Thou shall only ride a technically flawless bicycle! Have it checked up by a skilled expert before the start of the cycling season and don’t forget to check the tyre pressure regularly yourself; pay special attention to your braking gear, all the more so if you’re enthusiastic about climbing and zooming down the hills, since this part of your equipment will be especially stressed. Bear in mind that bicycle outfitting is subject to rules and regulations, so don’t get mad if a police officer benevolently reminds you of a missing reflector or a defect headlight. An additional battery torch is also a good idea.
Thou shall never leave on a cycling tour without special equipment! Cycling pants with special pads for comfort are of utmost importance lest you want to do irreparable damage. A special shirt is also a good idea, preferably a model which will allow perspiration and ventilation. Never forget the gloves – pay special attention to the size when purchasing them – and of course a safety helmet which, again, will only provide sufficient protection if it’s a tight fit. Fill up the canister upon leaving and you’re ready to go.
3.THE TOUR, ITS INS AND OUTS
Thou shall decide on your cycling tours with care! When deciding where to go, take the following into consideration: the time of year, current weather conditions and your own physical fitness. Avoid popular mountain and hiking trails – you would only disturb hikers. If the starting point of your selected tour happens to be far away, chose public transportation in order to get there.
4. THE WEATHER
Thou shall pay special attention to the weather! Simply peeking through your window to check the weather conditions won’t exactly suffice. The World Wide Web offers a number of pages with a plethora of information on the weather, including accurate reports on the movement of rain-clouds and, even more importantly, wind patterns: wind can be a particularly troublesome nuisance. Checking live image from webcams – where it’s available – is also a very good idea, especially in summer time, when storms can rise out of the blue. Should you get caught in the open during a summer storm, don’t try to rough it – just find a safe, dry spot and weather it out.
5. YOUR ABILITIES
Thou shall never overestimate your own abilities! This is especially important in the beginning of the cycling season; start out with easier tours and gradually continue with tougher and steeper ones. More and more cyclists now also use heart rate monitors since heart rate readouts are an important indicator of one’s physical condition.
6. TO GO OR NOT TO GO – WHERE?
Thou shall only choose roads suitable for cycling! Be it country road, dirt track, forest path or just about anywhere else, always choose roads which are wide enough for cycling. How wide is wide enough? There should be enough space on a road to ensure safe passage for two cyclists or a cyclist and a pedestrian – approximately two metres or so. Never venture outside secure, marked roads and paths – cycling in protected areas, such as marshes, bogs, grasslands etc. is strictly forbidden!
7. RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT
Thou shall not litter! Used and ruptured tyres, food wrappings and other types of waste have no business out in the nature. Use biologically degradable machine lubricants for your bicycle! Avoid making excessive noise and try not to disturb wildlife. Above all: do not in any way harm the environment and others enjoying it.
8. THE CYCLERS’ CODE
Thou shall always bear in mind: cyclers salute. Always greet another cycler – a simple gesture of the hand or a nod with your head will suffice – he or she is, after all, sweating it out just the same as you are. If you want to slip into his slipstream, don’t forget to ask his or her permission – and don’t forget to return the favour afterwards. Pedestrians always have the right of way; greet them upon meeting them and ask politely to pass by. If there’s no other way around them, you will have to dismount.
9. IS IT A RACE OR A PLEASURABLE FIELD TRIP?
Thou shall not try to prove your cycling prowess to others! If you have something to prove to yourself, do it on special race tracks or attend a bicycle race – that’s where speeding belongs. Speeding and racing on ordinary streets and roads can have fatal consequences, so leave other cyclists at peace and let them enjoy themselves on their own.
10.WHAT ABOUT BICYCLE CLUBS?
Some cyclists are loners, others enjoy cycling in groups. The latter seem to be much more numerous – after all, cycling in company is much safer. Joining a club will win you a number of friends with roughly the same views on cycling; you can swap information on cycling tours with them – or simply go explore them in groups. Membership in a cycling club may also help you get a hefty discount when buying new equipment or applying for a race. All in all, with help of other club members you may just make a distant cycling dream come true ...