Precautionary steps for every sport or activity are essential and cycling is no different. In addition, being a woman on a bicycle has its own challenges. You can easily end up being a soft target for muggers, criminals and perverts. Unfortunately, for women, it is not possible to eliminate the probability of verbal or physical assault. While these women’s cycling tips aren’t to deter you from the wonderful sport of cycling, being vigilant and taking a few safety measures can help keep away some of the issues that you might encounter as a woman cyclist.
Here is a list of woman’s cycling tips that would be helpful to rule out unwanted situations while you cycle.
The Dos and Don’ts of Woman’s Cycling
Women’s cycling can be a fun activity to do on your own , but it is always wise to avoid secluded areas or unknown routes as you would be unaware of the dangers lurking there or the state of the road that might have rough patches, potholes or slippery/ill-maintained drainage covers.
However, in case you do get into an uncomfortable situation, change your route, and quickly get to a populated area. Also, if you do have to ride through sketchy routes, it is best to avoid being predictable.
Avoid riding at night, as routes that are safe during the day might not be the same at night. Poorly-lit paths, underpasses or secluded areas pose potential dangers for riding at night. Cycling at night amidst all the silence is enjoyable but can get risky especially for women as they are generally easy targets for muggers or criminals.
Being a woman cyclist, it is best to avoid riding alone especially if you want to explore new routes or trails. While riding alone can give you a lot of me-time, it can be unsafe too. Riding in a group can also be fun, get a friend to join you or tag along with a group of cyclists.
It’s important to select the right women’s cycling attire if you are into long rides. Do not wear fancy or ill-fitting clothes. Also, it’s mandatory to wear the correct cycling shorts. Most of the professional cycling shorts are padded and do not require you to wear underwear. These shorts, padded with chamois, are equipped to absorb sweat, minimize bacterial infections and prevent chafing of the skin.
Avoid cycling with high-heeled sandals or laced boots. While cycling, your feet experience a huge amount of stress. Hence it is advisable to wear the right cycling shoes to be to be able to pedal easily. Sneakers are fine, but these won’t support you in the long run. So, we recommend that you do not invest in any pair of sneakers that are comfortable, but try and buy bike shoes with cleats that clip into the pedals.
You must not embark on any cycle ride without a helmet and eyewear. These might seem too trivial issues to read about, but we tend to forget these items, which we cannot afford to. A simple bug or gravel can cause major irritation to our eyes while cycling, which might lead to accidents and injury. Wearing proper eyewear will ensure that your cycling does not get hindered by these external causes.
You are going on cycle ride, not a party. So, do not bother to wear expensive jewellery or accessories that are of no help during your ride.
Health and Hygiene
According to Andy Pruitt, who’s the founder of the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Centre, “Women cyclists historically have more problems than men, but don’t talk about it much.”
Along with the cycling benefits, health issues also tag along.You cannot, and must not avoid your health issues, a few of which arise from not maintaining proper hygiene. A few common issues that women cyclists face include bacterial infection, genital numbness and saddle sores.
One of the major issues is bacterial infection because you are continuously sweating inside. Do not continue to wear the same pair of shorts if you are going for a long ride. Consider carrying multiple shorts.
Also, after every ride, make sure that you get out of your shorts immediately and wash them. Another preventive measure is to apply emollients to make sure that the skin between your legs doesn’t get chafed or broken.
Another important point that we all tend to miss, but cannot afford to, is the angle and height of the saddle. An incorrect saddle angle leads to burning of the skin between the legs, broken skin and saddle sores. Keep adjusting the saddle height and angle and ride for short distances till you find the right angle for yourself.
Don’t ignore bicycle problems. It is important to ensure that your bicycle is in a good condition so that you don’t end up getting stranded somewhere due to any bicycle issues. Do a small test ride, check the brakes and tires before you start especially if you are planning to cover a longer distance.
It’s important, rather critical that you do not forget to carry your bicycle tool kit long with, in case you face a breakdown.
Look up our article on: Tips for troubleshooting your bicycle .
Whether you’re riding in a group or alone, it’s always better to know the basics of bike repair. Learn to pump air into the tube, replace it, check the screws and tighten the brakes, so that you can be the master of your ride!
Check these Essential gears for Long distance Cycling!
Don’t ignore your instincts. If you feel uneasy in any situation, simply turn around and leave. Its best to take flight rather than a fight.
Some quick tips:
- Know your route well.
- Follow road rules and give clear indications when you take a turn.
- Avoid getting conscious while riding. Relax as you ride, don’t imagine that everyone is looking at you.
- Be aware of your surroundings – fellow cyclists, motorists, children, dogs, parked cars etc.
- Avoid riding too close to pedestrians or objects that could conceal an attacker.
Follow these simple and effective cycling tips for women who love bike riding and let nothing stop you from having a peaceful ride and enjoying all the cycling benefits.
Read: Divya Tate’s inspiring passion talk on her rich cycling experiences.
It pays to be alert and on top of any situation that you may come across.
Liked our women’s cycling tips? Have any other tips? Write to us about your cycling experiences.
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