6 things not to do in the saddle

The great thing about a racing bike is the feeling of freedom and independence that a cycle ride outdoors gives us. It is all about knowing that such a straightforward lightweight instrument can carry us anywhere our legs can pedal to.

But we should never mistake this sensation of mental and physical freedom with the impression that we can do whatever we want in the saddle.

A bicycle is not a coat of armour which isolates us from an outer world populated by cars, motorbikes, other cyclists and pedestrians. Each time we ride out we have no choice but to grapple with traffic-riddled roads and road signs demanding our attention. We need to take all these aspects into account if we are to avoid danger to ourselves and to others.

According to data gathered by the Italian National Statistical Institute, serious bike accidents are on the rise so this is a good opportunity to examine the habits and behaviour that are most likely to lead to trouble when riding. So here is a list of NO-NOs. 

 

Cycling without a helmet

Lightweight, well aerated and often with an appealingly gritty design, helmets have now become part of any cyclist’s standard kit.

Going out without the protection of this essential accessory could be very costly, even if you come off the bike whilst going at snail’s pace.

Unfortunately, our laws have not yet made it compulsory to wear one, but to decide to go out without one would be very careless indeed.

We would like to point out that, regardless of the helmet you pick, it will only protect you adequately if it is the right size (it shouldn’t move when you shake your head) and if you fasten it tightly under your neck.

 

Talking on the phone

When your mobile phone rings in your back pocket, the temptation to take it out and reply is strong. But you would be wrong. It is forbidden by law. Answering the phone in the car or on a bike incurs the same penalty. Not many people know that not only do you get fined, but you might lose 5 points on your driving licence. Highway code aside, it really is a bad idea to fiddle around with your phone whilst cycling, especially if you are trying to keep up speed so as not to lag behind your cycling mates.

It just takes a slight distraction and you find yourself on the ground. Stop at the roadside and answer your phone. It really is the best solution. Give your friends a whistle and get them to wait for you.

 

Turning around

Statistically, a large number of accidents occur when a cyclist turns around to check what is coming behind and inadvertently moves slightly out into the middle of the road.

So how about getting around this problem by using a rear-view mirror? There is probably a slight reluctance to adopt this essential safety device, just as happened 25 years ago when helmets were introduced. Here too, in all likelihood it is just a question of time and habit.

Any fear of ruining a snappy look is unjustified though seeing as today there is a rear-view mirror on the market with an elegantly original design, like Eyelink which easily fits onto the control panel.

 

Cycling two abreast

All too often our desire to chat with our cycling companions causes us to ride two abreast. Not only does this hold up the traffic, but it is terribly dangerous to ourselves and to the car drivers who are forced to give us a wide berth.

Common sense should tell us not to indulge in this nasty habit, but if it is not enough, we should bear in mind that the highway code states that cyclists should always proceed in Indian file, otherwise they will be fined.

 

Not being perfectly visible

A bike on the road is practically invisible to car drivers, particularly when dusk gathers. Forget that fact to your peril.

Two small battery-charged led lights stored in your pocket ready for attaching to the saddle shaft or handlebar when the daylight begins to fade is a safe and easy solution.

Selle Italia is well aware of how important it is to reduce all risk factors and being perfectly visible in all circumstances is an essential one. This is why it has included red-reflector detailing on its Sportourer saddle range so you are visible to others even in the worst possible conditions.

 

Not respecting road signs

Cycling on busy roads in the midst of cars and motorbikes means that you have to observe the same rules as they do.

One aspect of this situation often overlooked is that when we are on our bikes, we are the “vulnerable vehicles” so abiding by the highway code is primarily aimed at protecting ourselves and staying safe.

So, be sure to stick out your arm in plenty of time when you want to turn, remember to give way, allow pedestrians to cross and wait for the traffic lights to show green. And if there is a traffic jam, always overtake on the right and keep an eye out for opening doors.

Summary
6 things not to do in the saddle | Safety on the saddle – Selle Italia
Article Name
6 things not to do in the saddle | Safety on the saddle – Selle Italia
Description
According to data gathered by the Italian National Statistical Institute, serious bike accidents are on the rise so this is a good opportunity to examine the habits and behaviour that are most likely to lead to trouble when riding. So here is a list of NO-NOs. 
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Selle Italia
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