The 6 Senses of Cycling...

We all want to complete our goals, and by using the abilities at our disposal we can better our chances of being safe while out on the roads. The following tips have been used while I've trained for events over the last 7 years / 75,000kms…


There are two key areas here…
1) Being seen - It is critical you are seen by traffic. This means (where applicable) the wearing of both reflective gear, and the use of lights on both the front and back of the bike. Any lights should be flashing to increase the likelihood of being seen as early as possible.
2) Knowing your surroundings - Some cyclists will ride around parked cars and like without so much as a glance for traffic approaching them. If you expect drivers to look for you, then you need to look for them also. Always make eye contact with the driver if possible, and use hand signals to let them know where you're going. Most drivers will be more than happy to let cyclists merge with them, but they need to know what you're planning to do.

If you wear it - Wash it. Staying healthy means you stay as clean as possible. This means your gear gets thrown into the wash as soon as you walk in the door, and it also means multiple sets of clothes if commuting.

Eat what works for you on training rides and events. It's not a secret that I prefer Hammer Nutrition products for both training and recovery, but if you can complete your goals using other products, or even - as I've witnessed once - eating lollies…then power to you. The big thing is to be open minded about what may (or may not) work, and be prepared to try different things occasionally.


Unless I'm doing an extended ride, (or it's very cold / wet), I don't bother about gloves. If the road is dry you'll get a good feel (literally) of what's happening with your tyres with a quick touch as you're riding. (This may include checking them while riding after cycling over glass and debris).


In the same way you'll need to look for traffic, you also need to hear the traffic. This means no I-Pods or MP3 players while cycling on open roads. (The track is another kettle of fish - But this assumes you're on the track alone). The issue of 'boredom' should never arise, as you'll constantly be scanning the road for debris, and additionally the road well ahead should be thought of from time to time. All in all there is plenty to do, and listening for the traffic could be the difference between a safe ride or a close call.

The 6th Sense
Go with your gut. There is a big difference between being nervous about completing Taupo, and nervous about riding to work in the dark with no lights. Simply put, you know how motivated you are to complete your training, and within the context of that motivation, if something sends you the message that things aren't right, then your properly correct. In these situations the best starting point is to think about the above points. If you are still unsure about a situation, then approach someone who has successfully addressed this situation in the past. Bottom line - Safety first.

I hope these points help. Feel free to also use the 3 'rules of thumb' below for keeping yourself safer…
- Always be prepared to get off the road. (You are entitled to be on it, but that is a small consolation if a truck drives too close to the side of the road…where you happen to be).
- Wave to vehicles whenever possible. (Very few drivers are dangerous, but they are all giving you room - You wear distinctive gear and will be remembered either way).
- Know why you're out there. (Cycling becomes a chore relatively quickly if you see your weekends simply as being tired in the saddle and later tired at home).

Reach out and grab what you want from this world before you. Cycling can bring you a new life, but you must embrace it. This means enjoying the rain, the dirt, the traffic, and most of all enjoying those smaller moments when you carry on because of the discomfort. With any luck these moments will collectively make you into a better person...who has a well balanced view on life.

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