Safety Starts with You!
Bike MS is an organized fundraising bicycle ride to benefit people living with MS. In a large field of riders from various cycling backgrounds and expertise, all participants must practice friendly, courteous and, above all, safe cycling etiquette from start to finish. Here are some helpful safety tips to ensure you have a high quality, safe and fun experience at Bike MS!
Learn more about bike safety in this interactive presentation from the National MS Society.
Want to know the cycling rules for your state? Check out these websites!
Missouri Statutes | Kansas Statutes | Nebraska Statutes
ABC QUICK CHECK
As part of their BikeEd program, the League of American Bicyclists recommends the ABC Quick Check every time you ride.
A is for air. How are your tires? Are they inflated up right? Most modern bike tires have their recommended PSI on the side wall. Proper inflation not only adds to safety, but also makes the bicycle easier to ride. Check for visible damage. If your tires are worn of threadbare, replacing them is a safety measure well worth the price tag.
B is for brakes. Stopping is good. When you pull your brake, is it firm? Do you have at least 1” between the lever and your bar at the innermost point? Also, check your brake pads for wear. You should have at least ¼” of pad.
C is for crank, chain, cassette. If your chain is bad, your ride will be bad. Loose chains skip and fall off the cassette. They make shifting awkward. Again: if you see these signs, adjust accordingly.
Quick is for quick releases. If you have quick release wheel levers, make sure they are closed and tight.
Check is for one last check. Hop on and ride around. Does the bike feel comfortable and road-worthy?
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Be aware and be prepared. Safe group riding takes practice. The following tips are to ensure successful sharing of the open road:
- Be aware of others around you.
- Be predictable - ride in a straight line and avoid weaving back and forth.
- Head up - make sure that you are constantly observing your surroundings.
- Safety zone - Adjust accordingly to fit the conditions of the road.
- Double check to ensure that no cyclists are immediately behind you when passing.
- Communicate - Call out “passing on your left” and allow time for the cyclist to move to the right.
- Traffic laws - Know and obey them.
- Be considerate - Ride single file when possible and no more than two abreast when space and traffic conditions permit.
- Give some space - Keep three feet of clearance when passing another cyclist, and even more at high downhill speeds.
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FOOD & HYDRATION
Knowing how to optimize your fluid and food intake is critical to successfully completing Bike MS. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated during your ride:
- Make sure you are fully hydrated before you get on the bike.
- General rule of thumb: drink one fluid ounce of water equal to half of your body weight. So if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 fluid ounces.
- By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Start drinking as soon as you get on the bike. Most cyclists need about 28 fluid ounces per hour!
- Carry two bottles on your bike and remember to stop frequently at Bike MS rest stops to refuel with small snacks and liquids.
- Keep drinking even after your ride is finished.
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Your helmet is your best friend during your ride. Helmets may reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent so it is crucial to wear a properly fitting helmet when riding. Follow these tips to find the best helmet for you:
- Find the smallest helmet size that fits over your head.
- Make sure that your helmet fits comfortable on the top of your head (not tipped back).
- Leave about two fingers’ width between your eyebrows and the front of the helmet.
- Do not use pads to try to fit an overly large helmet to your head.
- Straps should be joined just under each ear at the jaw.
- The buckle should be snug. You can test this with your mouth open wide for the appropriate facial stretch.
- Always replace a helmet after a crash or impact that may have affected its integrity.
- Dispose of damaged helmets.
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