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Biking 101

by Marie Spano, MS, RD

  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan on coming back, especially if you are cycling by yourself. In general, however, biking with other people is safer.
  • Always carry some food with you. Energy bars are easy to carry (although in warm weather, avoid bars with chocolate or yogurt coatings, which will melt in the heat). Energy gels, such as GU, Clif Shot, and PowerGel, are another option: They are essentially pure carbohydrate and can provide a quick pick-me-up when you need one.
  • On longer rides, carry your blood glucose monitoring supplies with you.
  • Rain can be particularly hazardous for cyclists. When it rains, the ground gets slippery, your bicycle’s brakes may not work as well, and visibility — both yours and that of motorists — decreases. If you ever get caught in the rain, ride conservatively: Use your bike lights, avoid roads with heavy traffic, yield to cars at intersections, and start slowing down before you turn to avoid skidding in the turn. If you are on a low-traffic street or on a bike path, ride in the center of the lane and not on the side, where puddles and wet leaves may collect. “Dragging” your brakes, or putting a little pressure on them as you ride, can help to remove water from your tire rims, making it easier to stop with your brakes when you need to.

    Last but not least, if you ever feel unable to control your bike — because of rain or anything else — stop and get off. You may get delayed (that’s why you brought your cell phone) or wetter than you otherwise would get, but you will be alive and able to take another bike ride when conditions are more favorable.

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    Also in this article:
    For More Cycling Information
    Getting the Right Fit



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    Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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