Stay safe & have a ton of fun riding all season long
You barely have to get your wheels turning to brainstorm the benefits of cycling. It’s a great way to be physically active outdoors (or indoors, on a stationary bike or trainer). It’s a form of active transportation that is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
It’s an all-ages activity that is fun for the whole family, including little ones in an age-appropriate bike seat or trailer. You can explore new areas and cover more ground than if you were walking. Finally, it’s a lifelong skill that helps develop balance, spatial awareness, muscle tone and endurance.
With May 17th being National Bike to Work Day, here are some tips from Cycling Canada to make your recreational cycling experiences safe and enjoyable:
Helmets are a must
Cyclists of all ages should wear a bike helmet during every ride. Luckily, helmets now come in a variety of cool-looking styles and colours, especially for kids. Any helmet that has taken the impact from a fall or spill should be replaced with a new one.
A helmet should be worn level, not tilted back or forward. As a sizing test, place your fingers flat against your forehead, above your eyebrow. If you can fit more than two fingers in the space between your eyebrow and the bottom edge of the helmet, the helmet is too small. Conversely, a helmet is too large if it fits loosely and allows your head to move around within it.
The straps should always be fastened snugly enough to prevent the helmet from shifting around on your head. The side straps should create a “V” shape just below each ear. Only one finger should be able to fit between the chin strap and your chin.
Don’t get your signals crossed
Just like cars, cyclists must signal their intentions before making a turn. A left-hand turn is indicated by an outstretched left arm. There are two accepted ways to show an upcoming right-hand turn. The more traditional option is to lift the left arm, bent at a 90-degree angle, like a letter “L”. An alternate right-turn signal is to extend the right arm, just as a car’s signal blinks on the side of the turn it will be making. To warn motorists that you will be stopping, bend your left arm at a downward 90-degree angle with your hand open.
Cyclists are expected to ride on the road, not the sidewalk. This helpful video from the Manitoba Cycling Association uses video game-inspired graphics to illustrate the correct practices for cycling alongside vehicles.
Let it ride
For further guidance about how to cycle safely and effectively, the CAN-BIKE program offers instruction at a variety of progressive levels. CAN-BIKE courses may be offered through your local community association, municipal department, service group or independent instructor. CAN-BIKE graduates report that they are more confident navigating through traffic and use their bikes more frequently after completing a course.
For more information, visit cyclingcanada.ca.
Are you ready for the first-ever Community Better Challenge?
Check out the Apple App Store or Google Play and download the new ParticipACTION app and start tracking your minutes. Track minutes through the app starting May 31st to be automatically counted toward your community score. The more you track, the greater chance your community has of winning! Find out more here.