Bike Safety, Protocol and How Not to be a Jerk

For Those Who Ride Alone

Palm Beach Bike Tours founder, Ken Steinhoff, mainly rides alone. He doesn’t want to have to organize people and wants to be able to stop and smell the roses. If you, too, want to ride alone or if it just works out that way, please carry enough supplies to get you home safely. For a list of stuff Ken carries and the subset therein which a reasonable person carries, please see Ken’s Big List of Necessary Bicycle Gear, AKA, The Kitchen Sink.

Safety, Protocol and How Not to be a Jerk

Be considerate of your fellow cyclists.

If you’re new to cycling in general or just the group with whom you are cycling, introduce yourself and let the folks you are riding with know you are new. Let the folks around you know your ability level. When you announce you are new, your fellow riders will likely invite you along, give you some space and help you adjust to the group. They might give you tips, share an energy bar and find out more about you.

On the other hand, if you show up for a ride, don’t introduce yourself, jump into the group and don’t announce your ability level, you are likely to be shunned. It will feel as though they are unfriendly and hostile to outsiders. In most cases, however, all they are is fearful.

Riding with people you don’t know — especially close and fast — makes you nervous. You never know if the new guy can hold a line, is prone to flailing, doesn’t pay attention to the road or other riders or makes sudden movements when he sneezes. No one wants to fall and your chances of falling in or around someone you don’t know is higher than falling with people you have ridden with every weekend for a couple years.

Wear a Helmet

In most cases, you won’t be allowed to ride without a helmet. Even if you were able, it would be stupid.

Riding in a Pace Line

Practice, practice, practice.

If you’re going to jump into a ride with a