What to Bring while Bicycling

As with anytime you leave your home it’s always good practice to have identification, a cell phone, and cash.

Bike Lock
Your standard equipment should include a good lock—you’ll need it if you are going to leave your bike unattended for even a very short amount of time. For the best security, use a cable lock to loop through your seat and a U-lock to link the bike frame and front wheel to the bike rack. A heavy chain lock can do all three, but keep in mind they can be heavy to carry.

Only bring the tools for the work you know how to do.

You will also want to bring some water and a snack if you are doing a longer ride.

What to Wear While Bicycling

There is no need to go out and buy special cycling gear – you can ride in your everyday clothes. 

Riding in the cold: Wearing layers is the best way to control your body temperature. Gloves and ear warmers are particularly helpful when trying to stay warm. 

Riding in the dark or rain: Wear bright clothing as you should make special efforts to see and be seen. Hi-Vis yellow and green are best colors for visibility — you will want to steer clear of dark colors.

If your chain doesn’t have a guard on it, you can roll up your pants legs to keep from getting caught.

Buying and Wearing a Bike Helmet

From guest contributor Margaret Beltrami:

For this week’s post we are going to dive deeper into bike helmets. I will highlight how to find the perfect helmet, what to look for in a good helmet, and when to replace it.

First, how should a helmet fit? Overall, your helmet should fit snugly, level on your head, and not rock back and forth or side to side. 

To find the perfect helmet fit:

Make sure you have the correct size: Try on multiple different helmetsand adjust the fit ring (located on the back) until your helmet is snug.

Check to make sure your helmet is in the correct position: Your helmetshould sit level and pretty low on your forehead. Check this by placing one or two fingers above your eyebrow. If there is too much space, your helmet should be lower on your forehead to ensure the greatest protection. 

Check your straps: Your side straps should sit under and a little in frontof your ears (the straps should form a “V” shape). Adjust your chin strap so that only one or two fingers fit snugly under the strap. This part is very important, because you do not want your chin strap to be too loose!

Do an overall check to make sure your helmet is fitted correctly: Yourhelmet should not rock back and forth or side to side. On the other hand, make sure it is not too tight that it chokes you or is uncomfortable to the point that you won’t wear it. Another way to test your helmet fit is to open your mouth widely. Your helmetshould pull down on your head and you should feel pressure. Do these simple checks before you ride to ensure a perfect (and safe) helmet fit!

Other things to look for when buying a helmet:
Whenever you buy a helmet look for a sticker that says it’s CPSC certified. Do you know what a CPSC sticker is? CPSC stands for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and they regulate and promote the safety of products. What this means for bike helmets is that the helmet has been tested and approved by the CPSC standards. Before you buy a helmet make sure there is a sticker on the helmet (usually on the inside of the helmet) that names the standard, and states specific information.

Take a look at the labels on these two different bike helmets to see examples of what this sticker can look like.

How to know when to replace your helmet?

The most important thing to remember is to replace your helmet after one impact. This means to replace your helmet if you ever fall from your bike, even if you do not visibly see any damage. This is because the foam material inside the helmet will crush to help absorb the impact from the crash and the materials will not be protective from another impact. This is why it is important to still replace your helmet after a crash even if visibly on the outside of the helmet it looks fine.

But should you replace your helmet after a long time of use even if it does not look damaged? Yes! A good rule of thumb is to replace your helmet after about every five years, because of the natural wear and tear. But be sure to also buy a new helmet if it looks broken or cracked. 

Taking care of your helmet:

Taking good care of your helmet is also crucial. Never sit or lean on your helmet, and never intentionally throw or slam it against the ground. Additionally, try and store it in a place that is not too hot or cold. 

That’s all for this week’s post! I hope you learned something new about helmets, or just had a refresher. Stay tuned for next week’s post all about properly fitted bikes, bike checks before rides, and tire pressure!

Wear Your Bike Helmet Correctly

Wearing a bike helmet improperly is like not wearing a helmet at all!

Fitting a Helmet:
•    Place it on your head without fastening the straps
•    There should be a two-fingers width between your eyebrows and helmet
•    There should be little movement when you shake your head from side to side
•    You will want to start out with the smallest size– you may have to try on different sizes and brands of helmets until you find one that fits

Adjusting Your Helmet:
•    The side straps should come to a point just below your ears forming a “Y” shape
•    When your mouth is closed, there should be about half an inch between the chin strap and your chin

Decatur is a GOLD Walk Friendly Community!!

The City of Decatur has been recognized by the Walk Friendly Communities Program as a Gold Level Walk Friendly Community (WFC) for its commitment to prioritize pedestrians and create safe, comfortable and inviting places to walk. Decatur has previously been recognized as Silver Walk Friendly Communities, and the new designation demonstrates a sustained commitment to prioritizing people on foot. Decatur is the smallest city of its size to achieve Gold recognition!

“As an avid walker and former Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, I am extremely proud of the efforts of the city of Decatur to earn the designation of a Gold Walk Friendly city,” said Mayor Patti Garrett.” The benefits of walking, to both physical and mental health, are well-documented and have been especially important over the last year.”

WFC is a national recognition program developed to encourage cities and towns across the United States to develop and support walking environments with an emphasis on safety, mobility, access and comfort. Sponsored by FedEx and managed by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), the program distinguishes communities leading the way in walkability and seeks to share their stories to inspire other communities to move toward their own innovative solutions. In the 11 years since the program began, it has recognized 78 cities across 32 States with Walk Friendly designations.

Highlights of Decatur’s application include:

  • Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, the City was able to continue numerous outreach efforts and public events that encourage people to walk. These events include FAB First Friday, Walk There! Decatur events, and a range of other encouragement campaigns to promote active transportation and health.
  • The City updated its Community Transportation Plan in 2018, which drives its investment in walking and pedestrian-oriented programs. The chapters devoted to pedestrians and bicyclists address existing services for these users, as well as priority networks and a list of recommended improvements and policies.
  • Decatur updated its shared parking ordinance to reduce parking minimums and set new maximums for parking. They are incentivizing mixed-use developments with shared parking allowance, in one case reducing 510 spaces to 350 spaces.
  • For a small community, Decatur has a dense and walkable core where nearly all trips are possible on foot. Their community is well connected to other destinations throughout the metro Atlanta region by MARTA transit services, and the City’s transit stations are optimized for bicycling and walking connections.
  • Connections to regional destinations are at the center of the City’s partnership with the PATH Foundation, which was formalized with the Decatur PATH Foundation Connectivity and Implementation Plan. This collaboration is working toward nearly ten miles of bicycle and pedestrian trail improvements along seven segments that will create critical regional connections to Decatur.
  • Decatur has had a strong Safe Routes to School program since 2005, when it participated in a pilot program with GDOT.

How to Fit and Adjust Your Bike

Steps to Fitting a Bike Frame:
•    Straddle the bike and stand in front of the seat
•    Lift the front and rear wheels off of the ground until it touches you
•    If it is a road bike, there should be 1-2 inches between the tires and the ground
•    For a mountain or hybrid bike, there should s be 3-4 inches
Another way to test the fit of a frame: When you’re sitting on the bike and one pedal is pushed all the way down, there should be a slight bend in your knee.

May is Bike Month! Learn How to choose A Bike

Answering these few questions will help you discover what type of bike is best for you:

•Why am I buying a bike?
•How fit am I?
•Where will I ride?
•What kind of terrain will I be riding?
•Will I be carrying anything?
•How much do I want to spend?

Types of bikes:
Road: Dropped handlebars and skinny tires, for racing or touring
Mountain: Flat handlebars with a wide range of gears, large tires and suspension for unpaved terrain
Hybrid/Comfort: Provides an upright position for a more relaxed ride
Recumbent: Have a reclined position and come in a wide variety of styles
EBikes: A good alternative for those who may need a little extra push

May Classes on the Square: Tai Chi and Yoga

Join Decatur Active Living for free yoga and Tai Chi on the Square in May.

Tai Chi will be held on Tuesdays at 9 am and All-levels Yoga will be taught on Thursdays at 10 am. Tai chi will be taught by Steve Dorage and Neil Norton, and Yoga will be taught by Cheryl Burnette. Both classes are suitable for beginners as well as more experienced participants.

Due to COVID, class size is limited to 10 and registration is required.

Register for Tai Chi here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0E48A8AB29A2FF2-maytai

Register for Yoga here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0E48A8AB29A2FF2-mayyoga

Hope you can join us on the Square!

May is Bike Month: Learn About Bike Helmet Safety

From guest writer Margaret Beltrami:

If you didn’t know, May is National Bike Month. This month for National Bike Month, I will be writing blog posts weekly on issues about general bike and bike helmet safety, as part of my Gold Award. A Gold Award is the highest achieving award a Girl Scout can receive by creating lasting impact and change in her community. I am very passionate about bike helmet safety and thought it would be perfect for my Gold Award!

As I mentioned, May is National Bike Month. It was established in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists to encourage more people to bike and showcase the many benefits of biking. The League of American Bicyclists still works to create a bike-safe America by creating strong communities and safer roads today. Here is the link to their website if you would like to learn more: https://bikeleague.org/bikemonth

Bike helmet safety is a huge issue, especially here in the United States. Research shows that almost 3/4 of fatal bike crashes involved a head injury, which shows how important it is to wear a bike helmet (helmets.org). Did you know that in the US 88% of children and 78% of adults who suffered a head of neck injury while biking were not wearing a helmet? (consumerreports.org). Also, there are more than 80,000 bike-related head injuries each year in the US (ncs.org). All of these statistics are shared just to highlight the importance and severity of the issue. 

Bike helmet safety is not just an issue in the United States, it is an issue all over the world. For example, bike helmet safety is especially a problem in the United Kingdom. Currently there are no laws about bike helmet use. And in 2018, the United Kingdom Department for Transport stated that around 4,000 cyclists were killed or seriously injured. 

So what can be done? As I mentioned, these statistics are not meant to scare you, they are just meant to bring awareness to the issue. Bike helmet safety is a problem all over the globe, but there is hope. There are many organizations that work towards the issue of bike helmet safety. One of these organizations is called Children’s Helmet Initiative, and they work to stop preventable brain injury by trying to ensure that every child who needs a helmet can receive one. Their website (stopbraininjurynow.org) also has a lot of great resources and information. 

And that’s all for this week’s post! Stay tuned for the second blog post which will be uploaded next week and is all about helmets!

Bike Month Kick-off on May 1

May 1 kicks off National Bike Month. The DeKalb County cities (Stone Mountain, Tucker, Clarkston, Avondale Estates and Decatur) along the Stone Mountain PATH Trail have organized a series of events, educational programs, commuting events, and helmet promotion to encourage riders to get out and to go for a ride. The PATH provides bikers easy access to these cities downtown, businesses, neighborhoods, and parks.

The DeKalb cities will host a Bike Month Kick-off on Saturday, May 1, 2021, 10 am at Clarkston City Hall Annex, 1055 Rowland Street, Clarkson, GA. The DeKalb County cities will provide a sneak peak of the programs and events planned throughout the month. Aztec Bike Shop will bring its mobile unit to the event to repair bicycles. There will be prizes and giveaways. Covid-19 precautions and guidelines will be adhered to throughout the event including wearing masks.