Email - Kick-off Party, Team Captains` Rally and Updates

Email - Kick-off Party, Team Captains` Rally and Updates
Safety in
Group Cycling
Safety Starts with You!
“ABC Quick Check”
Cyclists need to possess basic bike-handling skills and safety knowledge
in order to keep themselves and others around them safe, especially
while participating in group cycling activities, like the Bike MS Ride.
Our focus is to provide a high quality, safe and fun bicycling experience.
For this reason, the National MS Society has partnered with the League
of American Bicyclists to provide our cyclists with the knowledge and
resources to cycle safety.
All cyclists are responsible for keeping their riding equipment in
good working order, so get into the habit of checking your equipment
before every ride. Small adjustments can make a significant difference
in your experience. The “ABC Quick Check” is an overall, yet brief
bicycle safety check.
Please remember to always carry:
Check your wheels for worn tires, loose spokes, warped rims
and tires for proper inflation.
Check your handlebar for looseness at the headset and stem.
Emergency contact information
Insurance card
Any important health information
Headphones, cell phones, radios and similar radio devices are not
permitted while riding.
1 Bike MS: 2013 Safety in Group Cycling
A is for air
B is for brakes
Check brakes for function, cable tightness, worn pads,
frayed cables, and alignment of the pads with the rims.
C is for cranks, chain & cassette
Safety starts with you. Group mentality is not always safe.
Expect to stop at all red lights and stop signs — it is the law!
Check your pedals and cranks for tightness.
Check for chain looseness and bad links; clean regularly.
Lubricate with bicycle chain lube.
Each cyclist is responsible for verifying that the intersection
is clear.
Check the derailleur for worn cogs and adjustment.
Check that your gears change smoothly.
Adjust your safety zone to fit the conditions of the road,
weather and traffic. Always plan an escape route.
Never overlap your wheels with another cyclist.
Do not use aerobars in a pack.
Be aware of how weather will affect your bike. Riding
in wet conditions requires slower speeds and greater
breaking distances.
Be respectful of other riders. Help others when needed.
Quick is for quick releases
Check to ensure that the wheels are clamped securely in the
drop-outs before each ride.
Check your helmet for cracks and make sure it fits properly.
Check your shoes for tight cleats and straps and buckles in
good repair.
Make sure your bicycle saddle is the right height and the
bolt is tight.
Knowing how to optimize your fluid intake is critical to successfully
completing an Bike MS Ride.
One bottle per hour: The rule of thumb is to drink one bottle per
hour and supplement with sports drinks at least every third or
fourth hour. If you find that you experience extreme fatigue, the
inability to recover your energy, or frequent muscle cramps,
seek assistance from first aid — you may have the early signs
of dehydration.
Seeking medical assistance: If you find that you experience weight
gain/bloating with progressive symptoms such as swollen hands
and feet, confusion, throbbing headache, dizziness or nausea,
please seek assistance from first aid.
The Basics of Riding in a Group
Group riding takes practice. Riding with other cyclists all around you
may cause you to feel trapped. Relax. It is most important to create
your own safety zone. This may vary depending on the speed and
ability level of the people you are with, so be flexible. Let others know
of your anxiety — they may also be new at this.
Your responsibility in a pack includes:
Be aware of others around you.
Communicate well in advance. Use gestures in combination
with verbal commands.
Ride with your head up. Look down the road; not at the person
in front of you.
Maintain control and speed of your bike, even going downhill.
Know your limits. Crashes can occur when inexperienced riders
do not have bike-handling skills to make quick decisions in a pack.
2 Bike MS: 2013 Safety in Group Cycling
Helmet Smart
Head injuries are a special concern for cyclists. Even falling at a
slow rate of speed can cause a serious head injury. Helmets must
be on your head and strapped while riding in a Bike MS event —
no exceptions.
Bicycle Laws
Helpful Tips
All states consider cyclists vehicle operators, and give them the
same rights and duties as other drivers.
At Bike MS events, our active route support team works to make
the ride safe. Here are a few additional suggestions to help keep
everyone safe on the ride:
Know and obey all traffic laws: The golden rule of bicycling in
a group is Be Predictable!
Stay right: Ride in the right portion of the rightmost lane in the
direction you are traveling and leave at least four feet between
your handlebars and parked cars or other hazards such as
other users. You may move left when passing slower vehicles
or preparing for a left turn.
Obey all traffic signs and signals: Avoid “following the leader”
through traffic signs and signals; you are required to obey all
traffic signs and signals, including stopping at red lights and
stop signs.
Look & signal before you move: Always scan behind you before
changing lanes or making turns. A continuous arm signal is
required prior to a turn or lane change (unless arm is needed
to control the bike) and while stopped waiting to turn.
Two at a time: Ride no more than two abreast and do not impede
traffic. If a part of the road has been closed and dedicated to
“bicycle travel only” you may ride more than two abreast.
Hands on the handlebars: Do not carry anything that prevents
keeping one hand on the handlebars.
Pass with care: Do not pass at intersections.
3 Bike MS: 2013 Safety in Group Cycling
Thumbs down for help: SAG vehicles and motorcycle escorts
will stop for you if you are off the road, off your bike, and
giving a “thumbs down” sign or holding your helmet in the air.
Ride marshal support: A special team of cyclists called Ride
Marshals provide support on the rides. They offer minor
mechanical help along the route and monitor cycling safety
and etiquette.
Rest stop etiquette: All cyclists who enter a rest area must pull
over, dismount and move completely away from the road and
rest-stop entrance. When exiting, move beyond the rest area
and proceed with caution on the right side of the road before
merging with faster cyclists.
Passing: Passing others and being passed occurs continuously
during the ride. Call out “passing on your left” and allow time
for the cyclist being overtaken to move to the right — then
pass safely.
Mechanical problems: Examine mechanical problems and change
flats completely off the road. If you have a problem you cannot
fix yourself, flag down a SAG van and seek a mechanic at the
next rest stop.
Be courteous: Bike MS cyclists are privileged to ride on many
trails as well as public roads. Be courteous and use no more
than half the trail so as not to block the flowm of other users.
Know the Lingo
Special Situations
Group cycling has its own form of communication. The presence of
road hazards, directions, and need-to-know information is relayed
through the pack of riders by gestures and words. Remember to
pass all communication on to the next cyclist behind you in the group.
Speak loudly and clearly.
Many cyclists find that situations occur when quick thinking and
heightened bike-handling skills are required.
The following are the most common terms
you may hear in group-sponsored rides:
Cars can be scary. Drivers do not know your skill level, and will
often not leave room when they pass. Give them the room. In a
group, call out “car back” or “car up” and move to the far right
in a single file. Be predictable.
Beware of animals. Knowing how to handle animals, specifically
dogs, on a bicycle varies depending on the situation. You may
want to slow down, outsprint the dog, or yell “stop”, “no” or
“go home.” Distracting a dog with a water bottle should only be
used when you are not in a pack. Try to keep to one side of the
dog. Let others know of your intentions.
Pedestrians, joggers and animals have the right-of-way. Signal
to the pack that someone is being overtaken and move to allow
room for safe passing.
On your Left: This means a rider is approaching your left side.
Allow room to pass.
Car back: This means a car is approaching from the rear. All
riders make an effort to move to the right of the road in a
single file until the car passes. In most states, the law requires
cyclists to ride no more than two abreast. This ensures that
traffic will not be impeded, and will make passing easier and
safer for the cyclists.
Gravel - Pothole - Sand - Tracks: Each of these messages is to
alert the riders behind you of hazardous road conditions. The
words are combined with the gesture of pointing to the hazard
well in advance.
Flat: This indicates that a rider has suffered a flat tire. Allow
enough room for the rider to slow down and move to the right
side of the road or trail for repair. Offer assistance if needed.
Slowing: The cyclist in front of you is slowing down. Use caution
and prepare to stop. Many cyclists use the palm of their hand
toward riders behind them to indicate slowing and stopping.
Stopping: This indicates that a rider ahead is stopping. Do not
forget to unclip from your pedals. Headphones, cell phones,
radios and similar radio devices are not permitted while riding.
4 Bike MS: 2013 Safety in Group Cycling
Here are some suggestions
for managing potential obstacles:
To visit us online, please go to:
Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make
a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options
by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS
Society at or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).
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