Look ahead a good distance to anticipate trouble. You can detect a number of problems if you watch about 20 to 25 yards (60 to 75 feet, or the length of a swimming pool) ahead of you. Although you're looking about 25 yards ahead, be aware of items in your peripheral vision. A few examples include cars crossing the centerline down the road, dogs running toward you, trucks at intersections ahead of you or kids playing ball.
• When heading into aid stations take notice of people in front, on the side and in back of you. No matter how bad you have to go or how hungry you are, ignore the length of the port-a-potty line and the food on the aid station tables until you are safely off the bike. When exiting the aid station, be alert for other riders coming in or trying to get out.
• Carry identification with you, including emergency contact numbers. If something should happen during the ride, it's important that emergency personnel can contact your family or friends.
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• Obey traffic laws. In most organized bike tours, the roads are not closed to traffic. If you break the law—such as crossing a double yellow line or blasting through a red light—don't act surprised if you get a ticket.
• If a volunteer waves you through an intersection, assess the safety of the situation yourself. Look in all directions for cars. Don't assume cars will stop for a volunteer standing in the road. It's better to be safe than sorry.
• At all times, ride as far to the right as possible. When riding two abreast within a wide shoulder, be sure there is enough room for faster riders to get past both of you without forcing them into the lane of traffic. Ride single file if there isn't enough room for others to get past you while riding two abreast.
Do not ride three to five abreast, thus blocking other cyclists and motorists. Having paid good money to participate doesn't give you the right to put others in danger, hold up traffic for five miles or force drivers into oncoming traffic. Be courteous to other cyclists and motorists and they will more than likely reciprocate.
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• Before you pass another cyclist, be sure to look behind you before pulling out and around them. Pulling into oncoming riders or an oncoming car is not a good situation for anyone involved.
• If you participate in an organized ride, please pay for the event and don't be a scab. Ride organizers spend considerable time and expense to put on a high-quality ride. There are endless meetings with road authorities, police, ambulance and volunteer aid-station groups in addition to expenses associated with renting tables and port-a-potties, T-shirts, food, drink and numerous other features.
For your own benefit, be sure you have adequately prepared for your tour. Once the training is complete, the ride will be more enjoyable if everyone remains safe and courteous.
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