Kicking off the New Season
by Bob Zogg
Spring marks the time when many of us pull our bikes out of storage and once again hit the roadways—a good time to reflect upon how we can demonstrate and promote the common values that tie us together as a club. Arguably, the most important of our common values are captured in the CRW Safety Policy:
“The CRW promotes safe, courteous, and lawful cycling practices. CRW members are expected to cycle in a safe, courteous, and lawful manner when participating in CRW rides, and to encourage the same among fellow members and CRW guests.”
Read on for some suggestions on how you can make a difference. We’ll present additional suggestions next month.
Encouraging Others: Promoting safe, courteous, and lawful cycling is not only the responsibility of the CRW Board of Directors, Ride Leaders, or Safety Committee—it is your responsibility as a CRW member, too. “Promotion” sounds simple, yet can be hard to execute. With practice, you’ll become more effective. Try this:
- Set at good example through your own behavior
- Look for ways to interject into conversations your personal convictions about safe, courteous, and lawful cycling
- Provide constructive feedback, while remaining positive and polite
- Accept with grace any feedback you may receive, and offer a “thank you” for the reminder
- Keep at it. At times, it can be hard to appreciate the incremental value of your efforts.
Staggering Ride Starts: When a CRW ride attracts 30 to 40 or more participants, the Ride Leader may stagger the ride start. Generally, this means dividing riders into three groups based on expected riding speed and then releasing each group, separated by a minimum of 90 seconds. Staggering a ride start lowers our impact on traffic flow while making the ride safer and more enjoyable for participants. As any Ride Leader can attest, successfully staggering a ride start is no easy task. Please do your part:
- Listen attentively to the ride talk so that you hear all directions. Encourage fellow riders to gather closely and stop talking so that all can hear.
- Pick a group and stick with your choice
- Wait for the Ride Leader to release your group. Starting out between groups can confuse other cyclists and disrupt the process.
Bright Clothing: Always wear a bright or light-colored jersey. Dark colors (including most reds) are much less visible, even on sunny days.
ID: Carry identification, along with health-insurance and emergency-contact information. For convenience, carry photocopies of these items in a plastic bag. Carry ID on your person, not in your bike bag. If you are taken to the hospital, your bike bag will not be with you.
Bio Breaks: Use public restrooms or CRW porta-potties (provided on CRW century rides) whenever possible. Otherwise, pick a secluded, wooded area. Avoid grassy areas that may harbor deer ticks that can transmit Lyme disease. Also, learn to recognize and avoid poison ivy (photos at: http://www.poison-ivy.org). Be considerate of restaurants, stores, and other private establishments, especially those that host our lunch stops. Please be a paying customer if you intend to use their facilities.
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