BicycleSource Newsletter

Lists of safety rules for cyclists are usually so pedantic as to be insulting to anyone with a teaspoon of intelligence. They generally including reminders to observe traffic regulations, not to hitch on to other vehicles, to listen for traffic approaching unseen, to watch other traffic, to use hand signals, to use reflectors at night, and so on.

On occasion an intelligent list is compiled. Ralph W. Galen, president of the League of American Wheelmen, suggests:

  1. Never raise the stem of the handlebars to the extent that the split in the stem can be seen. A broken stem will leave the rider in a helpless condition.
  2. When riding down a steep hill at high speed, keep the pedals horizontal to the ground and press your knees against the top bar. This will serve to dampen any vibration and/or whip that is set up in the frame. Once a vibration is set up, it is almost impossible to stop it without either coming to a complete stop or by falling.
  3. Check the quick-release levers before going on a ride or trip. A quick-release lever can become caught on another bicycle and the wheel loosened without the rider becoming aware of this condition until an emergency situation sets in.

    One story the author recalls involved a cyclist hopping his front wheel while crossing over uneven railroad racks, only to see his front wheel roll away after leaving his quick-release latch open.

  4. Keep your equipment clean and in good condition. Regular care will not only keep your equipment looking new longer but will keep it running in better condition.

  5. Once a wheel has been trued or the spokes adjusted following an accident or spoke replacement, always remove the tire to be certain that no spokes are protruding beyond the nipple head. A tube puncture from an extended spoke can not only be a nuisance but can also be the source of a serious accident.
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