If you’ve a concern about riding on busy roads, traffic etc there is a simple answer:
DONT RIDE ON BUSY ROADS
There are plenty of alternative routes you can take that are virtually traffic free even the busy roads get a lot quieter after the morning and evening rushhour. Use a bit of common sense and you’ll be fine.
Helmets: I have one and use it all the time, I don’t fancy a head injury due to falling off a cycle.
If you do get one make sure it fits. It should cover your temples and not sit on the back of your head.
Update December 2006. The Bell helmet that I wear has a slight peak to it at the front. This has proved to be a great feature as when it rains the rain is channelled to the point and then drops off the peak. If it was a different profile I fear it would be running down my face and neck.
See my Christmas Eve Post if you have any doubts.
Gloves:Are what you put in your upside down hat. Fingerless mitts in the summer, just a bit more protection if you have a fall.
Brakes:Need to be in good working order and you need to know how to use BOTH of them, not just the back one with the wheel locked up.
Potholes:There are plenty of these out there, avoid them if you can. You dont want to be hitting the ground because you wern’t looking where you were going.
Mobile Phone:Telephone boxes are a bit thin on the ground these days, one of you should carry one.
Visibility: I wear a High Visibility Jacket in the winter. It has scotchlite patches and detail on it that is visible from hundreds of yards away. Even wearing this there are those that won’t see you.
Lights: A flashing LED rear one. Gets switched on if the weather is bad or the road is busy.
Above all enjoy yourself.
I’ll just reiterate the Helmet advice, on Christmas Eve I suffered a fall that resulted in the helmet splitting and a significant impression made in the hard outer shell. I suffered a chipped bone in the shoulder along with heavy bruising. I am sure I would have had magor head injuries if I hadn’t been wearing it. The helmet was a mid to low end Bell Arc FS, now no longer a current model. I could not have avoided my head hitting the ground, the accident happened that fast. I don’t advocate compulsion, common sense tells me to allways wear one no matter how short the journey.
17 May 2012 Just to update the site with a picture of Johns helmet from work:
The visible crack disappears under the hard outer shell and emerges into the next vent.
John touched a wheel and was cartwheeled into a kerbstone headfirst. He had only had the helmet a week before this happened and was taken to hospital for a check up.
I’m now using a Kask helmet that I’m really getting along with. It has increased protection for the temples compared to the Giro Atmos. Only thing wrong with it is the scandalous price.
Jan 2014. Still never go out on a ride without a helmet, in the light of Michael Scumachers accident it makes even more sense.
My recent trip to London had me amazed at the risks cyclists put themselves in.
Tower bridge, narrow at best, a bus is stuck 2ft behind a cyclist doing 10mph if that. One slip or bobble and you’d be under the bus. It was frightening.