Have you ever fallen off from a cycle and then become so scared that you never went on cycling again? If this is so, you need to know all about bicycle fall injuries and how to prevent yourself from them?
In this article, we are going to find out how you can prevent injury while cycling. You will also find the following information in this article:
- Types of bicycle injuries
- Common mistakes while cycling
- Safety equipment to carry during cycling
Cycling is a common sport all around the world. In some countries, it is one of the most popular ways of transport which means that a lot of people are involved in this activity. However, many beginners do not take proper safety precautions while cycling which can result in serious injuries. We will discuss all common cycling injuries and how to be safe from them. So, let us start with this ride!
Types of Bicycle Injuries
Let us first explore the various types of bicycle fall injuries that riders can get. Question is, How can you prevent injury while cycling?
You may have seen that cyclists have to bend down a little to maintain a proper posture. This is very important for all because if you do not follow it correctly, you can develop pain in your neck or back which can cause further problems as well. While sitting on a bicycle, your back must bent in a curve which is linear. There should not be any hunch near the shoulders and arms should never be kept straight.
There must be a 1 inch height difference between the saddle and the handles. The seat is higher than the handle. Usually, the users who ride on large or small cycles according to their age and size develop cycling neck pain.
Head injuries are the most dangerous form of injuries that exist in cycling as well as other modes of transportation. When a rider falls from the bike or cycle, the most vulnerable part of the body is the head because direct impact on it can cause severe brain damage that can result in death. Minor cuts in the skull and bleeding can also cause severe problems for the user so it is very important to keep your head safe while riding. We will discuss the preventive measures for this in the next section.
Wrist/Arm Pain or Numbness
Your arms play a significant role during cycling because you have to steer your way using them. The recommended way is to keep the forearms slightly bent while you hold the handle. They should not be straight at 180 degrees. Often the bumpy roads can provide shocks to the elbows so if they are kept in a bending position, this will help the rider in feeling less impact from the uneven paths. Moreover, keeping the hands and wrists in one position can make them numb which can result in greater injuries as well.
The cycling leg injuries are a common sight among the majority of riders. Legs are your drivers for the cycling journey and they take the maximum impact if you fall off. Bruises on knees and ankles are mostly the result of rash cycling and careless attitude. The paddles and chains often hit the legs which can cause bruises. This is more common with kids who do not know how to cycle properly. Special care is needed while cycling on roads to prevent leg injuries due to ongoing traffic.
You may have felt a tingling like needles are pricking you foot. This happens when there is insufficient blood supply to that part of the body. Keeping the foot in one position for a long time and repetitive motion can cause this problem during cycling as well. One of the reasons behind it is the tight shoes which may cause excessive pressure to that area.
Tight seats and continuous cycling can cause people to feel pain in their genital areas as well. This results due to pressure that builds up in the blood vessels towards the genital parts. As they are continuously in contact with the front part of the seat, it results in this issue. Users must wear loose clothes, use padded seats and keeping changing positions while riding to overcome this issue.
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Common Mistakes While Cycling
Many beginners or even professional cyclists may find difficulty while cycling if they face certain situations. Just like car driving, cycling has some proper guidelines that people usually miss out. Let us see the common mistakes that people make while cycling:
One of the major reasons for cycling neck pain is incorrect posture. As mentioned before, the back must be bent but still maintain a relatively straight posture. There should not be a sharp curve to your back or neck otherwise you may develop pain very early. Arms and knees must be bent slightly so that sudden movements do not cause bone cracks or damage. Hip should be slightly on the upper side as well. Most cyclists do not check their postures on regular intervals during their journey which causes problems later on.
The only way to be safe from head injuries is wearing a helmet. You do not want direct contact with your head during injuries because it can be deadly. Most countries do not regulate helmets as necessary for cyclists which results in fatalities from accidents. Even if it is mandated, people need to wear the right type and size of helmet. User’s head must be fitted tightly to the point that it does not feel uncomfortable. The rider must be able to see clearly in front of him/her and open the mouth freely as well. So, you and your kids need different sized helmets for your bicycle rides.
Cycles require proper maintenance to ensure safe and smooth operation. Users need to check air pressure in tyres and ensure that the handles, chains, paddles and other items are working properly. One of the best ways to avoid injury while biking is to make sure that your cycle is working perfectly. In the case of any small error from the rider, the bike will support him/her to prevent problems. Chain problems are also very popular amongst children who do not take care of their cycles.
While riding on the streets or main roads, you must be bewaring of the traffic around you. Many cycles come with in-built reflectors that shine when headlights from other vehicles shine on them. In addition to this, there are rechargeable lights that you can attach at the front or back of your bicycle and enhance safety on roads. Many countries require the cyclists to take these things into practice but still, there are some users that show carelessness in this regard. Therefore, always keep your lights and reflectors in working condition.
Not Obeying Road Laws
There are proper road laws for cyclists in most countries. Some states have designated lanes for cycles to travel on which are clearly marked on road. Moreover, the rider must obey the traffic rules as well like lane changing through arms movement, wearing a helmet, using reflectors or lights on the cycles and not moving in the fast lanes. Every country has specific rules that must be followed. Parking your bicycles also has some guidelines because they cannot be parked randomly on streets. Many developing countries where bicycling is less common tend to ignore such lawmaking for cyclists which results in more cycling injuries and fatalities.
Recommended air pressures in different tyre sizes
What Are Some Things Cyclists Do To Reduce Friction?
Every cyclist wants a fast and smooth ride. Professionals need this to gain advantage in races and increase the efficiency of their bikes. We will discuss some of the ways to reduce friction in cycles:
- The tyres are the point of contact with the road. Generally, thicker tyres cause more friction because they have larger surface area. This is why you may have noticed that professional bicyclists use extremely thin tyres because they have minimum friction and allow them to gain speed easily.
- The chain of the cycle must be properly lubricated on regular intervals. Use light lubricants, grease or oil to treat the chain and hinges. Mostly, dry lubricants are preferred as they can be used in dry weather conditions whereas wet lubricants are generally used in rainy or snowy weather.
- All the components of a bicycle need to be clean from excessive mud, dirt or other items which can get stuck and slow down your cycle. This is essential to reduce friction because dirty parts can increase the drag due to difficulty in movement.
- Air resistance plays a pivotal role while you are travelling outdoors. Professional cyclists maintain a specific posture in which they lean towards the front side in order to reduce drag. The purpose is to reduce the surface area that air can hit while you are cycling. Some people stay behind other vehicles or fellow cyclists to reduce the effects of air resistance.
- Tight clothes are essential for reducing air friction as well because air does not travel in between the suits to cause drag. There are many sportswear brands that make cycling costumes for professionals. This is the reason that you do not see racers travelling in everyday clothes!
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What Items Should You Keep While Cycling?
Now that we have talked about the cycling injuries and common mistakes among users, let us find out the important things that you should always keep when you go to cycle:
- Helmet- Always wear a helmet when you go out on main streets because it can prevent you from head injury in cycling.
- Water Bottles- Try to keep at least 1-2 water bottles or other liquids that you prefer when you travel on bicycles. This is essential if you go on long rides because you need to preserve your hydration level.
- Backpack- If you keep a small backpack with you containing essential items like sunglasses, extra water bottles, first aid kit, snacks, caps, etc., you will make your life much easier.
- Air Pump- This item will prove very beneficial for you in case your cycle’s tyre goes flat. You can buy a small air pump and place it in your backpack to carry it around easily
Recommendations To Ensure Safe Cycling Experience
There are some general tips that we would like to offer the readers so that they enjoy their bicycle rides to the fullest.
- Always give first priority to personal safety. Invest in good helmets, cycling suits and lights for your cycles so that when you go out on road, you do not have to worry about other traffic.
- If you ride for leisure, try to do it in evenings on dry days so that you enjoy it to the fullest.
- Take regular intervals while you cycle. Experts recommend that you must take a break of 5 minutes after every 20 minutes of cycling.
- Try to make friends in your local community through cycling because it will provide you with a group that shares your interests.
- Always teach your kids how to cycle from home so that they remain safe even if they fall. Do not give them cycles that are too small or large for their size or age because they will find difficulty in riding them.
Cycling is a global sport and one of the most loved fun activities for young children as well as adults. Most European countries have a large population of active cyclists that use it for their daily transport. The activity is environment friendly because cycles do not release any harmful gases into the atmosphere. It is also very healthy because users stay fit and active in their lives. However, the bicycle fall injuries do happen everywhere so people need to be aware of them.
This article has explored the common cycling injuries like leg injuries, neck pain, head injuries, foot numbness and others. It has been observed that most of these problems occur due to carelessness of the cyclist. If a person follows safety guidelines like wearing helmet, obeying road laws and maintaining the bike properly, the chances of injury in cycling are next to none. Therefore, it is important to give first priority to your personal safety even if you are going out on a bicycle. Even if the cycles present little danger by itself, there are other vehicles on road that can be deadly if you do not take proper precautions.
Hopefully you got the best and detailed answer for how can you prevent injury while cycling? If you have still any question then let us know in comment section below.