Guide to the ideal urban cyclist
Cities are becoming more cycling-friendly and drivers of other vehicles more aware, but even so, living together creates situations that need to be anticipated.
Always cycle with caution, with plenty of room to react to any unforeseen event and the city will always be a safe way to cycle.
Tips to be the perfect urban cyclist
In this order and not the other way around. Before changing lanes or crossing a street, always look first and if in doubt… there’s no doubt about it, never try to push yourself. Find the driver’s gaze and indicate your intention with your arm, check that the driver has understood you and change direction with a slight movement. Once it’s clear that you can pass, don’t take too long, but always without making sharp turns.
Even if you have priority, against a car you will always be the weakest part. At crossroads, junctions and intersections of streets, always check that you can pass without any problem. Again, even if you have priority, no one wants to hurt anyone, but the driver may not have seen you or may think he has the right of way. A preventive attitude exponentially increases your security.
Sometimes we drive through garage exits. Most of them don’t have a rear-view mirror and the driver needs to stick the nose out of the car to see. Many of these exits are on ramps and it is difficult for the driver to exit very slowly. If you drive too close and too fast, the nose of the car may give you a good scare. Also, be extra cautious when passing through the exits of the doorways of buildings. A pram or a child playing is one of the most common surprises.
Gradually the paint on zebra crossings is being replaced with a non-slip compound, but most zebra crossings are still very slippery, especially when wet. As far as possible, try to avoid rolling over painted surfaces on these crossings and on the lines of the carriageway itself, especially if you are turning.
If you have to be very cautious in the presence of any vehicle, you have to be even more cautious in the presence of a bus because you cannot see what is in front of you. Their manoeuvrability and the driver’s visibility is reduced due to their large size and they are also the centre of traffic for many pedestrians. Never overtake a stopped bus at full speed. A passenger may have got off and is passing in front of the bus to cross the road, at which point you may overlap. You should also slow down when passing through the right exit door as passengers often jump off.
If there is a sidewalk, climb it very carefully, never with a sharp blow and even less diagonally, this also applies to cities where there are train tracks at ground level where you can put the wheels. Always do this from the front or off the bike because if you do it diagonally the tire will slip and you will likely hit the ground. Don’t be fooled by their size, the smaller ones are the most treacherous, so always look for curbside recesses provided for access.
We live in times of hyperconnectivity and continuous real-time communication, but wearing headphones is forbidden on a bicycle. It is true that it is really nice to carry music or listening to the news, a podcast or talking to a friend while cycling, but the regulations in Spain are what they are, the penalty is 200€, and it is very true that not hearing clearly what is happening around you or on your own bike involves a very high added risk factor. If you need to talk on the phone, stop for a moment and then continue cycling.
Just as you have to wear an approved helmet to ride a motorbike, or fasten your seat belt in a car, riding a bike also requires protection. In cycling helmets there is an infinite offer in prices, qualities and designs to suit all tastes, but there are also a range of recommendations regarding your equipment, to enjoy cycling in the city with all the guarantees.
Always and well adjusted, without blocking the visual field but without unprotecting the forehead. Adjust the straps so that they aren’t too loose and place the hull fork pin just below your earlobes. Any helmet that is worthwhile should have rear adjustment at the back of the neck to ensure that it is always securely fastened.
Highly recommended. You need to be aware of the terrain and traffic at all times and if a speck of dirt gets in your eyes you could be blindsided for a few seconds. Use medium tinted lenses or even better photochromic ones to always wear them, whatever the brightness.
It is not mandatory but it is recommended if your bike is not perfectly equipped with reflectors and position lights. In addition, on cold days it isolates our chest from the cold wind.
In long winters for the cold, in the summer for sweating from the heat… and all year round for protection. We can stumble for a moment and have to support ourselves with our hand, and you can injure your palm if you don’t have protection. In addition to loading the bike, it always gives us more grip.
Trouser bottom clip
If your bike is not equipped with a good chain guard, use one of these open ring clamps. You will avoid staining your trousers or possibly getting your trouser bottoms caught in the chain as it engages the chainring.
Messenger Side Bag
You may need to use your train ticket or stop to answer a phone call during your bike ride. The difference between these bags and a traditional two-strap backpack is that you don’t have to carry it on your back to prevent sweating, and you can immediately access its contents with a simple twist around your waist. Always wear it properly adjusted, making sure it does not rub against the rear wheel or dangling straps that could enter the spokes.