By Erin Hollingworth
Published: Thursday, December 30, 2021
Lycra becomes a serious fashion statement every summer leading up to the Santos Festival of Cycling.
That’s when local cyclists draw on their inner-Cadel Evans or Anna Meares, jump on a bike and take to the streets in full force.
Cycling gets your blood, heart and pistons pumping. There are so many benefits of going for a ride, samotor has put together a whole bunch of reasons why you might want to set off on your own tour. And, more importantly, how to do it safely.
What are the health benefits of cycling?
Get some exercise
Cycling for 30 minutes a day reduces your risk of health issues such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, depression and arthritis. It can also improve coordination and lower stress levels.
Best of all, cycling is open to everyone, no matter their skill or fitness level. Whether you’re a daily commuter, or an occasional cruiser, pedalling along a bike lane or quiet street is a great way to get some low impact exercise. Set your own pace and enjoy the ride.
Help the environment
Bikes let you enjoy nature in an environmentally friendly way. Not only do they use less resources in the manufacturing process, but they’re also a pollution-free mode of transport: no fuel, no fumes, no worries.
They are also a great means of transport for short trips – riding is usually quicker door to door than driving without the hassle of parking or getting stuck in traffic queues on the way.
We’re spoilt for choice here in SA, with many cycling trails and parks to explore. Get the legs pumping and breathe in the fresh air.
Why not get the kids involved? Going for a ride with the whole family and exploring your local area on two wheels is a great day out. Pack a light backpack with some snacks and sandwiches and enjoy a picnic in the park.
And while having fun is important, staying safe is always the number one priority for cyclists. Set a good example for your kids by following road safety rules, sticking to bike lanes and wearing a properly fitted helmet with bright clothing. Be safe, be seen.
How can you stay safe on your bike?
Be sun smart
The sun is unforgiving during the Aussie summer, even on milder days. Remember to regularly apply sunscreen and wear UV protected clothing and sunglasses while you’re out riding. Drink plenty: always stay well-hydrated, especially when the weather heats up.
Bright colours and reflective clothing are a must when out on the bike. Go with neon or fluorescent colours and patterns. Avoid colours that blend into the environment around you.
Ride defensively and assertively. Use clear hand signals, survey your surroundings, and make eye contact with other road users at intersections and crossings. Remember, a bike is classed as a vehicle under the Australian Road Rules and therefore are required to obey the road rules.
Beware of ‘dooring’
Look for occupants inside of parked vehicles who may open their door unexpectedly. If it’s safe to do so, ride at least one metre away from parked vehicles.
Before each ride, look over your bike to ensure everything is in working order. Check your ABC’s. Air – are your tyres inflated? Brakes – is the front and rear (or pedal brake) working? Chain – is the chain too tight or too loose? Is it free from rust?
Now once you’ve ticked off that checklist, you’re good to go. So, what are you waiting for? Get on your bike, start pedalling and head off on a great two-wheeled adventure!
RAA members can get Road Service to come out and help if they have any bike troubles on their ride.