What to Bring on a Bike Ride

From guest contributor Margaret Beltrami:

Today we are going to learn more about what to bring on bike rides, biking in the dark and at night, and hand signals.

Knowing what to bring on bike rides

Being prepared for bike rides is very important to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Here is a list of supplies to bring along:

Water and snacks: This is very important! Even if youthink you are just going on a shorter ride, you might get lost or have a breakdown, and having water and food will be crucial.

Money:  It is a good idea to have a little cash and a creditcard with you in case you want to stop at a restaurant or store on your ride, or you have a mechanical problem and need to pay to have repairs made. 

Phone:  Carrying a cell phone on your ride will be helpful in the case of an emergency. 

Basic maintenance kit: This will help in case of a breakdownon the road, and should include a spare tube (or patches), a small tire pump, a multi-use tool, and tire levers. This is more important to have on longer bike rides that are further away from your home.

First-aid kit: A small first aid kit is also a good idea to have. It doesn’t need to have a lot of items, but should at least include bandaids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, and gloves. 

Biking in the dark

Always be careful when you are riding in the dark, because it is much more dangerous than riding in daylight. That being said, here are some tips for biking in the dark:  

Lights: Lights are important to have so you can see obstacles in the road and so others can see you. At the very least, make sure you have lights on your handlebars, as well as a rear light. 

Reflective gear: Reflective gear, including jackets, wearable bands, and tape, helps you become more visible for other cars, cyclists, or pedestrians to see you. 

Light clothing: As well as reflective clothing, light colored clothinghelps you become more visible. At night it is much easier for others to see you if you are wearing light colored clothing. Make sure you are not wearing dark colored clothes, because you will blend in with your surroundings. 

Ride with others: Riding with a friend or as a group is a good strategyfor biking in the dark. There is safety in numbers and more people available to help in the case of an emergency or a mechanical issue. 

Hand signals

Hand signals are very important for the safety of bike riders. They are important to use and help tell other cyclists and cars behind you where you are turning. There are three hand signals that are the most important: turning right, turning left, and stopping. Use these hand signals with your left arm to show people behind you what you are doing. 

Right turn: Hold your left arm out to the side and in a 90º angle, with your left hand pointing to the sky, and the palm of your hand facing forward.  

Left turn: Hold your left arm straight out to your side. Your arm should be parallel to the ground.  

Stopping: Hold your left arm out to the side, and point your left hand down to the ground in a 90º angle, with the palm of your hand facing behind you. 

The image below is a visualization of what these turn signals look like. 

That’s all for today’s post! I hope you were able to learn more about safety related to bike rides. Stay tuned for the final post coming next week about city infrastructure!