Stop me! Oh-O-Ho! Stop me!
Happy Friday and The Smiths Reference Day! Just like the valley CicLAvia, I’m on a run talking all things LA River Ride.
Like any hack writer, I’d like to try to impress you with my wit, charm and gene se qua, but I’m out of creative angles.
At this point, I’m here to talk straight dope. there are certain rules you should follow not just to keep the LA River Ride safe, but fun as well:
- Drink lots of water. For those on the longer rides, you might get greedy at the start, wanting to put some distance before pulling over. This tactic works only if you want to remain parched for the second half of the ride. Hydrate often early and avoid feeling cramped and lightheaded later.
- Be careful near the pit stops. A lot of riders will be coming in an out of these areas and there’s enough cyclists that it might jam up the whole bike path. Be careful especially around the Maywood stop as you come under the Slauson Bridge.
- Hold your line. I don’t know what percentage of riders are inexperienced out there, but it only takes one to cause a crash. Bike in a straight line and do not weave. Even if you see a hazard until you know your blind spots are clear.
Just because you are on a bike path doesn’t mean it’s safer. Besides over two thousand cyclists out on the course, you’ll encounter a number of others who are out on their own and some even walking. Your alertness should almost be even higher.
- Be patient. You’ll be on the streets for part of the time. Sometimes, you won’t have the right of way. Everyone, whether you’re a cyclist, driver, walker or equestrian enthusiast gets antsy waiting their turn. Stay back. It’s worth a few seconds to avoid a trip to the hospital.
- Study the route maps. The course will be well marked and you can always follow other riders, but it can only take a temporary loss of attention to miss a turn. Upload the route to your Garmin, but at the worst, know generally where you’re supposed to go. If you hit Laguna Beach, you’ve gone too far.
- Sound out! If you’re passing another rider, let them know. A typical, “on your right” will get another cyclist’s attention, but do it from a fair enough distance back not to scare them.
- Make friends. If you’re new to cycling, you’ll find that it’s quite a social endeavor. I can’t explain the dynamics, but it’s similar to hitting a single and chatting with the first baseman. It’s what you’re supposed to do.
- Don’t Go to Mt. Baldy. The river splits off to the Rio Hondo about twelve miles north of Long Beach. It’s well marked, but time and again, people have their heads down and you’re on the way to the San Gabriels. Just stay aware.
- Trigger ‘dem lights. A lot of cyclists don’t know this, but when you come to a red light with one of those circles carved into the pavement, don’t stand in the center. Align your wheel along the edge of it. The circle is triggered by magnetic force(will not work with carbon wheels).
- It’s a ride, not a race. Don’t get sucked into chasing others. Stay in a group. Work together. Suffer less.
Yes, there are dozens of other things to know, but bottom line have fun on Sunday, listen to the course marshals and be a mensch to the other cyclists. Enjoy!