by Derek Roach, guest blogger
San Diego’s diverse terrain and favored climate makes it an ideal place for bicyclists to ride. A majority of San Diego’s cyclists take advantage of the designated lanes within the inner city. However, not too far from the urban setting – East County to be specific - riders can cruise the dirt trails and paths for a ride in the great, yet unpredictable outdoors. As beautiful and serene as this environment can be, you can be introduced to potentially harmful obstacles or events that may not be found within the city.
To prepare for these unforeseen elements when out riding in the countryside , its best to apply the following procedures to avoid injury or discomfort while enjoying the wind on your face, the hum of your tire, and the splendor of East County San Diego.
Bike Safety Tips To Implement When In Rural Areas
This is not a reminder to wear your helmet or keep your bicycle mechanics in top condition (you should already be doing this). These precautions are more specific to riding on San Diego roads and trails out east. Also, I am involved in removing bees so there is some emphasis on protection from bees and other insects – honeybees can create quite the ruckus.
Have A Bike Buddy
Venturing out to the adventurous trails in East County is nice change in scenery from the usual concrete jungle, but travelling too far from civilization introduces lots of the unknown. Riding with a partner will offer quick assistance if injured and keep you company while cruising – besides, being in the middle of nowhere can get lonely. But if you do decide to be a lone rider, at the very least tell a friend or family member of your route.
Carry An Epinephrine Injector
This is especially applicable when riding in nature, although you can encounter stinging insects and develop an allergic reaction in urban environments as well. If you are allergic or not sure it’s best to keep this handy medication dispenser on-hand to prevent severe allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock. The chemical inside an epinephrine injection helps narrow blood vessels and keep air passage ways open during an allergic reaction.
Plan Your Route
It’s easy to lose track of the distance travelled while touring America’s Finest City and its surrounding areas. The sights and sounds of the city or the serenity found towards inland territories may have you out riding longer than expected. Unless you’re headed in a circular route, remember the miles you trek out, are the same miles you have to trek in. So before heading out, set a designated route and stick closely to that path. Not only will it keep you from getting turned around, but help you with finding news areas to explore.
Wear Your White Or Light Threads
Save the tye-dye or neon-colored shirts for the next racing event. Wearing light-colored clothes will not only help you stay cool in the few months of the year that it’s actually hot in San Diego, it will keep you from attracting bugs that have you confused for something else. Plus, no one wants a bug trapped between their skin and garments.
Use Caution Going Downhill
San Diego is far from flat, coastal and inland terrain alike will have some elevated spots. So when descending steep trenches, follow this procedure to avoid skidding: stand on pedals, stay low, lean back to transfer weight to the rear of the bicycle, and apply brakes with more pressure on the back brake. Try not to use your breaks in gravel or loose dirt. Putting the center of gravity towards the rear of the bike will allow you to get down hills safely.
Correctly Removing & Treating Stings
In the unlikely case – if you followed the above tips – you are stung by a bee, there is a four-step process to get you back on your bike quickly. Here is a visual guide to demonstrate how to properly treat a bee sting. It’s understandable that you have limited supplies while out riding, so you can use substitutes in place of the items mentioned in the guide.
For example, you can clean the affected area with some water from your water bottle. After cleaning, apply the side of the water bottle to the sting to reduce any swelling. Most importantly, remember to scrape the stinger off immediately with a flat edge – fingernails work fine.
No matter where you’re riding or for what purpose, have these tips in mind to create a safe and memorable biking experience with all San Diego County has to offer. Just remember, always be attentive, prepared, and ride with a partner – then you should be just fine.