Important Safety Tips for Commuting by Bike

? Find a Fender: Traditional fenders that follow the curve of the wheel shield you better than the flat kind that extend straight out from your seat post, but they won't fit on many mountain bike models.

? Be Wary: Piles of leaves and puddles are tons of fun by day, but they are killers in the dark. Even with a good light, you probably can't see well enough to accurately gauge the depth of puddles. Morning or evening light can screw up your depth perception, too, so give curbs and other hazards an extra dose of caution. If temps are around the freezing level, what looks like a thin puddle may be black ice.

More: How to Handle a Bike Accident with a Vehicle

Exposed aggregate is found on many bike paths in urban areas. In addition to being bumpy, this stuff becomes extremely slick after extended wet periods. Approach with caution.

Traffic danger increases in winter due to lower visibility and the fact that drivers are more focused on road conditions. Don't be a hood ornament.

? Know When to Say When: Sometimes Mother Nature wins. Nasty conditions can be a fun challenge, but too much of a good thing means you should take the bus.

? Clean Your Ride: In the Old West, no cowboy worth his salt would go inside without making sure his horse was well cared-for. Treat your wheels the same way. Wipe down your bike or the wheels on your skates. If you can wipe off the bike chain, do it, and then lubricate after it is dry. Pay special attention to brake pads and cables.

More: Bike to Work: Tips for Your First Commute

? Clean Yourself: If you turn your commute into more than a pleasure cruise, you'll have to deal with the funk factor when you get to the office. The first step is not to overdo it with the raingear. You should be fairly cool when you leave, or you'll be really sweaty when you get to work.

Take a change of clothes. And make sure they are stowed in a waterproof pack, a plastic bag, or rain-proof panniers.

Sweat doesn't get smelly until it sits on your body for a while. If you shower before leaving and wipe yourself down when you arrive, you'll be OK.

More: How to Combine Bike Commuting and Interval Training

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