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Get In Gear for Safe Biking

Aug 25, 2008
Anyone who scoffs at the importance of wearing protective bike gear should just take a look around. Cyclists are expected to share the road with motorcycles, cars, trucks and big tractor trailers. A bicycle is considered to be a legal vehicle, and cyclists are obligated to adhere to the same rules, laws and regulations as all other vehicles. Moreover, a cyclist has a personal obligation to protect him or herself from injury on the road.

No cyclist should purchase a bike without also buying the necessary safety gear. With the right accessories your journey will be more comfortable, more fun and above all, a lot safer.

A good quality helmet is the one piece of gear that no cyclist should be without. Wearing a helmet can really be a matter of life or death, and it is illegal to ride without a helmet in many places. Quality counts, so visit a cycle shop and ask for a professional opinion to get the best and safest helmet. The helmet that you choose should be made of superior materials that provide protection and comfort. Don't compromise quality, because a value-priced helmet may not prevent head injuries if you fall or are knocked from your bike. Look for a helmet with proper vents, so you can keep a cool head on those hot summer rides. Have your cycle pro help fit your helmet, as an improper fit can cause neck pain and dangerous riding conditions. If you think you're too cool to wear a helmet, or think a helmet will mess your hair, or just don't believe you'll ever fall from your bike, visit a hospital or group home. See the lasting effects of head injury, and you'll change your mind in a hurry.

On the road and on the trail, cycling can be thirsty business. That's why so many bikes are equipped with bottle cages. Water bottles can be dangerous, however, so many wise cyclists use hydration packs instead. Hydration packs give cyclists the benefits of fresh water without the hassle and danger of using a water bottle. These handy accessories also have storage spaces for keeping keys, cell phone, money and snacks. Using water bottles can cause cyclists to lose control, speed and concentration, but it is essential to stay hydrated during long rides and on hot, sunny days. Invest in a hydration pack. You can always use your existing water bottle cage to store an extra refill in case of an emergency.

Any cyclist who's ever taken a bug or a bit of debris in the eye will tell you that eyewear is a crucial component of your safe biking gear. Not only does good eyewear protect your eyes from debris, it also shields the bright sunlight. Serious riders purchase proper cycling goggles, while others opt for less expensive sunglasses. So long as it is good quality eyewear that fits properly, the choice is really yours. Lenses should be orange or yellow to brighten the road or track, light up dark and shady. In the evening or on overcast days, these lenses really do wonders for your visibility on the road.

If you're a casual or recreation cyclist, you can ride in just about any type of clothing. Long distance and extreme cyclists, however, often opt for padded cycling shorts. The padded seat makes riding more comfortable, and the soft material helps to prevent rashes and chafing.

Specialized half-finger cycling gloves make every journey safer and more comfortable. The palms are padded, yet the fingers are able to move freely. This design prevents calluses and rashes from developing on the palms, giving the cyclist a pain-free ride.

Don't overlook the safety aspects of the bicycle itself. If you are cycling for health reasons, don't be afraid to invest in a more expensive model. The extra money you'll spend is well worth the overall safety and comfort a lightweight bike with good suspension can bring.

Bicycles are the smallest vehicles on the road, yet cyclists are expected to share the lane and the responsibilities with all other traffic. Accidents can happen, and cyclists can't afford to take chances with safety.
About the Author
Writer Donald Taylor writes for a variety of well-known Internet magazines, on sports and leisure and sports recreation issues.
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