Is Your Helmet Tight?

The next time you put your helmet on, check the chin strap. When your mouth is closed, the chin strap should be tight enough that you can only fit two fingers between the strap and your chin. If the strap is too loose it may not stay on your head when you need it the most.

Chin straps can loosen over time, so it's a good thing to check a couple of times a year. Check out this video to see more information about how to properly fit a helmet.

Is Your Water Bottle Toxic?

This article has all cyclists and hikers concerned. The U.S. government is expected to release a report on the safety of certain plastic water bottles containing the chemical compound bisphenol-A or BPA, which some scientists consider a health concern. Recent lab tests indicate that exposure to BPA may raise the risk of certain cancers, effect both male and female fertility and possibly enhance the risk of developing Type II diabetes at certain exposure levels. Look for a small triangle on the bottom of your bottles. The number inside the triangle indicates the category of plastic that is used to manufacture the bottle. Bottles that contain the number 3, 6, or 7 have either BPA or other chemicals that should be avoided. Most cycling bottles are made with No. 4 plastic.

Keep Your Head Up

While riding in a group, especially at a fast speed, keep your head up and look beyond that rider in front of you. Remember drivers ed, and how they taught you to scan ahead and get the whole picture? The same holds true with us, in that looking ahead to see what's going on 4-5 riders ahead will give you more reaction time in case there is a crash. It will also be helpful in telling you when the speed will increase, or decrease, or if there is something in the road that doesn't get pointed out for some reason.

Intersections

This tip of the week is a simple one that is a must. When entering an intersection where you do not have to stop, make sure you make "eye to eye" contact with that car or truck, and don't take for granted that they see you. You can also look at their front tire to see if it is moving. People out here in Dakota County are used to looking for something bigger than you and your bike. If in doubt, cover your brake levers.

Sunrise and Sunset

This is the time of the year in which we have to think about another safety factor, the sun. We have all experienced driving in our own cars, driving along and then turning to go east in the morning, our turning to go west at night. You can't flip that sun visor down quick enough, right?? This can be a dangerous thing especially if you are riding into that bright light on a road with no our very little shoulder. I personally have witnessed this twice since riding with a group. Luckely no one was seriously hurt. So take in consideration that the driver of any kind of vehicle can be blinded by the sun and not be able to see you.

Car Doors

Out here in Dakota County, we don't have to worry about this the way city cyclists do. I'm talking about riding by cars that are parked on the street. It is my experience that a lot of drivers that park on the street do not look into their side view mirrors before they open up their door. The best way to avoid an ugly end-o is to get used to looking for a head behind the wheel of the car, and always try and give yourself a little clearance of 3 ft. if possible without getting too far out in the traffic lane.

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