Hazzard help for cyclists!

For me, bike riding is freedom. I have the pedal power to transport myself all over the local area, with the wind in my hair and the occasional bug in my teeth! However, I didn’t realise as a newbie that there are potential hazards to be avoided on the way, so let me pass on my findings…

Lefties rule!
Cycle pathsDuring our first ride, Other Half and I rode on the cycle paths in Stevenage at a leisurely pace, side by side, when in the distance, I could see a fellow male cyclist coming towards us. He and I were both on the right hand side of the cycle path; we both had plenty of opportunity to move over, but neither of us did. Hmm I thought, is this some sort of game of chicken bike initiation test? Neither of us budged, (although I moved as far to the edge on the right as I could) and we passed with only a small gap between us.

I tutted and shook my head wondering why he had been so stubborn about staying on my side when Other Half laughingly pointed out that cycle paths observe the same rules as the road i.e. you ride on the left! Unfortunately, the other cyclist was too far gone to hear my apology or see my flush of embarrassment. In my defence, the cycle path was unmarked and it’s only now that I’ve ridden on other routes with painted white lines, that the road-style layout is obvious. Still, another lesson learned…

It’s a bugs life…
Bug in teethFreewheeling down a hill or struggling to get up a steep gradient may create an involuntary smile or grimace, thus leading to the accidental ingestion of various bugs. I’m pretty sure it’s happened to me already and despite not being a vegetarian, I still find it difficult to consider it ‘an extra bit of protein’! I guess only time will tell if I remember to my mouth closed when out riding, but as Other Half will testify, it’s not that often that I don’t have something to say…

URO (Unidentified Random Objects) including:
Bike hazzardsDebris – including tree branches, carrier bags and fast food containers. You see them up ahead but the more you think about not running over them, somehow it seems to bring on the inevitability that you do. A good tip is to keep your eyes firmly on the route ahead instead of staring at the obstacle; I find the chance of avoiding it increase dramatically!
Children on bikes – appearing from nowhere screaming “I can’t stop!” at the top of their voices and zooming past your front wheel with only inches to spare.
Animals – although I’ve only encountered a few dogs off the lead and a horse rider so far, I read this blog post ‘Animals that potentially ruin bike rides’ with great interest.

What are your tips about ‘Things I wish I known when I started cycling’?

My current mountain biking kit for beginners: 2011 Merida Matts 20-MD Bike, Giro Skyla helmet, Altura Ladies Trail Liner Cycling Shorts, Altura Ladies Ascent Baggy Cycling Shorts, Altura Synchro Baggy Short 3/4, Endura Women’s Rapido Mitts

Thanks to sodahead.com for the bug image!

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