How to stay cycle-safe

With less than 4 months to go to Cycle Challenge Sunday, we're ramping up our advice to help you train responsibly and safely - and be best prepared to ride the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge and enjoy it.

Mass participation events appeal to novices because the individual participants are carried by the crowd. The thinking being that when thousands of people are around you, doing the same thing as you, there is a better chance that you will be successful at it too.

But with large crowds and varying conditions - and in cycling in particular, where there are varying degrees of ability and experience - safety quickly becomes an issue.

Luckily podcaster Brad Brown and cycling coach Devlin Eyden have released an episode dealing with safety...

Brown and Eyden touch on a number of handy tips from getting used to riding in crowds, to how to detach from a group to stop at a water point, and how to greet your supporters on the side of the road.

Learning to ride in a group is essential for newbies to the sport of cycling. It is the primary activity helping cyclists conserve up to a quarter of their energy through slipstreaming. Both make the point that you have to train in a group to become truly aware of other riders and what their intentions might be.

One of the things too - and people will talk about keep your line - don't move off your line! You've got to be careful when reaching down for your bottle, drinking, that you don't change your line. Because if you do veer across the road, you are going to potentially cause accidents.

Cycling Coach Devlin Eyden

Good habits start early, so if you are going to join a bike club or cycling group make sure you are not a liability. With roads as busy as ours, you simply have to make yourself as visible as possible!

If you are going out early make sure you are visible. Have lights on the front and the back of your bike. Really just make sure, even if you have to dress like a Christmas tree, make sure that vehicles do see you.

Cycling Coach Devlin Eyden

While monitoring weather predictions from as far as a week before can also help with preparation for the cycle challenge, the highveld in early Summer can be notoriously unpredictable. Brown and Eyden suggest planning for super hot conditions in the mornings but also potentially for rain and cold winds in the event of a sudden afternoon thunderstorm.

As much as this is an individual achievement for each participants of the 947 Telkom Cycle Challenge, there'll be a number of other cyclists who would benefit from a word of encouragement. The team suggest that if someone is struggling, tap them on the back or show them a smile with some encouraging words - there will probably be a timein the race when you might need that from somebody else!

I think that's the one drawcard to this and doing these mass participation events is the camaraderie and the guys helping each other. We're all in the same boat on the day so I think help each other out where you can.

Cycling Coach Devlin Eyden

Click below to listen to the Coach Parry podcast with Brad Brown and Devlin Eyden:

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