PETALING JAYA: With more people taking up cycling for leisure, exercise and commuting, it is important to focus on bicycle comfort and safety.
Here, Great Eastern Life helps cyclists plot a course for a smoother and safer cycling experience.
Never assume that a motorist has seen you and always abide by the safety rules. Stay predictable while cycling – cycle at a steady pace and don’t wobble around or make sudden movements or stops. Be extra vigilant and visible when cycling at night.
Don’t skimp on essentials
Essential items and accessories to improve the quality and safety of your riding experience include:
Your bicycle should suit your needs and cycling plans. Different types of bicycles suit different purposes such as leisure riding, racing, commuting, off-road exploration or long-distance touring.
Varying frames suit different body shapes and sizes. The right frame makes it easy for you to get on, stay on and dismount safely.
Seat and handlebar heights and positions should be adjusted to your size and shape. A seat that is tilted upwards too much can lead to painful pressure points. Conversely, a seat tilted too far downwards can cause you to slide while cycling as it applies extra pressure on your arms, hands and knees.
Handlebars come in different widths and are sized according to the type of bicycle. Ill-fitting handlebars may result in neck, shoulder, back and hand pain.
Riding with the wrong handlebar angle can also lead to numbness in the palms of your hands. Ensure that you can easily reach and work your brakes.
Maintain your bicycle so that it is always roadworthy. Check the tyres, chain, brakes, seat and handlebars before every ride.
Fit and comfort should come before price. Your helmet should closely match the size and shape of your head. Don’t rely on size pads to fill in the space – these should be used only to achieve a slightly more comfortable fit.
Once fastened, the helmet should stay firmly in place. Choose a helmet that is bright or fluorescent in colour for higher visibility.
Mirrors allow you to be more aware of your surroundings without having to move your head too much. Circular mirrors that clip to the handlebars are popular, though there are smaller versions that can be attached to your helmet.
Check your lights regularly so that they don’t die out while you are cycling, especially when there is low visibility.
> Clipless pedals
These keep your shoes in place while helping to improve your cycling technique. They are also a lot easier to use than the old-style clips and straps.
> Clothing and shoes
Lycra pants, shorts and gloves help increase your riding comfort. Don’t wear clothing that can get easily tangled with your bicycle. Use colours that ensure you are easily visible.
Sneakers are not good for cycling as they allow your feet to flex too much while riding, which can cause leg and hip problems. Cycling shoes have a rigid sole, which provides a stable platform for your foot, giving you better power output when pedalling.
> Tool kits
Never ride without one. Tool kits should contain a puncture kit, tyre levers, a small adjustable spanner, screwdrivers and a spare tube.
There are two types of riders: those who have had a flat tyre and those who have not. As a matter of personal safety, every cyclist should know how to fix their own flats.
As our region is mainly hot and humid, be ready for the weather. When it’s hot, caps and sunglasses make it easier to keep your eyes on the road. Attach a water bottle cage to your bicycle so that you can always stay hydrated without having to stop to open your backpack.
Cycling is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve better health and fitness. Since it is a low-impact activity, it places little strain on your body.
Gear yourself up properly, know and abide by the safety rules – and pedal your way to a safe and smooth cycling experience.
Star Health Expo 2018 with the theme “Get Fit. Live Great!” aims to inspire Malaysians to lead a healthy lifestyle and adopt a holistic approach including physical and mental health, emotional well-being and financial wellness.
The expo is organised by I.Star Events Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Star Media Group Bhd with Great Eastern Life as the exclusive event partner.
It will be held in Halls 1 to 3 of the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from July 13 to July 15. It is open from 10am to 7pm and admission is free.
For more information, call 03-7967 1388 (ext 1541/1097) or visit www.facebook.com/starhealthexpo.