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& Family Medicine
© The Alpine Bicycle
The Colorado Rough Riders believe in safe and responsible riding. Mixed
terrain travel can be dangerous. Ride within your means and remain very
visible on roads with cars. Please visit the safety resources to the
Bicycles & Health
Bicycle riding can be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Our current
reliance on automobile travel and television has encouraged an unhealthy
lifestyle for many kids and adults in America today. Changing our focus
to bicycle travel has the potential to raise the general level of heath
in the U.S.
An interesting read about bicycles and health is Pedalling
Health (pdf 420 kb), 1996 by Ian Robert, et al. This study by researchers
and doctors in Australia explores activity levels in modern society
and the health effects of riding a bicycle.
Bicycles, Pain & Injury
Sooner or later every cyclist experiences pain while biking. Repetitive
injury is common for bikers and usually means something is wrong. It
needs to fix fixed before it gets worse. A first step may be to visit
Sheldon Brown's web page on bicycle pain (link at right). But it's best
to see a doctor specializing in sports medicine like Dr. Tod Sweeney
of the Sports
& Family Medicine clinic here in Colorado's Front
Range and a Rough Rider Club member. Read Tod's article called Mountain
Bike Injuries (pdf 25 kb).
Getting a bike fit from an expert like George
Mullen at Peak Bikes in Downtown Golden is also a good idea. He
uses a special bike like contraption and computer to analyze a rider's
posture and power output. A poorly fitting bike can cause many problems.
General Alpine Safety
Mixed terrain cyclists visiting alpine environments should be well
versed in mountain safety. Learning from experienced mountaineers through
a friendship or club is probably best. Consider taking course by the
Colorado Mountain Club or the American
Alpine Club, both based here in Downtown Golden. Or find a seasoned
Rough Rider to ride with.
Below is an abbreviated
list of ColoradoRough
Rider mountain safety tips:
- Mountain weather
One thing you can count on in the mountains, the weather is likely to
change. A nice sunny morning may end turn to rain or even snow showers
later in the day, even in summer. Always be prepared for any weather
condition. Don't rely on skimpy road lycra when alpine touring, bring
true mountaineering technical clothing. In late winter and spring be
aware of potential avalanche danger. Yes, some mountain roads &
trails are subject to late spring water slab slides.
strikes after lunch
If you are riding at high altitude be aware that lightening strikes
more often on spring and summer afternoons. Consider scheduling the
higher altitude parts of your ride for morning.
Even those of us living at altitude can get altitude sickness. Know
the symptoms, watch yourself and fellow riders closely. Go low if
any trouble begins.
- Stay hydrated
Dehydration is one of the leading catalysts of altitude sickness and
general trouble when riding in the mountains. Bring lots of water and
possibly a water purification system. Don't drink naturally occuring
water, even near the source mountain water can have giardia or parasites.
- Protect from
The suns rays are more intense in the mountains. Thinner air filters
the suns rays less. Snow reflects rays intensifying exposure. Wear sunscreen
- Carry the 10
+ 8 essentials
It's a good idea to carry the classic 10 essentials of mountaineering
on any extended mixed terrain trip away from civilization supplemented
with the most useful bicycle tools. The 10 essentials are: Map, compass,
sunglasses & sunscreen, extra clothes, headlamp, first-aid supplies,
firestarter, matches, knife, extra food. The 10 essentials was orginally
developed in the 1930's by the Seattle based "The Mountaineers"
organization. For a good read get Mountaineering: The Freedom of the
Hills still the bible for mountaineers and still printed by The Mounaineers.
The 8 bike specific essentials to carry usually includes: Patch
kit, tire levers, pump, multi-tool or equivalent separate tools, cell
phone or satelite messenger (not exactly bike specific - but they weren't
invented in the 1930s), Identification/money/insurance card, lubricants,
spare parts. Spare parts carried depends on the duration of your ride
but may include spare tube, spare tire, brake pads, cables, spokes and
other likely needed items.
- Prepare for
Preparing for your adventure before starting out greatly minimizes risk.
Having the right equipment for the trip takes carefull planning and
can make a big difference in the success of your adventure. Inspecting
and ensuring your bike is well maintained can make the difference between
a fun outing and an epic.
- Always know
where you are
It sounds simple, but not getting lost means always knowing where you
are. It's very easy to start down a fun trail only to realize at some
point, you have no idea where the trail is leading. Always carry a map
& compass. GPS is great, but should not be relied on as the only
means of route finding (batteries wear out).
Overuse of Legs
CDC on Bike Saddles
Pain - Causes
Sheldon Brown on Pain
Bicycle Safety Resources
Bicycle Information Center
City of Golden Bike
Ken Kifer on Bike
Mountain Bike Injuries