Have you ever wanted to try cycling from London to Paris? Maybe you thought it was a nice idea but it was too expensive, well for just £99 you can do just that. Not only that, but you can also take part in a Charity challenge by doing the London to Paris bike ride.
Think of all the sights you could see. You could set your own pace and explore, whilst also getting a health boost. But before you jump on your bike and ride away, you should make sure that you are safe. Here are a few guidelines on cycling safety and law in the UK
These rules are in place to keep you safe. It is important to follow these, especially on long trips.
The most important thing to take in to consideration is that you must be visible to other road users. Wear bright clothes during the day and reflective clothing at night. Make sure your bike is fitted with lights to use after dark, or in poor viewing conditions such as fog, rain or overcast weather.
Keep a safe distance from the kerb. If you ride too close, you run the risk of hitting a pedestrian or even hurting yourself if the kerb suddenly changes shape or juts out. This is also a good way to avoid drains and road side debris.
Make eye contact with drivers of vehicles so you know that they have seen you. This will also let them know that you have seen them and intend to act appropriately around them. This is essential before making a manoeuvre.
Your intentions must be made clear to other road users, so before you do anything, use signals and gestures such as using your arms to indicate a turn.
Do not weave in and out of traffic. Not only is this dangerous but it can also annoy other road users.
You should use cycle routes where possible. Pedestrians have right of way, be especially weary of those who may have sight or hearing problems, as they may be unaware of your presence. A good idea would be to have a bell fitted to alert others of your presence.
It is very important to note that it is against the law for any cyclist to do the following:
- Cycle through red lights, including lights at pedestrian crossings.
- Cycle on pavements, unless there’s a sign showing that the pavement has been converted to a cycle path.
- Cycle the wrong way up a one-way street, unless there’s a sign showing that cyclists can do so.
- Ride across pedestrian crossings, unless it’s a toucan crossing with a sign saying that cyclists can do so.
Now that you are aware of the rules of cycling to keep you safe, it is worth looking at the equipment you will need if you are to take part in the London to Paris bike ride. It is important that you follow these guidelines, especially when traveling long distances that may take you through different terrain and weather patterns. You must also be aware that in France, traffic is on the right rather than the left, so it may take a bit of time getting used to it. It is also important to make sure all your riding equipment is in good working order.
Although it is not a legal requirement, it is highly recommended you wear a helmet. This helmet must meet British standards and will be marked with the kite mark or CE mark. Your helmet must be a snug fit, but not too tight and should not tilt backwards or forwards. You must have the helmet securely fastened to ensure it is tight enough, you should test by trying to put two fingers between your chin and strap. Two fingers should just about fit. Anymore and it’s too loose. Any less and it’s too tight and should be loosened accordingly.
Never buy second hand helmets as they could be damaged and will not protect you if you have an accident.
Lights and reflectors
During the London to Paris bike ride; it is likely you will be using your bike a night, as such it is compulsory to have a white front light and a red rear light. A red rear reflector and amber/yellow pedal reflectors located on the front and back of each pedal is also a must. Having reflectors fitted to the front and the spokes will also help with visibility, although these are not a legal requirement. You can get either steady or flashing lights, or a mixture but be aware that a steady light is important at the front, especially when cycling though areas that are dark and lack good street lighting.
Whilst steady lights must meet British standards, flashing lights don’t have to; however they must flash at a rate at 1 to 4 equal flashes each second and also be at least 4 candles in brightness.
Any additional lights must also be white at the front and red at the back and should not dazzle other road users.
Before cycling, you must check that your tyres are safe. To do this you must lift the front end of the bike by the handlebar stem and then give the top of the wheel a bang with your hand to make sure the wheel is fully locked into place. The wheel should not wobble side to side and the bearings should show no signs of wear.
When you spin the front wheel the breaks shouldn’t rub against the wheel rim. Tyres should feel firm. If not then inflate until they do. There should be no punctures, cuts or bulges as the can cause problems. It is much safer to address this problem before you set off.
Do the same checks for the back wheels. If you have chosen to add a mud guard to the front wheels, there should be at least a 5mm gap between the mudguard and tyre. Remove the mudguard if it rubs against the tip of your shoe when cycling as it could cause a distraction.
Test the front brakes first. To do this, apply the brakes then try to push the bike forward. It should not move. The brake pads should be sat evenly on the wheel rim. Check cables for any signs of fraying or damage and that the break grips on the handle bars are in good condition and are attached firmly to the handlebars.
Do the same for the back brakes. When applying the back breaks the back tyre should slide not roll when you push the bike forward.
Handlebars and steering
All the parts on the handlebars should be tight and you should be able to steer freely. You can test by turning the handle bars from side to side. Nothing should be loose. You can also apply the brakes and try to rotate the handlebars.
Make sure to set your seat at a height that is confortable to you. You should still be able to reach both the peddles and handlebars with ease. To check this, you should place one heel on the pedal. Your leg should straighten when the pedal is furthest from the seat.
Chain, gears and pedals
Check to see if the chain is attached correctly by turning the bike upside down and moving the pedals with you hand. The chain should move with the back wheel and should not dip or look loose. Remember to check to see if the chain is oiled properly as that will help with moving. Shift through all the gears on the back sprocket and front gear changer to check the chain stays on and moves smoothly. Wobble each pedal from side to side to check they don’t move too much – if they do, the bearings in the bottom bracket need replacing
With all that taken care of you should be ready to take part in any Charity challenge!
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