Cycling may be a low-impact activity, but injuries on the road may come uninvited!
Cycling is one of the most convenient and low-cost means of transport with zero environmental impact. Moreover, bicycle riding is the best physical activity for all age groups. Apart from physical health, cycling ameliorates your mental health as well.
Pedaling is doctors' favourite recommended physical activity to help people stay healthy and lose weight. This spectacular aerobic activity tones your muscles without stressing your joints/knees. Due to its low-impact nature, even kids can learn cycling at a young age, and it is a must for people over 50.
But injuries come uninvited, even when you are alert and fully attentive while riding. It may be due to accidents with other vehicles, mechanical faults in the cycle, loss of balance or hitting a stationary object. Here are a few tips to help you prevent cycle injuries and deal with common injuries by cycling.
Obey traffic rules
You may be tempted to ride wild on your favourite MTB bike, but following the traffic rules die-heartedly is moral. It is not only about your safety but of others as well. Always:
• Follow traffic lights, and don't coast through the red light.
• Ride on your side and your lane.
• Let the traffic behind you know your intention to turn by giving a proper hand signal.
• Always maintain a proper distance between the vehicles, primarily cars and other public transport vehicles.
• Ride predictably.
• Ring a bell when riding the bike on shared paths to alert pedestrians.
• Overtake from the right-hand side and ring your bell.
Improve your visibility
Wear bright clothes to make yourself more visible to traffic. It becomes harder to judge when you wear darker or dull clothes. You can keep a bright-coloured jacket or sweatshirt in your backpack.
Make sure to have a bell/horn attached to your roadster bike and alert the people/traffic ahead of you about your presence by ringing it. Having lights (especially a headlight and a taillight) fitted guide helps you ride in all conditions, such as rainy, foggy etc.
While taking a turn or changing your lane, try making eye contact with the car driver coming from the front. Signal him with your hands or negotiate with your eyes and head movement.
Avoid braking hardly unexpectedly. It is one of the most common reasons for cycle injuries. You can fall over your handlebars and get injured by applying hard brakes. The brakes can get locked.
While riding, Wearing headphones/earphones while cycling could land you in big trouble; hearing the noises around is very important for safe riding. Ensure proper servicing of bikes once a month. Also, before riding, always follow the pre-cycle ride inspection checklist.
Don't forget to keep a first-aid kit with you.
Dealing with cycle injuries
The incorrect riding posture is the primary reason behind many cycle injuries. Riders often complain about lower back pain. A weak torso is the prime reason behind it. Riders may develop strong leg muscles but have a reduced ability to resist the force from legs resulting in fatigue. The best way to overcome this is to keep your back straight while riding; the symptoms will gradually improve.
Numbness in toes may be due to tight shoes or too much vibration on the road. Frequent climbing or riding while standing may put too much pressure on your toe nerves. Always wear comfortable shoes. Keep your feet straight while pedaling.
Also, keep your elbows slightly flexible (not straight) to avoid putting pressure on the shoulder. It will prevent the 'road shock' from transferring directly to the upper body.
After reading this, you know what precautions to take while riding your bicycle. Don't let the fear get you; minor injuries are bound to happen in any sport. Book your Leader Bicycle and enjoy happy and safe riding.