If you ride a bike you are more than likely spending time on the open roads otherwise your in a spin class. When I speak to non cyclists I usually get the question “Do you actually ride a bicycle on the road? That’s so dangerous!” I am not alone in hearing such questions and statements I know. We ride on the road because we already know that riding benefits far out weigh safety concerns. Lately our big concern has been trucks, pickups, huge tractors dairy trucks and even fuel tankers.
There are somethings I have learned to keep me and my riding partners safer. Here are a few of them:
Communication: We yell out car back, car passing and even truck back, point out problems on the road
Space: We will form a single line and give the line room by not riding in the gutter/edge of the road
Pace line: We do not automatically break up the line as soon as we see the cab of truck because it could be pulling a trailer.
Drafting: I know it’s so tempting to draft behind a slow moving vehicle. I know that the movie Breaking Away makes it seem like a great training exercise. It’s not and I have the scars to show for it. Instead work with a coach who can motor pace you.
Wash out: When large vehicles fly by us “little” people on bikes we may encounter a wash of air after it passes. To keep the wash from knocking you down or pulling you off your line try this. Throw your bike like you are trying to win a sprint. This is done by pushing your bike forward, straightening your arms while on the hoods or drops then pushing your but way back in the saddle. This move allows you to shift your center of balance and let wash roll over you instead of int you. This is an advance move that believe it or not should be practiced before trying on an open road.
Thanks to my teammate and training partner Roy “Big Tuna” for the inspiration as I watched him execute this move flawlessly as we were passed by a fast dairy truck.