Riding Solo is the New Norm. Tips on Riding Solo Safely.

We’re smack dab in the middle of a Pandemic here on planet Earth. Nothing seems normal, and at the same time, we all need to stay healthy, get around and release some of this stress. While here in Nova Scotia, our Parks and Trails just reopened yesterday. Riders are taking to the roads and hitting the trails. There is no denying that in the search for something healthy to do during this Covid-19 period - cycling is checking a lot of the boxes and people are getting out on bikes in unprecedented numbers.

Bike Check
Personally when heading out on a solo ride, I always take my mobile phone in a protective case. I almost always put it on airplane mode when riding, but I also make sure someone knows my general planned route. Then, the phone becomes more of backup a safety device and maybe camera. I also typically keep a $5 bill in my pack just in case. I also carry a piece of Identification with me. You can never be too safe. It goes without saying that when riding, you should always wear a helmet. When on solo rides, we recommend focusing on flow and technique over speed. Save the speed rides and Strava KOM attempts for post-pandemic.
One big change at this time is social distancing. We’re reading about a lot of folks heading out on solo rides. These can be wonderfully therapeutic, and a few simple pieces of kit and know-how can help seal the deal on a safe, happy return home from your ride.
First thing before any ride is a quick bike check. We tend to approach things from front to back. Quickly make sure there are no loose bolts in the stem, front brake and front axle is snug. Air pressure is where it should be. Brakes are functional. No leaks or major frays in cables. Brake pads looking okay. 
Then a quick peruse of the middle of the bike. That would be making sure the saddle and seat post are snug and properly adjusted for your comfort. Down low - we want to be sure that the pedals are tight, and spinning well. A jiggle and spin of the cranks to check the bottom bracket health, then move to the back of the bike. 
Chain and derailleur should be cleaned and lubed regularly. Shifting in good health, and rear brake functioning properly. Look over the rear brake as you did the front.

What’s in your pack?

This is an important thing. Do you have enough food and water for your ride? Now for tools and bike related stuff. For longer rides, we recommend a Hydration pack of some form. For shorter rides, a fanny pack or strap system set up is usually perfect. That’s all personal choice. The key is having the right tools and supplies with you so you can get home safely.
You definitely want some Allen Keys 2mm, 2.5, 4, 5, 6, 8 are typical sizes and many multi tools contain this setup. Tube and pump are recommended. Tubeless patches, plugs and push-tool if you are running a tubeless setup. Tire levers will be necessary for most people in order to deal with a puncture or flat. It’s always good to have 2-3 zip-ties on hand.
Maintaining a cool head and riding within your comfort zone is key. Push yourself physically and get that heart rate up, but it’s time to do that in lower risk situations like fire roads and open paths over hucking your meat for Instagram. Pack for self-sustainability, and always be a little bit extra-prepared. There’s nothing worse than having to carry your bike out of the woods for a simple reason, and it’s pretty easy to prepare.

If you’re in need of some tips for what to pick for your pack, give us a jingle. We are here to support you in your healthy endeavours.

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