12 tips you need to know before using Cincy Red Bike

We posted this article in the fall when Cincy Bike Share – better known as Red Bike – kicked off in Downtown Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine and Clifton. The bikes are now available at several stations across Cincinnati. You can rent a bicycle for $8 per day or $80 for an annual membership.

In honor of National Bike Month we’re sharing these 12 tips again to inspire you to hop on a red bike and explore the city.

 

Before you start your ride, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep your noggin safe
You should wear a helmet when riding a bike. Although it is not required in the Tri-State – four communities require helmets for children – it’s a good idea to keep your ideas in your brain safe. According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 599 adults older than 20 were killed on bicycles in 2012 and 83% of them were not wearing helmets  If you think you’ll just ride carefully, the average careful bike rider may still crash every 4,500 miles according to www.helmets.org.

2. Make sure it fits
Make sure your helmet fits to get all the protection you are paying for. A good fit means level on your head, touching all around, comfortably snug but not tight. The helmet should not move more than about an inch in any direction, and must not pull off no matter how hard you try. It should not have any spots where it can snag where the straps can choke you.

3. How to buy one
When buying a helmet, look for a sticker with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standard. But that only covers the construction. It doesn’t cover how it should fit. Try on several before deciding. If you have a pony tail, some helmets have vents for long hair. And if you are bald, think about one without vents on top – or you’ll have tan lines. And buy one in white or a bright color so others – car drivers especially – can see you.

4. Use eyes, ears, mouth
It’s a great way to ensure a snug fit.  Eyes: You should see the edge of your helmet when you look up. Ears: The straps should form a “Y” under your ear lobes. Mouth: The chin strap should be snug enough so that when you yawn, the helmet pulls down on top of your head.

5. Get your exercise

Want to burn calories? Ride a bicycle. If you just go for a leisurely ride for an hour, you could burn 327 calories if you weigh 180 pounds. If you want to push it and ride at a moderate rate – about 12 miles an hour – you could burn 654 calories. If you walk at a moderate rate – that’s 3 mph – you only burn 207 calories. Remember: the faster you go and the longer you ride, the more calories you burn.

6. Take the turns
We all get upset at motorists who don’t signal a turn, but it can be dangerous if you don’t signal while on a bike. To signal a left-had turn, just stick you left arm straight out. To signal a right-hand turn, Stick you left arm out, but bend your elbow and make a right angle so your forearm is pointing straight up. If you are slowing down or stopping, it’s the opposite of a right-had turn – stick your arm out, and bend your elbow and point your forearm down.

7. Act right
Use proper bike etiquette. You have to obey most road rules that apply to car drivers, including stop signs and traffic signals. Never ride against traffic. Obey traffic signs signals, and basic right-of-way rules. Use hand signals. Ride in a straight line. Don’t weave between parked cars. Don’t ride to the curb between parked cars, unless they are far apart – motorists may not see you when you try to move back into traffic. Follow lane markings.

8. Share the road
If you’re driving, you have to share the road. Bicyclists have the right to be on the road with you. Give them room to turn and don’t drive close. Share the lane. Don’t pass unless you can do so safely. And when you park in the street, check behind you before opening your door so a bicyclist doesn’t run into an open car door.

9. Use the bike for errands
It’s easy to run errands on a bicycle. You can use your backpack, which is the easiest; attach a rear rack over the back wheel; use a basket in the front (good for small dogs too, right Toto?); attach a front rack; use saddlebags; or, for those big jobs, get a bike trailer.

10. Use caution at night
Since the sun is setting earlier, do some things differently. Walk your bike across the street at crosswalks instead of using the turn lanes. Consider using a quieter street not the main street. Always use flashing lights on the front and back to warn drivers you are there.And wear reflective clothing or put reflective decals on your coat.

11. Bike in work clothes
Riding a bicycle to work is not easy or for everyone – especially those with long commutes. But it can be done. If there is no shower available at work, take a slow, leisurely pace – the faster the pace the more you sweat.  If you don’t want to change, women wearing a skirt can use the Penny in Your Pants technique. Men, consider putting your jacket and tie in a saddlebag. Tuck your pants legs into your socks to keep them free from getting caught in the chain or spokes. Better yet – if you can – stash your work clothes at work and change when you get there. Of course, you need a place to put your bike at work and a good lock to keep it from getting stolen.

12. Learn to ride
If you have never ridden a bike before or need a refresher course – but as they say bike riding is just like riding a bike, you never forget – here are some tips:

  • Find a safe place to practice.
  • Make sure you know how to ride safely.
  • Understand how to brake.
  • Practice balancing on the bike.
  • Practice gliding down gentle slopes.
  • Pedal off.