Bike safety

Plan for emergencies before you ride out this summer


Anica Graney / CLARION

A helmet, glasses, multitool, CO2 inflator and inner tube can help ensure a safe bike ride.

Thomas Chaltry, Contributor

Fill up your water bottles, pump up your tires, and snap your helmet onto your noggin. It’s summertime and biking can be a great sport for those looking to stay in shape or simply enjoy the outdoors. One of the many luxuries of living in or around Madison Is the diversity of biking that can be had. From the wide city biking lanes to the spacious country roads that can be reached just fifteen minutes out of town, Madison is a mecca for bikers.

As you wander about this summer on your bike, it is important to make sure you are prepared for any sort of emergency or mechanical mishap. Some safety essentials include helmet, water bottles, phone, inner tubes, multitool, and a handheld pump or CO2 inflator. You can store these tools either in the back of a biking jersey or in a little saddle bag that can be purchased online or at a local bike shop. Family members and those close to you are put to ease knowing that you are prepared for the worst, likewise you can focus on your ride and enjoy the outdoors.

Before getting out on the roads or trails, make sure your tires are filled, you’re wearing reflective clothing, and everything on your bike is in top condition. Watching the weather is also important as you don’t want to get caught in a famous Wisconsin summer storm while in the middle of a ride.

Bike etiquette keeps yourself and those around you safe. Common hand signals include left or right pointing with your hand before stops or turns, an open palm with your fingers facing the ground indicates that there is a stop sign ahead or that you are slowing, and pointing out sticks, potholes, or other turbulent surfaces with a pointed finger to the ground can help riding mates avoid a flat tire or a bumpy ride.

Whether you are a beginner, a casual rider, or a seasoned racer there is a bike team for you. Bike teams act as a great community and social aspect to riding. I would personally recommend the Brazen Dropouts, a local Madison team for casual riders to racers. I have learned new bike routes and made many great friends from this bike team. All college students receive free admission to the team. To learn more about this team check out their website at

Biking is a great activity that is low-impact and perfect for all ages but making sure that you’re safe and well-equipped beforehand is crucial for an enjoyable ride.