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American adults add around five pounds of weight during the winter months, with increased caloric intake and less exercise leading factors for this physical change.

Compared to other cardio exercises, cycling is low impact and reduces stress on the body – helping prevent injuries, making it an ideal activity for anyone working your way through a rehab program.
Riding a bike is a fantastic cardiovascular activity that doesn’t need to end because of shorter daylight hours or some rainy weather in the forecast.

Defensive Riding

Be aware of your riding style and hyper-vigilant of the environment around you, because the things we often take for granted suddenly can become hazardous. For example, paint lines on the road, railroad tracks, and the road surface itself can feel like riding on a sheet of ice. Ride with the assumption that vehicles are unable to see you, with a specific focus on cars pulling out of parking spaces or driveways.

Well Lit

Many state laws have rules in place that require cyclists at night to wear a headlamp, reflectors, and red rear lights to improve visibility. Despite most bikes already including reflective strips and material on the pedals and other locations of the bike, riders should still consider stepping up and adding extra accessories. The use of a blinking red light, attached to a helmet or backpack, is a welcome addition to the minimum requirements promoted by the DMV.

Clothing

Wear appropriate clothing, especially when it’s dark or raining. Think about wearing a reflective rain jacket, leg warmers, waterproof shoe covers, and similar accessories can make a rainy commute much more bearable.
A search for rain cycling gear, or nighttime bike commuting tips, will yield plenty of shirts, jackets, pants, and other clothing choices that have reflective material built directly into the clothing.

Don’t Forget the Little Things

Wet conditions on the road means riders should reduce tire pressure – a recommendation of between 10 and 20 PSI reduction per tire is ideal, though that can be modified further based on rider weight.
Also, be ready to use your brakes earlier than usual due to the wet roads, as the bike wheels require more time to slow due to moisture on the brake pads. In addition, water and road debris erode rubber brake pads, so be sure to monitor remaining lifespan before the pads should be replaced.
For tips to properly fit a bike helmet, we recommend this short interview with Mike Morrison, R.N. and injury prevention educator at Legacy Health.
Have fun, and be safe while riding your bike at night or in the rain.

[Image Courtesy of Pexels / Skitterphoto]

Riding a bike is meant to be a fun experience. There are times while out on the road, or casually riding a local trail, that a flat tire – or some other minor bike incident occurs. Don’t be left stranded because something was forgotten at home.

Once you’ve decided which type of bike bag to attach to your bike, now it’s time to make sure it’s properly packed.

Here are a few things you shouldn’t leave home without if you’re going for a ride. Also, I’ll add a few outside resources and a YouTube video for you to check out.

List and more after the jump…  Read more… »