Cycling Tips

Think! Cycling

The number of cyclists seriously injured has increased in recent years, faster than the increase in cyclists out on the roads.

The facts

  • The number of cyclists killed increased by 10% from 107 in 2011 to 118 in 2012
  • The number of cyclists reported to have been seriously injured increased by 4% from 3,085 in 2011 to 3,222 in 2012Pedal cyclist traffic levels are estimated to have risen by 1.2% over the same period.
  • Most (92%) of these accidents involve another vehicle.

THINK! safety tips for drivers and cyclists

The campaign consists of a series of tips, developed to educate and remind drivers and cyclists about the correct way to drive and ride, and reduce the number of collisions on the road.

  • Drivers look out for cyclists at junctions.  Drivers look out for cyclists when getting out of the car.
  • Motorists leave room for cyclists.
  • Cyclists ride central on narrow roads.  Cyclists ride a door’s width from parked cars.
  • Cyclists always stop at red lights.

THINK! advice for when you’re driving

  • Look out for cyclists, especially when turning – make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them.
  • Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react.
  • Give cyclists plenty of space when over-taking them, leaving as much room as you would give a car.  If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back.  Remember that cyclists may need to maneuver suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened.
  • Always check for cyclists when you open your car door.
  • Advanced stop lines allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility.  You must stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and allow cyclists time and space to move off then the green signal shows.
  • Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights.

THINK! advice for when you’re cycling

  • Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the curb — look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you.
  • Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen.
  • Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor.
  • Wearing light colored or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility.
  • THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations.

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A few things every female cyclists should know

Last weekend’s doubleheader race at Alpenrose was off the charts. Maybe it was the sunshine or the incredibly fun course design, maybe it was the good company, maybe it was the smile on my face as I pedaled to the start line, or the lack of stress and pressure I put on myself. Whatever it was, I had fun – and I am going to keep on having fun.

Cyclocross is the most fun on two wheels – I am quickly remembering why!

Oh, but on to the real purpose of this blog post – A few things every female cyclist should know.

I believe there are a few bits of important information that should be included with the purchase of every pair of cycling shorts and shared with every woman who makes the decision to ride her bike. Information that should be shared but isn’t, for risk of embarrassment or ridicule, or simply because the “right question” isn’t even known.

If just one person finds a bit of usefulness out of the following, I will deem it a


  • No need to wear undies with your chamois. Cycling shorts are designed to be worn directly against your skin with the mission of keeping you comfy and chafe free. Don’t mess things up putting a layer of abrasive cloth between you and your carefully engineered chamois.
  • And speaking of staying chafe free… Chamois Cream, Butt Butter, Cham Jam – whatever you want to call it, use it, every time you ride your bike. My preferred method of application is to apply a generous amount directly to my crotch region / sensitive parts, but you can also lather the chamois directly, before putting on your shorts. Either way is effective; figure out what works for you.
  • Take off your chamois as soon as you are done with your ride, race, or cool down. Do not walk around in your shorts because you think you’ll look cool. The best thing you can do is to air yourself out; pull on breathable fabric underwear and loose fitting pants or a dress.
  • Do not put these shorts back on until they have been washed! This is not optional. Do not wear dirty cycling shorts. If you have worn them, they are dirty.

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Riding in Groups

The Bend Bella’s are all about encouraging riders to having fun and improve their riding. Whether you’re a road rider or a mountain biker, deciding which rides are most appropriate for you will help you to have more fun and meet other riders who ride at a similar pace, distance, and ability.

  • It’s important to note that your level of ability can fluctuate from day to day, month to month, or season to season, depending on life circumstances. Illness, injury, weather, and time constraints can all take away from your chance to ride and stay as fit as you might like. After an injury or a scary fall, your riding may drop temporarily as you rebuild your confidence.
  • Showing up for a ride and being reluctant or unable to ride at the posted ride pace can be discouraging, both to you and other riders. Regardless of what ride you end up with, do your best to be a good sport and fit in.
  • If you pick a ride that goes faster or has tougher terrain than you’re comfortable with, you may feel discouraged and pushed to ride beyond your comfort level. Bella ride leaders are committed to not dropping any rider … but they also have a responsibility to the entire group, so it’s important to try to stay together.
  • If you choose a ride that moves more slowly than you like, you may feel frustrated if you came looking for more of a workout than a social experience.
  • If you’re a faster rider who ends up waiting for the rest of the group to catch up, you can ask your ride leader if you can ‘opt out’ of the ride and be responsible for finding your own way home. However, this can discourage more moderate riders if you do this on a regular basis, so it’s not a good practice. If you’re a fast rider having trouble finding rides of your ability level, think about leading rides that meet your needs.
  • If you’re new to riding, unsure of your fitness or skill level, or moving from one sport to another (from road to mountain or vice versa), your safest option is to start with a Beginner or Advanced Beginner ride. If you don’t feel challenged and find yourself riding in the middle to front-half of the group consistently, you may be ready to move up to longer, faster rides with more challenging terrain.
  • Every time you move up a level, you may find yourself moving further back in the pack as you adapt. That’s o.k. and a natural part of learning new skills.

When riding with a group, there are some important rules of etiquette to follow, to keep everyone safe and happy.

  • Never pass a rider on the right.
  • Use your voice to warn riders behind you of upcoming obstacles or changing conditions (on the road, glass and other debris can be a danger; on the trail, a heads up about a downed tree or rider, rocky section, or approaching cyclist can be helpful.)
  • Try to ride at a consistent speed if there are riders behind you. If you’re slowing down or stopping, let them know to avoid a collision.
  • Don’t ride too close to the rider in front of you. Allow a little extra space in case the rider in front needs to swerve or slow down to avoid or tackle an obstacle.
  • If you’re falling behind, do your best and catch your breath as needed. However, don’t delay things further by stopping to take pictures, have a snack, answer phone calls, etc.
  • Give faster riders the opportunity to pass you. With road rides, this isn’t as big of an issue, but on a mountain bike trail it’s nice to ask “Do you want me to pull over?” if someone is on your tail and might want to go faster than you are able to ride.
  • Come prepared with a spare tube or fix-it kit in case of a flat. Have the tools and know-how to to make a repair if needed.

More than anything, Bella rides are about having fun, learning, and being supportive. Put a good attitude in your pack or tool kit. I’ve met some wonderful riders this season and it’s really enhanced my riding. I hope you’ve all had similar experiences. Looking forward to riding with you and enjoying other great Bella activities!

by Lauren Baker


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