Your Cycling Tips

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Over the rivers and through the woods…  I’m back in Charlotte!


Mom, being the awesome mom that she is, packed me a lunch.  I had a PB sandwich and an apple.


And later, a Clif bar:


Safe Outdoor Cycling Tips


I compiled a few of my favorite tips from the “Indoor is Safer” post about cycling in traffic.  Here are some suggestions for staying safe on the road – beyond the most obvious one, of course, which is WEAR YOUR HELMET!


  • Hats @ See How She Runs wrote, “Be visible. Lights on bikes, reflective clothing, etc (even if you’re cycling during the day). Bear in mind that if a motorist is driving in bright sunlight and you’re in the shade, you can be quite hard to see. Also don’t forget to wear sunglasses in really bright weather so you can see too.”


  • Maija wrote, “Know that you always have the right to “take the lane.” If you’re on a busy road, just peddle right down the middle of the lane. Cars may get annoyed but it’s way better to have an irritated motorist than a parked car to open up their door right in front of you.”


  • Sarah for Real wrote, “Three words:  Inflatable motorcycle suit.”


  • Seek out your local bicycle alliance group.   Kristin @ FoodFash pointed me in the direction of Charlotte’s group, CABA.  There’s probably one in most big cities.


HandSignals1 (Source)

  • K wrote, “Always ride with traffic.  If you ride against traffic, it is much easier to get hit by cars that are turning onto or off of the road you are on. A car is not going to be expecting or looking for someone to be traveling the wrong way down the street.  Also, if a car is coming up behind you, they can slow down until it is safe to pass. If you are heading toward them in their lane, they may not have that opportunity to move over, and you will have nowhere to go either. Always best to go with traffic.” 


  • Madeline – Greens and Jeans wrote, “The best thing you can do is get as comfortable on the bike as possible. As soon as you KNOW that you can make your bike do what you want it to do 100% of the time, then you know that you will be completely in control of your ride. Of course, then you just have to make sure everyone else is aware of you! I always assume that drivers aren’t paying attention and err on the side of caution.”


  • Vanessa wrote, “It is never safe to expect that other vehicles will see you -in fact, assume that they don’t and be prepared to make concessions. My general rule for city cycling is to assume that all taxi drivers are trying to kill me; this may not be the case but they sure drive like it is!”


  • Vaala wrote, “Pick the time of day for the route you’re planning on taking carefully.”  Don’t ride on busy roads during rush hours if you can help it


  • Anne wrote, “Check out local bike shops, which often do group rides… find out what their routes are and go with them or ride them on your own.”


Other bike-related posts:




  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out May 12, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Great tips for cycling!

    And a very sweet mom 🙂

  • Jennifer May 12, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Nice compilation! Are you gonna head out? I just can’t imagine riding a trainer on a gorgeous day!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) May 12, 2011, 3:47 pm

    Dang you are one traveling fool lately! I just had a heart attack filling up my car with gas…is was $75 and I just told my husband I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything…just driving to get groceries and pick up the kids from school costs me a fortune now.

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:17 pm

      Omg I know. So expensive. I hope it doesn’t get even worse!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife May 12, 2011, 3:49 pm

    This is perfect for me as I train for another triathlon! YAH. thanks 🙂

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg May 12, 2011, 3:50 pm

    I think Madeline has a great tip — to assume drivers aren’t paying attention!

  • Sarah for Real May 12, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Hahaha I can’t believe you put mine in there! 😀

  • Caley May 12, 2011, 4:23 pm

    I’m also pretty sure it’s the law to bike in the direction of traffic. At least in MN! 🙂

  • Samantha May 12, 2011, 4:27 pm

    I JUST watched this right now after reading your post… you’ll get a kick out of it!

    The message: Watch out for cyclists!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me May 12, 2011, 4:48 pm

    yay thanks for the tips. What fabulous informed readers!

  • Hats @ See How She Runs May 12, 2011, 5:25 pm

    I kinda wish my mum still packed my lunch (currently living at home to save money – first ‘real’ job haha). It definitely tastes better when it’s been put together by someone else ;).

    And thanks for the mention! I hope you have an enjoyable first ride on the road.

  • Sara May 12, 2011, 5:32 pm

    Csn I add one more? When you’re driving a car, NO TEXTING, NO PHONE CALLS. Distracted driving is a hazard to yourself, other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Nothing you have to tell someone that moment is as important as someone’s life. Put the damn phone away, and if you need to make a call, park somewhere.

    • Jazz May 12, 2011, 7:15 pm

      Whoa that’s the law here.. (Canada)

    • Amber K May 13, 2011, 10:40 am

      Same goes for bicyclists! I can’t count how many times I see people try to bike and text at the same time. Scary!

    • Sara May 13, 2011, 10:43 am

      Agreed, Amber K! Be the best “ambassador” you can be for your preferred mode of transit.

      And Jazz, sadly that’s not the law, nationally, in the US. There are many states that have recently banned texting and/or calls not using a hands-free device, but people get away with it anyway. And hands-free devices don’t do much to reduce how distracted drivers get while making calls!

    • Hats @ See How She Runs May 13, 2011, 6:11 pm

      It’s against the law to use a handheld device in a car here in the UK too. Handsfree devices might be distracting if you have to physically plug your headset into the phone/put the earbuds into your ears – best solution is setting it up so phonecalls are routed through the car or a satnav. The actual act of talking surely is no more distracting than chatting to a passenger.

      • Sara May 13, 2011, 6:18 pm

        Actually, while chatting with a passenger is just as distracting, the passenger serves as a second set of eyes watching the road (and can point out if the driver is about to forget a stop sign or something). I highly recommend reading the section about distracted driving in this book:

        Anyway, not to turn this into a huge debate about distracted driving! I just notice it when I’m out and about as a pedestrian and cyclist. It worries me to see people driving 1-ton weapons not giving the task proper attention.

        • Hats @ See How She Runs May 14, 2011, 3:33 pm

          That’s a very good point! (Although going by some of the passengers I’ve been in a car with, some people are quite unobservant…). At least with a handsfree kit/similar rather than holding the device, you have both hands available.

          I agree that it is worrying when people drive and allow themselves to be distracted doing things such as changing the radio/CD, applying make-up (!?) etc. I guess what we can do as other users is just be fully aware that not everyone is paying attention or driving safely.

  • Taysa May 12, 2011, 5:38 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of motorists know what the bike signals mean! So I generally try to make eye contact, point confidentally in the direction I’m going, and am always prepared to slam on my brakes.

    • elaine! May 16, 2011, 7:29 pm

      Yeah, me too. I figured that if I had to look up the “correct” symbols to remember what they were, I would probably confuse the heck out of any driver who saw me do it!

      I also stand on my pedals whenever I go through intersections or crosswalks just to ensure I’m extra visible.

      Always assume that you’re invisible to all the cars around you.

  • Mel May 12, 2011, 5:46 pm

    I don’t recommend using the “real” hand signals. I can barely keep the straight, drivers definitely don’t know them. Just point left if you’re going left, right if you’re going right, and use the real stop one.

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:18 pm

      Good point….

  • Elena @ GagaForGrapefruit May 12, 2011, 5:56 pm

    ooh now i have a taste for that clif bar!

  • Amanda May 12, 2011, 5:57 pm

    Yup. You totally need an inflatable vest. You could start a new fashion trend!!!

  • Annie@A Gluten-Less Foodie May 12, 2011, 6:35 pm

    And can I add…follow the rules of the road just like everyone else has to! If there is a stop sign, stop. Watch out for pedestrians. In Chicago, bikers act like they own the city and as a pedestrian, me and my puppies have almost been killed several times by bikers.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 12, 2011, 8:08 pm

    Your mom packed your lunch?! That is awesome. Did you get a little note on your napkin or anything? My mom used to do that when I was in school… all the way through high school… 🙂

    • Caitlin May 12, 2011, 8:20 pm

      That is super cute of your mommy… what a wonderful person!

  • Sean May 13, 2011, 1:17 am

    Hey that’s me in the photo! I feel famous just being in a photo on your blog again! That was a (hard) fun ride. 🙂

    Good tips too!

    • CaitlinHTP May 13, 2011, 6:08 am

      🙂 hardest ride ever.

  • Hilary May 13, 2011, 6:52 am

    Can I also just mention that it is indeed possible to get a ticket while riding your bicycle? When I was in college I was assessed a $110 ticket by the city of gainesville for riding my bike through an intersection without stopping at a stop sign!

    • Amber K May 13, 2011, 10:42 am

      I wish more people knew this!! I have seen bicyclists take some pretty scary risks by not obeying the laws of the land.

  • Rae May 13, 2011, 11:09 am

    Great tipes…though I would be super careful about riding in the middle of the raod-cyclists are technically allowed to, but I’ve had friends get run off the road that way by p.o.ed drivers. I wouldnt ride IN the road unless it is a 30 mph and you are going nearly that fast…otherwise, hug the white line as much as possible. its safer.

  • ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska May 13, 2011, 6:11 pm

    Thank you soooo much for this! I recently bought a bike and I took it out today. Whew- talk about an exhausting 12 miles! Your post came at just the right time. 🙂

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