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Renting a Bicycle

Introduction

With the price of gas continually inching upwards, renting a bicycle is a great way to save money. When you are in the market for a new bike, renting a bicycle is also an affordable way to try out different brands and models before you make a purchase.

When you are on vacation, renting a bicycle is often times much more convenient than transporting your own bike. They say that the road less traveled always leads to more interesting destinations and when you ride a bike, you will be able to go down trails and paths not accessible by car. So you are almost guaranteed to see more than you could if traveling by car!

Operating Tips

The first step in renting a bicycle is to find a rental agency nearby. Once there, you'll find an expert ready to fit you with the bike that will take you where you need to go. Here's the type of interaction you can expect when renting a bicycle.

  1. You'll be asked what type of bike riding you plan to do. For example, will you be touring, racing, or mountain riding? The answer you provide will help ensure you rent the right type of bicycle.
  2. Once the rental operator selects a bike for you, he will ask you to get on. If your toes are struggling to reach the ground, you need a smaller bike frame. When straddling the bike frame with your feet flat on the ground, there should be about 2 inches between the frame and your body. The rental operator will help select the proper size.
  3. Next he will adjust the seat and the handlebars so they are in a position that's both safe and comfortable.
  4. With the basic adjustments fine-tuned, the bicycle rental operator should then: check that the brakes are functioning properly; check the tire pressure and inflate as necessary; check that there are no loose parts; check that tire treads are not worn; check the gears; and check that the chain is lubricated and does not have any broken links.
  5. Before leaving, it's a good idea to take a short spin on the bike to ensure it works properly and that it's the right bike for you.

Safety Equipment

  1. Helmet. Even if the law does not require you to wear one, do so anyway. Statistics prove that properly-fitting helmets greatly reduce the chances of injury and death.
  2. Headlight and rear light. Both are important, especially if you plan to ride during dawn, dusk and evening hours.
  3. Reflectors. The more you have the better, if your goal is to avoid being hit. You might think that reflectors are not "cool" but coolness isn't going to matter if you're seriously injured.
  4. Reflective vest or safety triangle and leg bands. Even if you're no longer visible, the reflective coating will be for quite some time.
  5. Rearview mirror (or helmet mirror). You won't always be able to look to the side or behind. Mirrors help give you an all-around view.
  6. Gloves. They will help prevent fatigue that can result from holding the handlebars.
  7. Eye protection.
  8. Horn.

Safe Riding Practices for Bicycles

  1. Ride in single file with traffic, not against it.
  2. Know the various hand signals and when to use each.
  3. Wear reflective clothing, or florescent or neon colored clothes, especially at night to increase your chances of being noticed. If you don't have any such clothing, wear bright colors instead of dark.
  4. Make eye contact with an approaching driver. That is the only way to know for certain that the driver is aware of your presence.
  5. Slow down, even if you do not feel that you are the one who has to. Only ignorant (or arrogant) bicyclists play chicken with motorists.
  6. Never ride on the sidewalk. There you are practically invisible to motorists because their eyes are focused on the road, not the sidewalk.
  7. Always look behind you (back over your shoulder) before turning left, even if you have a mirror.
  8. Do not swerve into and out of traffic and try not to swerve when looking over your shoulder.
  9. Do not ride too closely to the curb. You won't have room to maneuver should you need to.
  10. Stay off roads with high volume, fast moving traffic.
  11. Do whatever you can to stay out of a car's way.
  12. Always ensure your bike is working properly before each ride.
  13. Dress properly. Closed toe shoes are better than open toe. Loose clothing can get caught in a bike's moving parts. Rubber bands or ankle clips can be attached to pant legs when tight-fitting clothing isn't available.
  14. In the evening ride only on roads that are brightly lit.
  15. Avoid wearing headphones while riding a bike because you won't be able to hear traffic.
  16. Always look for approaching obstacles or road hazards such as potholes, broken glass, train tracks, etc.
  17. Never ride double.