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White Plains Cycling Club Offers Bike Tips For National Bike Month

Members of the Westchester Cycling Club stop for a photo during a ride.
Members of the Westchester Cycling Club stop for a photo during a ride. Photo Credit: Submitted

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- May is National Bike Month with National Bike to Work Week slated for May 11 to 15. Are you ready to ride?

The below safey tips are from the White Plains-based Westchester Cycle Club , a recreational cycling club comprised of members from Westchester, NYC and Putnam.

What to Wear: Bright colors, layers in all but hot weather, fabrics that wick (no cotton), fitted clothing that doesn’t flap or get caught in the wheels or chain. No jeans. Glasses for eye protection. Sunscreen. And, of course, always wear a helmet.

Bike Preparation: Pump your tires the night before each ride. In the morning, check that the tire is still firm. If the tire is soft, you have a slow leak and you can change the tube before the ride – rather than at mile 15 of the ride. Periodically, either clean and lube your chain yourself or bring it to the shop. Check other working parts; inspect your tires.

Tools and Equipment for Rides: Always bring a spare tube of the correct size, and tire levers and a pump or cartridge. Two filled water bottles or hydration backpack. Pocket food, such as bars, trail mix, or other food your body digests easily.

What to Eat: Always eat a moderate breakfast at least two to three hours before the ride starts. A nice balance includes some protein, carbs and fats. For a short ride, no breakfast and pocket food alone might get you by. On a longer ride, breakfast and pocket food is needed; again, easily digested food is always best. On the ride, eat before you’re hungry, and drink before you’re thirsty.

What to Bring: Identification, health information (conditions and medications), insurance card, emergency contact information, cell phone and some money. Carry these things on your body.

In general, remember:

  • Bicyclists are required by law to follow the same rules as cars.
  • Cars move faster than most riders anticipate. Cars are traveling at two, three or four times the speed of riders.
  • Be courteous to all riders and drivers. You are an ambassador for cycling.
  • Be aware at all times. Riding is not the time to daydream.
  • Anticipate – don’t wait until the last moment to move – don’t ride up to a hazard and then jerk around it; go around it in a smooth sweep and direct riders behind you around it.
  • Don’t focus on the rider or wheel ahead of you, look past the rider. On curves, look through trees/across land to anticipate oncoming traffic. On downhills, don’t focus on road directly in front of you, scan near and far, look far down the road (three telephone poles or more away).

Go here for ride information including many weekend events.

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