If you are one of those who has rediscovered your love for cycling during the COVID crisis, chances are you might be considering cycling to work when the situation permits. This means you will be spending time cycling amidst chaos and traffic.
To make life a bit simpler, velocrush India has listed down a few tips that will help you navigate through the maze that is Indian roads and the intimidating traffic.
Start with a good road position:
When you start riding on the road, every cyclist is required to ride to the extreme left of the road. This is your primary road position, remember. This leaves you right next to the parked cars on the side of the road. Make sure you keep a safe distance from these cars for the random opening of doors, a dog or a human sprinting out of nowhere. Also, ensure to leave enough space to your left; in case someone presses you to the left, you have room to move in.
Keep an eye for what’s around you:
Road awareness is key to skilful riding on the road. Keep an eye out for drain covers, road humps, potholes, gravel, oil, water, junctions, traffic lights and more. Ensure to look way ahead and around frequently to get an idea of what’s coming and what passes by. This prepares you for situations that might need you to stop abruptly resulting in a fall or a moment of panic. It helps you better manage moments where you are unsure how to react or are forced to make a sudden manoeuver that other road users would not anticipate.
Building up a sense of anticipation:
There are many times, you won’t be able to control what everyone around you does. For instance, a dog running across the road, a football/cricket ball appearing suddenly, people with mobile phones glued to their ear, etc. Once you have registered this, you are alert and it’s best to stay alert so you can react if required.
Make your intentions clear:
An important skill everyone needs to master, is riding with one hand. This allows you to show signals to the cars around you so they know your intentions. While riding in a straight line, look behind, use hand gestures as needed and manoeuvre only when it is safe.
If you aren’t great at riding with one hand or looking behind, it’s best you practice in a safe traffic-free environment.
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Make eye contact:
Never make assumptions while cycling on the road. Some of the common ones being; the driver must have seen me, there might be no cars coming from the blind spot towards you, I’ll pass the signal before it turns red, etc.
If you have been cycling this way, you are riding your luck. Stop. Make eye contact with other road users (at junctions, side roads or roundabouts). This can be a lifesaver.
If you don’t see them react to you, it only means they haven’t seen you. So don’t assume.
Stay visible when riding your bike in the dark:
Lights are always good for the cyclist who prefers riding early morning or late at night. A white light in the front and red at the rear can make all the difference. Also, do get yourself a good reflective vest that makes you even more visible in the dark.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Keep your hands on the brakes:
As a kid learning to cycle, along with balancing, we are taught to keep our hands on the brakes. However, as we grow up, we tend to forget this important lesson. Cycling with your hands on the brake levers at all times, keeps you prepared to stop in the event of an emergency.
It’s best you use both the brakes at the same time when wanting to stop. Use them smartly, while being mindful of water, gravel or any other material on the ground.
Wear a helmet, always:
Whether you are going to meet a friend a few buildings away or just around your local market to run some errands, always wear a helmet. Well, mishaps don’t come with a warning and wearing helmet makes for a smart cyclist.
Wear bright coloured clothes:
If you find yourself cycling before the sun rises or after it sets, it’s best you appear visible to other vehicles on the road. To do so, wear bright coloured clothes. This will help you stand out and become visible to vehicles on the road with low lighting. A reflective vest can also be a good idea.
Invest in good bicycle lights:
Along with the reflective vest, lights will add more value. A blinker at the rear and a headlight in the front can make a huge difference. Be seen and see better with lights. This will help you stay safe and enjoy the ride.
Brush up your skills:
If you lack the above skills, we suggest you seek help from the cycling experts. Velocrush India has been teaching cycling to kids and adults for the past 5 years in Mumbai and Delhi.