Biking is healthy. Be it daily trips to work or school or brief out-of-town Sunday excursions, riding bikes means exercising, protecting the environment and... the bank account.
Biking is important, yes, but you need to pay attention to your own and other people’s safety, especially in very busy cities.
There are rules (often related to common sense) for bikers as well, together with simple but important precautions which can make the difference once on the road.
ANY ADVICE BEFORE DEPARTURE?
1) It may be banal, but choosing the right bike that suits your needs is essential. According to the chosen path, there are types of bike more or less suitable (for the city, MTB, e-bike, etc...) and, above all, it is important to get the right measures. A “right” bike means keeping the right position while standing on the seat, to avoid losing balance on the street.
2) Before leaving - especially for long trips - it would be a good idea to always check the breaks, lights, bell and tyre pressure of the bike. It is better to avoid unpleasant surprises.
3) They are not everywhere - in Italy their distribution is not so widespread - but where possible, use cycling paths, since they are better than an alternative route maybe in the middle of a busy road. If you cannot do otherwise, it is better to choose roads that cross parks or public gardens.
4) Always bring with you a repair kit and a tyre pump, hook it up the bike frame or use a compact one that can be kept in a bag.
5) Lock pads have sadly become indispensable. There are many types and prices, suitable for any necessities.
6) If cycling in poor light conditions, always make yourself visible wearing something fluorescent.
1) Wear the helmet. It is an essential priority. Always.
2) Respecting the traffic laws is a civic duty, both for car drivers and for bikers. There is a specific vertical signage for bicycle: it is essential that you respect it.
3) Common sense and attention are indispensable. While you are inside the traffic you must be always very careful, to anticipate the other vehicles’ moves. Noises are very important, as well, so you should not “close” your ears using iPods or similar.
4) Finally, it is always advisable to keep a safe distance from cars and heavy goods vehicles like buses, lorries, trucks, especially near turns and intersections: the blind spot of the mirrors might make you totally invisible for them.