Health and Safety Tips for a Long-Distance Bike Trip

bike trip

For millions of Americans, nothing beats hitting the open road on your bike and going on a long-distance trip. On your journey, you’ll not only get to explore new places and meet people from different walks of life but benefit mentally and physically too. These include increasing cardiovascular fitness, strengthening bones, and reducing stress levels.

If you’re about to embark on a long-distance bike trip, your safety and security should be your top priority. To ensure you have an adventure of a lifetime and come back in good spirits, here are some useful health and safety tips to know.

Wear Your Helmet

While wearing a helmet isn’t mandatory in every state, research shows that wearing one can significantly lower your risk of serious injury by 70%. Head injuries are the prominent cause of fatal bike accidents in the United States. Unfortunately, 97% of victims don’t wear a helmet. If you have protective headgear on but find yourself in an accident, having insurance in place will mean that you’re covered. For those who have a road or mountain trek bike, you can obtain trek bikes insurance from Velosurance. Their trek bikes insurance policy covers any crash or accidental damage, as well as some of your medical bills.

Understand Your Bike

Before you get going on your long-distance bike trip, you need to get to grips with your model. One way to reduce the risk of an accident is by checking your bike, gear, and helmet first. Also, ensure your tires are inflated properly and look at your lights and reflectors to check that they’re working correctly. Finally, examine your gears and chains for any fractures, defects, or issues. Taking these steps will prevent accidents and could potentially save your life.

Wear Reflective Materials

One of the leading causes of bike accidents in the United States is limited visibility. Wherever you’re heading, you need to be mindful of drivers on the road. If they can’t see you, this increases the risk of an accident and serious injury. This is particularly true at an intersection where your paths will cross. Although you will benefit from installing reflectors on your bike, it’s wise to wear reflective and bright clothing as they will increase your visibility. 

Know Your Signals

Many bike accidents happen at or close to intersections. Therefore, you need to be fully aware of bike hand signals. These are used to communicate with other cyclists and nearby drivers. Unless you provide a warning in advance, drivers can’t anticipate what you are going to do. Ensure your hand signals are clear and obvious to others. Doing so will lower the chance of an accident and keep everyone safe on the road.

Limit Distractions

When cycling long distances, you may want some entertainment to keep your mind active. Whether you listen to music or pop on a podcast, these distractions can hinder your concentration. For example, if you get your smartphone out and change track, your eyes won’t be focused on what’s in front of you. From the moment you get on your bike, any electronics should be stashed in your pocket or bag. If you need some water while riding, bring one that can be easily operated with one hand. 

Stay Off the Sidewalk

When riding next to large vehicles, you may see the sidewalk as a safe alternative. However, sidewalk biking is incredibly dangerous for numerous reasons. For starters, the sidewalk is for pedestrian use. Should you ride on it, you run the risk of crashing into a pedestrian. Secondly, sidewalk pavements are more likely to be uneven when compared to the road. You don’t want to start your long-distance trip by going flying over a bump or crack in the sidewalk. While you may see sidewalks as a way to cut corners and get ahead, you must stick to being on the road instead.

Remember to Eat and Drink

All bikers need to eat and drink while on the road. If you’re going long-distance, there’s only so much your body can take. Make sure you factor in regular pit stops which can be used to fuel your body and keep hydrated. There are great healthy snacks you can pack that will sustain energy levels and increase nutrient intake. You may not be aware of how much sweat you lose through cycling, meaning dehydration could kick in quickly. Common symptoms of dehydration include dizziness which can affect your focus, so ensure you drink lots of water throughout the trip. Pack extra water in your backpack which can be filled up at rest stops.

Taking your bike on a long-distance trip can be highly rewarding. Whether you’re hitting the highway or maneuvering around twisty, mountain roads, make sure you take precautionary measures to keep yourself safe from start to finish.