Spring has arrived, and more people than ever are getting on their bicycles. Some of these bicyclists are new to biking, while many are getting back on two wheels for the first time in a long time. If that’s you, or you’re an experienced cyclist looking for a refresher or new ideas, here you go:
Time for a tune up: If you had to wipe the cobwebs off your bike, it’s possible that you may not be able to just climb on and ride safely. Thankfully, in both Ohio and Kentucky, bicycle repair shops have been deemed essential businesses during this time. You can make sure your brakes, tires, gears and more are all in proper working order before you start riding.
Put a helmet on: Helmets save lives. They can prevent serious head injuries in the event of a bike crash. While you’re at it, make sure your other safety gear is present too: reflectors, lights if you ride at night, etc.
Pay attention: Not only are there still cars on the road, although fewer than usual, there are many other people on bikes and a lot of people walking, jogging or running. Keep focused so you can give everyone else their space and avoid a bicycle accident. That means no earphones so you can hear what is happening around you.
Bring your phone: While it’s tempting to leave your phone at home to avoid the possibility of distraction, bringing your phone with is important in case of a bike accident or if something goes wrong with your bike and you need to look up DIY repair options or call for help. Also, it’s surprisingly easy to get lost when you get caught up in taking in the sights and breathing the refreshing spring air. Being able to get directions home on your phone is helpful. And remember, stop your bike and pull off to the side before taking pictures.
Go easy at first: After being stuck inside for a while, it might feel good to just climb on your bike and go, but if it’s your first time riding in a while, or ever, you may want to keep your first few rides short and reasonably paced at a lower gear in order to prevent sore legs for the rest of the week.
Use hand signals: Hand signals indicate to those around you which way you are going to turn. They can be as simple as pointing in the direction that you are intending to turn. Getting acquainted with bike hand signals can be a life saver.
Use bike lanes: Cincinnati and other cities in Ohio and Kentucky have been working to add bike lanes. Even when there’s less car traffic, it is good practice to use these lanes when they are available. While Ohio and Kentucky have not issued statewide bans to prevent biking on sidewalks, many cities have, so it is typically best for bike riders to stay on the road.
Go off road: There are many miles of bike trails in the greater Cincinnati area, in Newport, and throughout Ohio and Kentucky. Some are closed to prevent crowds, particularly ones in popular state parks, but others may still be open and accessible to riders. They offer a beautiful way to socially distance and explore nature.
We hope this helps and we hope you all stay safe!