth, there are better ways to keep cyclists safe. And legislating helmet use can distract from the many policy interventions that would actually help more. Helmets don’t prevent crashes, and people can be badly hurt in a collision with a moving vehicle, whether or not their heads are protected. Building dedicated infrastructure to keep bikes away from cars is a more effective way to save lives.

Here’s proof: Most European cities don’t require riders to wear helmets. Yet in those cities, there are fewer cyclist deaths and injuries per capita than in the United States. Experts say that’s because of their infrastructure. And studies show that when drivers see cyclists in helmets, they behave more recklessly, driving closer to pedalers and increasing the possibility of accidents.

Mandating helmet use also tends to reduce overall ridership, since some people would rather skip bicycling altogether than risk punishment for not wearing a helmet. When that happens, bike density decreases and the presence of cyclists is less apparent, which leaves those who remain more vulnerable.


2. Cyclists break more traffic laws than drivers do.

When confronted with cycling safety proposals, lawmakers across the country have claimed that bicyclists don’t deserve new laws until they follow existing ones. When the Virginia Bicycling Federation was trying to get a new passing law enacted, it said it was told that “bicyclists are often lawbreakers, unworthy of any added protection under the law.” Others echo this claim: The Spectator, a British magazine, called cyclists “a menace to society.”

Most cyclists do say they’ve rolled through a red light once in a while, if the street was clear of oncoming cars, or have hopped on a sidewalk to avoid a crowded road. These acts are illegal in many cities. And occasionally, bikers act unpredictably and irresponsibly, putting themselves and drivers in danger.

But let’s put those bad acts in perspective: According to Wesley Marshall, a University of Colorado engineering professor who surveyed more than 17,000 cyclists and drivers, drivers copped to breaking the rules at a slightly higher rate than bikers. It’s the rare driver who never speeds, after all. And sometimes, drivers think cyclists are breaking the law when they’re really not – it’s usually legal to take up a whole lane, for example, rather than staying on the right side of the road.


3. If more people rode bikes, there’d be noticeably less traffic and pollution.

A lot of bicycle evangelists see cycling as the fix for all kinds of urban problems, from congestion to smog. Forbes wondered whether bringing back bicycles could fix Beijing’s traffic woes. Bicycling magazine says cyclists could be a “huge part” of combating global warming. “How much can bicycling help fight climate change?” Streetsblog asks. “A lot, if cities try.”

Sure, if everyone gave up their cars tomorrow, the health of our cities and our climate would improve. But this is wishful thinking. Just 1 percent of Americans regularly commute by bicycle. Even if that number doubled, cycling wouldn’t significantly cut smog and congestion. And for many people — families with small children, the millions who live 10 miles or more from their jobs, the elderly and the infirm — biking just isn’t a realistic possibility.

Even if significantly more people rode bikes, it probably wouldn’t make a serious dent in our traffic problems. Studies have shown that congestion increases in cities where there are more bike riders but no new bike lanes. As city planners have long realized, the only thing powerful enough to lure drivers out of their cars is a combination of robust bike infrastructure and a comprehensive transit system. Just look at the cities where the most people get to work using biking and transit: High shares of one mode tend to correspond with high shares of the other. Many cities simply don’t have anything like what it would take to meaningfully reduce car use.


4. Bicycling is mostly for the wealthy.

You probably know the stereotype of city cyclists: spandex-clad guys tooling around on bikes that cost more than your car. “Twenty-five years ago, they might have gone out to buy a Porsche or a supersport motorbike, now it’s a $5,100 carbon fiber bike,” marketing specialist Michael Oliver told Business Insider. Anthropologist Adonia Lugo explains that bicycling is often promoted as “an urban lifestyle. You don’t do it because it’s cheap and you need to get somewhere. It’s presented as an opportunity to be part of urban chic fashion.”

But in truth, the majority of cyclists are not the rich but the poor. Statistics consistently show that bicycling is equally prevalent among people of all income levels and may even be more common in the lowest-earning quartile. One PeopleForBikes study found that 40 percent of American adults who ride have incomes of less than $20,000. That makes sense. For distances slightly too far to walk, biking is often the fastest, cheapest way to get around, especially for people who can’t afford to buy and maintain cars. Unfortunately, the infrastructure has yet to catch up. People who make less than $20,000 a year say they’re less satisfied than others with the bike paths, lanes and trails in their neighborhoods.


5. Bike-sharing programs make roads less safe.

Whenever a U.S. city considers installing a bike-sharing program, people worry. When New York proposed its Citi Bike system, the Daily News warned of “hell on wheels” and suggested that it would be nearly impossible to keep pedalers safe. The city’s comptroller warned that the program would lead to more accident lawsuits against the city. This fear seems to make sense. People rent big, clunky bikes and ride them slowly around town, often without helmets, probably careening into stationary objects and causing pile-ups behind them. Right?

After a few years of collecting data on the systems that have sprouted in cities across the country, researchers have found this not to be true. According to a report released in March by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, there have been zero fatalities from bike-sharing programs in the United States since the first systems were established in 2010. They also have a lower non-fatal injury rate than bicycling generally, and researchers think that’s precisely because the bikes are so large and visible, and riders can’t pilot them as aggressively as conventional bikes.

In European cities, these systems make the rest of the cycling population safer as well, as they increase driver awareness, slow down traffic and increase pressure for safety-enhancing street infrastructure, such as protected bike lanes, for everyone to use.

From the

Bicycle Safety

Bicycling is one of the best ways to stay in shape, see the sights, save money on gas and reduce pollution. The benefits are well-known to cycling enthusiasts and local leaders nationwide who have created bike-friendly communities, complete with paths, special bicycle parking areas and other conveniences. National Bike Safety Month in May is just one way we celebrate our love to ride. (See more on that below.)

The Risks

Bicyclists must take extra precautions when they ride. They often share the road with vehicles, which creates a host of hazards, but injuries can happen even on a designated path.

Did you know in 2014, bicycles were associated with more injuries over all age groups than skateboards, trampolines, swimming pools and playground equipment combined? According to Injury Facts 2016, the statistical report on unintentional injuries created by the National Safety Council, 510,905 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2014 after being injured riding a bicycle. The only sport resulting in more injuries overall was basketball, at 522,817. Football was third, at 396,457.

According to Injury Facts, about 1,000 deaths resulted from cyclists colliding with motor vehicles in 2014. With about 80 million bike riders sharing the road with millions of motorized vehicles, the importance of safety precautions in traffic cannot be overstated.

Use Your Head, Protect Your Noggin

Cyclists who wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60% and brain injury by 58%. That statistic makes sense when you consider the first body part to fly forward in a collision is usually the head, and with nothing but skin and bone to protect the brain, the results can be fatal.

Helmets must meet federal safety standards and should fit securely. This National Highway Traffic Safety Administration video offers instruction on how to properly fit a helmet.

Follow These Rules to Keep Safe


  • Get acquainted with traffic laws; cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists
  • Know your bike’s capabilities
  • Ride single-file in the direction of traffic, and watch for opening car doors and other hazards
  • Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections
  • Never hitch onto cars
  • Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder
  • Wear bright clothing and ride during the day
  • If night riding can’t be avoided, wear reflective clothing
  • Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes
  • A horn or bell and a rear-view mirror, as well as a bright headlight, also is recommended

Vuelta a Espana: Teams presented in Ourense

The Vuelta: Galicia provides a tasty send-off for the peloton

The 198 riders of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana were presented in Ourense today in front of a glistening blue lake, but the teams were not the only entertainment for the fans.


After the traditional photo-op and brief interviews of the various favourites, the organisers put on a cooking show featuring 12 chefs from the Grupo Nove, 9 from the Friends of Galician Cuisine and 21 Designations of Origin, Protected Geographical Indications and Differentiated Quality Brands all with an aim at introducing the world to the unique gastronomic pursuits of the region.

“We will show the great value of Galician gastronomy; a combination of tradition, innovation and quality of products as well as the great potential and virtue of its chefs, who will unleash their imaginations, turning the show’s presentation and staging into a large-scale spectacle that will delight our five senses,” said Nava Castro, the Director of Galician Tourism, according to the race’s website.

The Vuelta marks its second start in Galicia in the past four years and the eighth time in the race’s history.


The race will go through all four Galician provinces, before crossing into Castilla y Leon in stage 7, which finishes in Puebla de Sanabria.


View the gallery here.


New Protected Bike Lanes in Store for Union Street


City receives Metro grant to eventually create ten new bicycle corridors


Dramatic changes are around the corner for Pasadena’s ever-growing legion of urban cyclists.


The city has just been awarded a $2,714,430 Metro grant for phase one of a east-west, two-way cycle track, as part of a protected corridor on Union Street, from Hill Avenue to Arroyo Parkway. As part of the new “road diet” — the lessening of lanes to include bike lanes — fourteen intersections on Union Street will eventually be upgraded with new bicycle signal heads in both directions from Hill Street to Arroyo Parkway, along with the installation of protected left turn pockets for vehicles, as part of the track.


Solid concrete barriers will also be constructed between the cycle track and the travel lanes, so that parked cars will actually protect cyclists from moving traffic. The service area for the new project will include Pasadena City College, Caltech, the Playhouse District, the Central District and Old Pasadena.


According to a presentation at Pasadena Presbyterian Church Tuesday by Rich Dilluvio, senior transportation planner and Pasadena’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, the new track is the beginning of what will eventually be ten new bicycle corridors throughout the city. The new corridors are part of the City’s Bicycle Transportation Action Plan, approved as part of the Mobility Element of the city’s General Plan, in August of last year.

New Protected Bike Lanes in Store for Pasadena’s Union Street from Pasadena Now on Vimeo.



Phase II of the program will extend the track itself from Hill out to Wilson Avenue, and will also include a bicycle boulevard on Holliston Avenue, with two new signalized intersections to more easily connect the Union Street cycle track to bike lanes on Cordova Street.


The overall creation of new bike lines throughout the state was initiated in September 2008 with the passage of Assembly Bill 1358, the “California Complete Streets Act.”


“In order to fulfill the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make the most efficient use of urban land and transportation infrastructure, and improve public health by encouraging physical activity,” the act states, “transportation planners must find innovative ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled and to shift from short trips in the automobile to biking, walking and use of public transit,”


The legislation also added that, “Commencing January 1, 2011, upon any substantial revision of the circulation element, the legislative body shall modify the circulation element to plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of the streets, roads, and highways for safe and convenient travel in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.”


In other words, get California motorists out of their cars.


Transportation Department staff estimate that a Letter of Agreement to initiate the project funding, which will include a local match of $684,613, will be ready to present to City Council in early Fall of this year. Following the approval of the funding, environmental clearances will commence, followed by design engineering.


Actual marketing and advertising for the project is scheduled to begin in February 2021, with construction beginning in June 2021.


“Anyone of these scheduled dates could also come sooner,” added Dilluvio.


Union Street currently has one three lanes of westbound one-way traffic. The new project will eliminate one lane to make room for the protected track. According to Dilluvio, Union Street was selected for the project since it is “under-utilized,” he said, with apeak volume of 700 cars and room for 2400. Once the road diet is completed, explained Dilluvio, the street would still have capacity for 1500 cars.

The 10 most epic bike rides.




Let’s start at the top. Literally. This cog-busting ride across the Himalayas scales four mountain passes above 4000 metres in altitude, with the option to cycle to the top of the road claimed as the highest in the world – 5600 metres above sea level – as an encore.

The 500-kilometre ride begins in the green foothills of the Himalayas at Manali in northwestern India and crosses to the high desert of Ladakh. It’s breathtaking in every sense, with barrenly beautiful Himalayan peaks crowding the quiet highway, which is usually open for about three months of the year (July to September).



With a fearsome reputation even among 4WDers, Cape York’s challenges and rewards come in equal measures.

From Cairns it’s a 1200-kilometre ride to Australia’s northern tip if you shun the main drag for the more pleasurable Bloomfield Track and Old Telegraph Track – the latter mixes tough sections of sand with the ride’s best moments between a succession of waterfalls.

When I cycled this route, the journey took three weeks and a great toll on my bike, but it remains fixed in my mind as one of the finest bike rides I’ve undertaken. Save your legs by returning from the tip aboard the Trinity Bay cargo ship.



Cycling to the South Pole sounds improbable and likely impossible, but this December the first commercial cycling tour group will set out for the world’s icy southern apex.

Riding on fat bikes (mountain bikes with extra-wide tyres), the expedition will fly in from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Union Glacier Camp and then to the 89th parallel, from where they will cycle for nine days to cover the final 110 kilometres to the South Pole.

World firsts don’t come cheap – it costs US$70,000 to join the expedition, but you get to keep the fat bike.



One of the world’s most difficult road mountain cycling challenges, the Raid Pyreneen has been shredding thighs since the 1950s. It requires you to ride the length of the Pyrenees, but you must do so in 10 days, pedalling 800 kilometres and climbing around 16,000 metres over 28 mountain passes.

The challenge is the brainchild of the Cyclo Club Bearnais and, if you succeed, the club awards you a Raid medallion. If somehow that all sounds too easy, you can always step up a gear to the randonneur version: 720 kilometres, 18 passes and 11,000 metres of ascent in just 100 hours. It’s exhausting just writing that.

Register your attempt online at least two weeks before you begin.



The pinnacle of non-competitive long-distance riding, Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) is one of the world’s oldest cycling events.

It was first run in 1891, 12 years before the Tour de France began, and is held every four years. The task is simple, even if the effort is not – pedal 1200 kilometres from Paris to Brest, by the western tip of Brittany, and back inside 90 hours. To ride, you must qualify through a series of other events up to 600 kilometres in length.

The next PBP will be held in 2019.



Once the most popular trekking trail in Nepal, the Annapurna Circuit has fallen into the clutches of mountain bikers. Realistically, the classic 300-kilometre circuit from Besi Sahar to Beni will take cyclists at least eight days (compared to about 15 on foot).

You’ll cycle as high as you may ever get in life – 5416 metres above sea level on Thorung La pass – and pedal through the deepest gorge on earth, beneath two of the world’s 10 highest mountains.

You won’t be pedalling it all – on the climb to Thorung La, for instance, you’ll probably be carrying your bike for up to five hours at a lung-destroying altitude.




Motorists might more commonly know it as the “Nulla-bored”, but there’s surprising diversity to Australia’s most notorious road when seen from bike speed.

The 1200-kilometre ride from Ceduna to Norseman comes with road trains and caravans for company, but traffic is typically light enough that they present few problems.

The longest stretch between the 10 roadhouses  is around 190 kilometres, so expect at least a couple of nights camped out in the middle of nowhere. The section of true Nullarbor plain is short, pinched between rolling mallee scrub and some of Australia’s most impressive cliffs tipping into the Great Australian Bight.




Every cycle tourer knows that wind is your enemy – do tailwinds even exist? – and this mostly unsealed Patagonian road between Puerto Montt and Villa O’Higgins is a journey into a true wind tunnel.

Despite that, the 1200-kilometre road, built only in the 1980s, sees a steady stream of cyclists, drawn here by the challenge and the postcard perfection of the fiords, snow-capped Andean peaks and glaciers. To get the best of the inevitable Patagonian winds, pedal it from north to south.




The world’s longest set mountain-bike route doesn’t just traverse the entire US, it continues on through the Canadian Rockies into Banff.

All up, it’s a 4400-kilometre ride from the Mexican border at Antelope Wells to Banff, zigzagging across North America’s Great Divide at least 30 times. All those zigs sure add up, with the GDMBR climbing more than 60,000 metres, about the equivalent of cycling up and down Everest twice (the only time you won’t be climbing or descending is through Wyoming’s Great Basin).

The route is remote and committing, and you’ll need to be carrying provisions at least through the New Mexico section.



Cycle the length of Africa, or just a really big chunk of it … it’s your call on the annual Tour d’Afrique.

The ride begins each January in Cairo, ending four months and 11,500 kilometres later in Africa’s other bookend, Cape Town.

If you have the time (and US$17,000) you can ride the whole thing (which includes 29 rest days); otherwise the event is broken into eight distinct sections – Cairo to Khartoum, or Victoria Falls to Windhoek, for instance. It’s no dawdle, with daily distances averaging around 130 kilometres.


Read more here.