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Western Wheelers Bicycle Club

  • Bike Safety Tips

    Originally Published in the Flat Tyre

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    • Mon, April 01, 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      As we transition from the wintry, wet days into the spring season optimal for long rides, it is time to make sure your bicycle is in good shape. Study your bike and see if it is in good condition and ready to ride. If you have been putting off that tune up or trying to stretch that worn tire just a few more miles, now is a good time to get these maintenance items done. How many miles are on those tires? When was the last time you had your shifting cables changed, or checked your chain for stretch? Are your brake pads worn down? Have you cleaned off the grit on your bike acquired while riding on wet roads?

      Most rides will not stop while you fix a flat, nor is the ride leader expected to change your tire for you! Many of our organized rides are in more remote areas where a mechanical issue may be much more problematic, so be prepared and get your bike in top shape!

    • Fri, March 01, 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      On a recent WW group ride, there was a rock in the bike lane on foothill. 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 not crash, but did get a pinch flat. On a LDT ride a while back, a large pack of riders were entering 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 that 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 COMMUNICATE!

    • Fri, February 01, 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      My motivation for this month’s safety tip comes from the New Year’s Day bicycling crash experienced by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. You can read more about it here.

      In short, Sam was cycling toward an intersection with no stop sign in his direction. An SUV driving on the cross street with a stop sign, came to a stop, then proceeded through the intersection right in front of Sam, presumably not seeing him. Sam smashed into the SUV. Sam was completely in the right, but ended up with fractures to two of his vertebrae and his sternum, major scrapes on his body, bruises on his face and a swollen lip. The SUV had a smashed rear window (from Sam’s head). The SUV driver was issued a citation for failure to yield.

      The booklet California Bicycling Street Smarts, which was recently distributed at the Holiday Party has a section addressing this kind of situation.


      How do you test that a driver has seen you? Here's an example. Suppose that you are on a main street, riding toward an intersection. A car is approaching from the right in the cross street, where there's a stop sign. How do you handle this situation?

      As you approach the intersection, look into the car window and make eye contact with the driver to ascertain that the driver has seen you. Watch for the car to slow down more than it would if you weren't there.

      If you look into the driver's window and the driver isn't looking at you, then be very cautious. ... Slow down, and call out to get the driver's attention [or ring your bell].

      I heartily recommend reading Street Smarts as it provides useful information for cyclists at all skill levels. It will make you a safer rider with information such as where on the road to ride (not always on the far right), how to handle standard and non-standard intersections, riding in groups, and other useful topics. The generic (not California specific) version is available online. If you did not receive a physical copy but would like one, please contact Bill Sherwin with your mailing address.

    • Tue, January 01, 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      If you are like me, you tend not to ride on days when it is raining. But with all the rainy days at this time of year, we often ride after a day with heavy rain. At this time of year, there are places with wet leaves on the ground that are SLIPPERY! Late in the fall, we had a club member break her hip after taking a fall caused by sliding out while running over a clump of wet leaves. So, after a rainy day, or while riding through a damp canyon, be especially careful around wet leaves on the road.

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