Log in
Western Wheelers Bicycle Club

  • Safety Tips Originally Published in the Flat Tyre

    • Fri, April 01, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Life is like riding a bicycle: you don’t  

      fall off unless you stop pedaling. 
      ~ Claude Pepper  

      On group rides, it is all too easy to just blindly follow the person in front of you as he or she goes through an intersection or crosses lanes. But what is right for that cyclist might not be right for you. Don’t always follow what others are doing. Be sure that you make your own safety choices during a ride. Always look, listen, and think before proceeding. Just because the person in front of you goes through a stoplight, rolls through a stop sign, or changes lanes for a turn does not mean it’s safe for you to do so. There have been many near accidents caused by riders blindly following the actions of a rider 10 or more feet in front of them. When going through an intersection or changing lanes, look in all pertinent directions, use your own judgment, and stay safe!

    • Tue, March 01, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      The bicycle is a curious vehicle.  
      Its passenger is its engine.  
      ~ John Howard  

      One of the crashes reported for 2021 occurred when a cyclist fainted while riding due to being unknowingly dehydrated. The cyclist sustained a concussion and spent a day in the hospital. During a previous year, another club member experienced a serious medical issue due to not drinking water during a long ride. Don’t let this happen to you.

      Good hydration is important all year long. On warm or hot days we perspire heavily and need to drink frequently to replace lost fluids and stay cool. On cool days when perspiration is not as obvious, it can be easy to forget to drink for long periods or even for an entire ride. Everyone has a different internal thermometer, but it’s important to know your own needs and to tend to them in all weather conditions. Like several others, I have an alarm set on my cycle computer to remind me to drink at regular intervals. When there is a shortage of water sources on longer rides, riders should carry extra water—say two large water bottles and refill them at every opportunity.

    • Tue, February 01, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, 
      when work  becomes monotonous, when hope hardly 
      seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out 
      for a spin down the road, without thought on anything 
      but the ride you are taking 

      ~ Arthur Conan Doyle 

      Many WW routes have regroups listed on the ride sheets (e.g. LDT, FFS). We try to place regroups where there is room to get off the roadway, but use common sense and caution as well. Remember not to block traffic or hinder cars that are turning. It’s safer and more courteous to pull well off the road. Even on individual rides, call out when stopping and pull as far off the road as possible so as not to block cars or other cyclists.

    • Sat, January 01, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.    
      ~ James E Starrs   


      Many of the great rides we have in our area travel hills and have long descents. There are some important considerations for safely handling descents. Begin at home the day before the ride by making sure your bicycle is in good condition. Make sure your tires and brakes are in good condition and tires are fully inflated. Inspect your wheels for any misalignment or looseness. During your ride when descending, move back in the saddle to prepare for emergency stops. Many experts recommend getting "in the drops", where you have full braking leverage. Take care when passing fellow cyclists, always passing to the left, and announcing yourself before you pass. But most of all, SLOW DOWN! This is not a race and our roads are not in perfect condition, especially in the winter months when rain, leaves, and other debris are frequently present. You will enjoy the ride more if you are relaxed and not pushing the limits of your bike, road conditions, or your own abilities.

    • Wed, December 01, 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle.    
      ~ Winston Churchill    

      This is my annual safety tip warning of the dangers during this time of year due to wet conditions or debris on the road.

      While we tend not to ride on days when it is raining, we often ride shortly afterwards. During this season, there are frequent areas with wet leaves on the ground that are SLIPPERY. In 2018, a club member broke her hip after taking a fall caused by sliding out while running over a clump of wet leaves.

      Stormy conditions also cause sticks and other debris to fall on the road, much of it ending up in the bike lanes. In the past few years, we’ve had incidents where we sadly lost two club members after fatal encounters with an errant stick in the bike lane going into their front wheel. 

      After a rainy or windy day or while riding through damp conditions, be especially careful around wet leaves and keep a sharp eye out for dangerous sticks or other debris on the road.
    • Mon, November 01, 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Enough of this Sunday stroll. Let’s hurt a little.
      ~ Muzzin, American Flyers  

      When riding in groups, it is critically important to communicate intended actions that may impact cyclists riding behind you. Many club members have been in crashes caused by cyclists slowing down or making unexpected turns, forcing a cyclist behind them to either crash into them or crash while trying to avoid them. It is important to yell out “Stopping” or “Slowing” when taking one of these actions and to call out or signal when turning. Sometimes a cyclist must slow or stop quickly due to some issue ahead and it can be hard to think to call out, but it is something we all need to learn to do. At other times, a cyclist pulls over to take a picture or to make an adjustment on their bicycle not realizing their action may impact the rider behind them. The key is to always communicate your intended actions to the cyclists around you.

    • Fri, October 01, 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Riding bicycles will not only benefit the
      individuals doing it, but the world at large.

      ~ Udo E. Simonis

      I am writing this column to describe a dangerous behavior I have observed in other riders and have sometimes fallen into myself.

      While there are problem drivers, overall we are blessed with many courteous drivers. Often at intersections, drivers will wave cyclists through, even if the driver got there first or has the right of way. Unfortunately, this can lead to cyclists feeling privileged, assuming all motor vehicles will stop to let them through. One can get so used to drivers waving cyclists through, that when they come to a 4-way stop sign intersection that already has a car at one of the perpendicular streets, they’ll assume the car will wait for them to proceed. This is wrong and can lead to disastrous consequences.

      When you come to a 4-way stop that already has a vehicle waiting or a vehicle approaching the intersection before you, give them the opportunity to go first. If approaching at the same time, remember from your driver’s training that the vehicle on the right has the right of way. If the driver stops and waves you through, by all means go ahead, while giving a friendly wave or saying thank you to the driver. But always give the vehicle that has the right of way the opportunity to take advantage of it. Don’t assume that just because you can see that a driver notices you, you then have the right of way.

    • Wed, September 01, 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Robin Davis recently crashed while crossing train tracks at too narrow an angle. The tracks caught her wheel and she went down hard, sustaining serious injuries. She suggested repeating the recommendation on how to cross railroad tracks. This danger is further demonstrated in this terrifying video showing over 50 cyclists crashing while crossing railroad tracks. Several of the cyclists look to be quite seriously hurt.


      Crossing a railroad track at a shallow angle runs the risk of your wheel catching on the metal rail or the gaps next to it. The danger is much greater when the tracks are wet or when breaking during the crossing. The simple key conclusion from the study associated with the video is that the crash rate is dramatically reduced when the crossing angle is greater than 30º and is eliminated at greater than 60º.

      I know of a couple of risky skewed track crossings in our riding area. One is north bound on Winchester Blvd near 85 in Los Gatos; the other is where tracks cross Cox Ave. The key is to turn away from the tracks in advance, then veer back toward the tracks to cross them at a greater angle. Of course, if either turn puts you into the lane of traffic, you’ll need to make sure it is safe to do so.

      If you know of other dangerous train track crossings, please comment on this safety tip on the web site.

    • Sun, August 01, 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      On a club ride a while back, there was a rock in the bike lane on Foothill Expressway. Most people went around it, but a cyclist near the back of the group hit it directly, getting quite a jolt. Luckily, he managed to avoid a crash, but did get a pinch flat. On a LDT ride, a large pack of riders entered onto a bike path with a pole in the middle of the entrance. One cyclist later reported “this pole suddenly came at me and knocked me down.” Unfortunately, this cyclist sustained some minor injuries that kept him off the bike for a few weeks. Both of these incidents might have been averted with proper communication.

      Communication is very important when bicycling in a group. When you see a hazard ahead or a car coming up behind (or in front on a narrow road), please communicate this to your riding partners. Usually a verbal signal is best such as "car up" or "rock" or "gravel." At other times pointing out a hazard with a hand signal is best (remember that when biking we always point at the hazard). The important thing is to COMMUNICATE!

    • Thu, July 01, 2021 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Here are some safety tips related to mechanical failures discussed in the Turn at the Front column.

      The second most common mechanical failure mentioned in that column is a broken cable. When that happens with externally routed cables, don’t try to ride to a bike shop while holding onto your broken cable. One slip and it may easily get all tangled up in your bike, bringing it to a screeching halt and throwing you off the bike! Find a way to safely secure the broken cable to the bike before riding to help.

      Similarly for flat tires, never try riding on them to the bike store, especially with a flat front tire. The moment you attempt a turn, the tire will tend to roll, sending you sprawling onto the pavement. You need to either fix the flat and pump up the tire, or get a car ride to the bike store to get it fixed.

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software