Training & Safety
ALWAYS START WITH SAFETY
- Remember: This is a Ride, not a race!
- Wear a helmet and carry a patch kit, tire levers, spare tube and pump at all times.
- Know and obey all traffic signals, signs, markings, laws and regulations.
- Always ride predictably and in control. Ride in a straight line and consciously try to avoid excessive weaving back and forth. In most vehicle-bicycle accidents, motorists say they never saw the bicyclists or didn’t see them in time to avoid the collision.
- Always use hand signals to indicate that you are going to make a right or left turn or are about to stop; motorists and cyclists need to know what you intend to do. If your hands aren’t free as you slow or stop, call out “SLOWING” or “STOPPING.” When stopping, pull to the right edge of the road. Move completely off the road to rest or make repairs. Also, whenever passing another cyclist, call out “ON YOUR LEFT!”
- Cycle with traffic, never against it. When moving from one lane to another, always give way to traffic.
- Keep to the right of the road at all times and leave other Riders plenty of room to pass on your left. The exception to this rule occurs when preparing for a left turn or avoiding unsafe road conditions (potholes, construction, etc.).Always stop at stop signs and look right, left, then right again before continuing.
- Always make left turns from the appropriate left turn lane.
- Riding single file is mandatory when cycling with a group. Do not ride side by side.
- Always be on the lookout for a person in the driver’s seat of any parked car you may pass. Parked drivers often swing open their doors without looking.
- Because it can be dangerous and leaves very little room for error, drafting is prohibited.
Your bike should be properly maintained and fitted to your frame. Also, follow a properly planned training schedule to avoid “overtraining” and any potential injuries.
This is a Ride, not a race. If you need to stop and rest, stretch or just enjoy the surrounding scenery, take the time to do so.
Whether for a training ride or The Ride, be prepared to handle the elements.
Wearing appropriate attire that can aid perspiration and wick moisture from the skin can keep you cool in warmer weather. Layering your attire for warmth is likewise essential during the colder months.
Beyond what you wear on the road, always use eyewear and sunscreen when outdoors to protect against UV rays—even in winter. Lastly, you can become easily dehydrated when cycling no matter the time of year, so drink plenty of fluids each time you train or ride. A good rule of thumb is to drink every 15 minutes, consuming at least 0.7 litres of fluid per hour.
AVOIDING “HITTING THE WALL”
“Hitting the wall” occurs when you have completely depleted the glycogen stored in your muscles and your body runs out of fuel. When this happens, disorientation, headaches, and loss of body and bike control set in. To avoid these side effects, eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty. If you experience any “hitting the wall” symptoms, get off your bike immediately and start eating and drinking to replenish your fuel stores.
Some of the warning signs that you’re pushing yourself too hard are fatigue, problems sleeping, low-grade fever, moodiness and irritability, joint and muscle pain, decreased appetite and increased resting heart rate. In other words, if you feel lousy but still push yourself unmercifully to maintain a training schedule, it’s going to do you more harm than good. If this happens, stop and take some time off so that your body can recover. You’ll find that you won’t lose ground. You’ll actually return to your training with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.
YOUR BICYCLE & HELMET
In nearly every sport, having and using the proper equipment adds to the enjoyment of the activity. Cycling is no exception. Moreover, having the right equipment when you ride increases your comfort tremendously. If you need a new bike or have questions about cycling gear, call the Ride office and your Ride Guides can help.
The most important thing for The Ride is a good bicycle that runs well and fits you properly. Poor bicycle fit leads to enormous discomfort over long rides and can cause injuries in the knees, upper and lower back, neck and arms. It is definitely worth the time, effort and money to take your bike to a reputable bike shop for a proper fit. If your bike isn’t the right size, there are parts that can be altered. If you’re not sure, one of our Outfitters will be happy to help.
Once you know your bicycle fits you well, it’s important to be certain that it is in good working order. Here again, it’s worth it to maintain your bicycle so that it serves you well and doesn’t break down during The Ride. If you haven’t ridden it in a while, scrape the cobwebs off and take it to your local bike shop for a tune-up.
A good helmet is essential for all cyclists. All Riders are required to wear a helmet while on The Ride and all training rides prior to the event. Cyclists who don’t wear helmets are roughly seven times more likely to suffer head injuries in a crash, and a cyclist who sustains a head injury is 20 times more likely to die than a cyclist who suffers other injuries.
Choose a helmet that fits securely on your head, is well ventilated and is certified. All Ride participants must wear a certified bicycle helmet.