Bike Ride, Anyone?

Let’s Get Ready to Roll

Warmer days … cabin fever? That sounds like the perfect reason to get those bikes out of the garage, shed or apartment corner. If you’re going stir-crazy at home, a bike ride is a great way to recreate while following the CDC recommendations. It’s time to let the rubber meet the road … or trail! 

With 78 miles of trails, Great Parks offers a variety of options for taking your bike out for a spin. So after a long winter’s break, let’s review some considerations, tips and pre-ride bike inspection pointers before we get back in that saddle again.

Plan Ahead & Prepare

  • First things first: Is your bike in good riding condition, comfortable and adjusted for you?
  • Does the trail distance, terrain and difficulty level safely match your cycling goals and abilities?
  • Are there any trail updates or closures?
  • There’s safety in numbers and extra help in the event of a bike malfunction or if an emergency occurs. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, you should only be traveling with people you share a house with.
  • If you are traveling alone, make sure to share the details of your trip with household or family members.
  • If you aren’t starting and ending at the same location (perhaps you’re traveling on the Little Miami Scenic Trail) be sure to have a vehicle at your end point or a transportation plan in place.
  • Make sure to pack a cell phone and driver’s license or ID. Remember to secure your car keys during your ride.
  • And last but not least, don’t forget the important pre-ride bathroom break!

Gear & Clothing: Tips & Tricks

  • Wear a helmet, of course! Keep it level, with the helmet resting two fingers above your eyebrows. Adjust the chin straps so they are half an inch or less below your chin, and make sure to keep it clipped. Important to note: After a crash or impact on your helmet, it should be replaced.
  • Dress for the weather and be prepared for weather changes. Wearing layers is a great way to go. 
  • Avoid cotton. Choose clothing designed to wick away moisture to keep you comfortable and dry. 
  • Need to secure those pant legs to avoid making contact with the chain? A few tricks to try: simply roll your pant legs up, tuck them into your socks or use leg bands. 
  • Shoelace check! Make sure shoelaces are tied tightly before take-off.
  • Dawn, dusk or night riding? Wearing bright colors and reflective gear is a must. Use white front and rear red lights if you are riding at night to help folks see you coming and going.
  • Long rides? Consider bike shorts for padded comfort and bike gloves to protect your hands from sun, wind burn and to distribute pressure across your palms.
  • If you have a bike tool kit, bring it on the trail. 

Hydration & Health

  • Drink and pack water. Proper hydration is key.
  • Bring along a snack for an energy boost on the trail. Be sure to pack out any trash.
  • Sunny day? Rock those sunglasses to protect your eyes (or pack them just in case).
  • Wear that sunscreen and bring along necessary personal medication. Also, consider packing a small first aid kit. Prone to chapped lips? Bring that lip balm.
  • Stay healthy and prepared! Bring along hand sanitizer and tissues or a bandanna.
  • Warm up and cool down those muscles by stretching pre- and post-ride.

Pre-Ride Bike Check: Practice Your ABC Quick Check

  • A = Air
    • Are you fully loaded? Feel deflated? Going bald?
  • B = Brakes 
    • Breaks working? Worn-out brake pads? Gap distance?
  • C = Cranks and Chain
    • Rusted, gunky, squeaky or loose?
  • Quick = Quick Releases 
    • Are all quick releases closed and secure?
  • Check = Check it over!
    • Is everything overall in good shape? Working properly on a slow test ride?

Speaking of check, take a minute (and a half) to check out this video that will take you through the steps: Basic Bike Check.

Share the Trail: Safety & Courtesy Count   

  • Obey the rules of the trail at all times.  
  • Be considerate of other trail users. Be respectful of each other by maintaining social distancing (6 feet apart from people you don’t live with), washing or sanitizing hands, covering your face when you cough or sneeze and avoid visiting during high-peak times.
  • Stay close to the right of the trail, except when passing. 
  • Politely announce (in advance) when “passing on the left” to indicate your intention. 
  • Allow plenty of room, about 2 bike lengths, before moving back to the right side of the trail.
  • Be predictable! Travel in a straight line unless you are avoiding hazards on the trail or you are passing. Make sure to indicate when turning.
  • Verbally announce when you are slowing down and stopping. You can also signal by bending your left arm out at a 90-degree angle at the elbow, pointed downwards and facing your open palm backward. 
  • Do not block the trail please! If you need to re-hydrate or pause for a necessary bike check, pull off of the trail to allow ample room for other trail users.  
  • When possible, bike clockwise on the trail in a single file line. This can help to reduce the need to pass other visitors. 
  •  Stay trail aware for your safety and others. Avoid listening to loud music with your earbuds. Make sure you can hear cars, sirens and other park guests.
  • Pack your trash out. Practice “Leave No Trace” to respect our environment, protect our wildlife and to maximize everyone’s enjoyment of the great outdoors.

Take a moment to check out this short video: Sharing the Trail.

Where to Ride: Trails in Great Parks

Check out all 78 miles of trails, for length, difficulty level and more. Try out a new trail this spring. You may even find a new favorite place to hit the trail.

I hope these tips help get you ready for that well-deserved ride. Remember to enjoy the trails, leave no trace, stay healthy and share those smiles!

For more information about Leave No Trace, check out Leave No Trace Basics Video & Leave No Trace 7 Principles.

Adventure Outpost Team