Back to the Basics

“Look both ways before crossing the street!!”Look both ways before crossing the street!

The first rule of the road we all learned and a precautionary warning yelled in vain by parents across the world as their child eagerly sprints off in hopes of finding whatever ball was thrown with such a velocity that it landed in the neighbor’s yard. Advice that is so cemented in our heads some would almost say it’s like riding a bike- you never forget! So let’s get back to the basics!

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned cycling veteran, we can just about all agree that knowing the basic rules of the road can be the deciding factor between a good day and a really really bad one. Old dogs and Puppies alike can stand to benefit from learning (or relearning) a few new tricks. That’s why we’ve come up with a quick and easy-to-remember checklist; The 4 H’s.  Meant to help not only those new to the sport but to anyone who needs a quick refresher. You can’t run before you walk, and you cant multiply before learning addition so why is cycling any different? Build a solid foundation based on facts and situational awareness so future cycling excursions can be enjoyed to their fullest extent all while remaining fundamentally safe.

Hydration

With the human body composed of approximately 60% water, it should be no surprise that a large fluid intake is needed to perform optimally. Studies have shown that even shockingly low fluid losses can significantly affect riders abilities. A 2% drop in body weight due to sweating will impair performance noticeably, 4% will decrease your capacity for muscular work, and, at 5%, heat exhaustion can become an issue and your capacity for work will drop by up to 30%.

The daily suggested intake is about a half-gallon or 64 fl oz. But what about when exercising? While cycling, aim to take 2-3 good sized gulps from your bottle every 10-15 minutes. For rides lasting longer than an hour, you’ll want to add some electrolytes. Staying hydrated improves muscle function, regulates blood pressure, and helps improve circulation- creating a perfect formula for happy cycling. Help stay hydrated with:

  1. The Elite Super Corsa Water bottle
    • a 750 ml water bottle best for long-distance rides
    • Entire bottle, including the cap, is biodegradable
    • Easy to grip bottle with ergonomic shape – dishwasher safe and BPA-free
    • Buy If: You want a large volume water bottle for long, non-stop riding.
  2. CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
    • Like a regular backpack but better! Trade-in textbooks for 100 oz of the beverage of your choosing!
    • Features such as an overflow storage compartment, reflective accents and external hooks for helmet storage
    • Buy If: You want a large volume water pack to last throughout long days on the trail
How Hydrated are You?

Headphones?

Short Answer: NO
Long Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT but if you do there are ways to be safe and situationally aware

SIR THERE IS A CAR BEHIND YOU CAN YOU HEAR ME????

We jest, we jest. All cyclists are entitled to make their own decisions when it comes to personal safety and music preference, however that doesn’t mean we won’t try to change minds with compelling evidence. Much of the debate hinges on safety. On the one hand, riding with headphones presents an obvious safety risk. The chief concern being that it compromises a cyclist’s awareness of cars and other warnings, like shouting pedestrians, barking dogs, and opening car doors. The second being hearing loss. Permanent damage can begin at 85 decibels, which is only 70 percent of the maximum volume of the typical MP3 player. Busy streets already reach that level on their own, so it’s reasonable to assume that a cyclist’s headphones would have to be far louder to overcome the sound of traffic. The concern is that wearing headphones increases the likelihood or severity of an accident. Keep your eyes and ears open while on the road. Similar to texting while driving, cycling is best practiced distraction-free. However, if you truly have the music in your bones and enjoy spinning to a tune:

Head Up

Look out in front far enough ahead so you can react to any obstacles in the road, or on the shoulder in front of you.  Things like storm drain grates are very bad for skinny road bike tires. Not to mention, Humans were not designed to ride bikes. Cycling completely changes the weight distribution through your muscles and spine by bending the back and neck into an unnatural position. While tackling the arduous 3,000 mile Race Across America, cyclist Michael Shermer’s neck muscles became so fatigued they simply failed and he was no longer able to hold his head up at all. His team had to construct a makeshift brace from bungee cords to restrain his head in a position that enabled him to see where he was going and to carry on to the finish line. To avoid a stiff neck while also enjoying the surrounding vistas try..

  1. Proper Positioning
    • Many people experience neck pain because they are improperly positioned on their bike with their head tipped upward.
      • To Check your Form: Pull your stomach in toward your lower back, elongate your torso, slide the shoulder blades down your upper back and keep your chest slightly lifted while riding. Keep your chin tucked in and stretch your neck during relaxed parts of your ride.
      • Check out our blog post for The Best Stretches for Cyclists
  2. A Properly Fitted Bicycle
    • A fitted bicycle can help avoid cycling injuries in the long run and will make a better and more efficient cyclist.
      • Visit a local bike shop for a personalized fitting. Most shops often can make small adjustments that can help you feel more comfortable on your bike.

Heed to the Rules

Heed to the road signs

Ride with traffic and obey all road signs. Closely watch all cars in front of you so you can try to anticipate what they are going to do. South Carolina ranks 46th in the country in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities, with 23.7 fatalities per 10,000 commuters.  13% of all traffic fatalities are either pedestrians (11%) or bicyclists (2%).

 

 

 

Though tips and forewarnings like The 4 H’s may seem redundant, there is something to be said about the obviousness of them all. The precise reason we may not remember is that they are in fact so obvious, they need not be said at all. Thus allowing them to fall to the wayside, escaping recollection and execution altogether. We hope that with our easy-to-remember system, hobbyists and professionals alike can enjoy the sport with less worry and a better understanding of the fundamentals of cycling.

Housekeeping

As you may have seen from our Instagram and Facebook, we officially have BASC 2020 dates! This year’s ride will take place on October 15th – 18th with 3,2, and 1-day ride options.

As we closely monitor the ongoing COVID19 situation, we are working together to ensure the safest possible ride and routes. For the most up to date information, subscribe to our newsletter here!