Sunday, 6 October 2013

Leaves, Shadows, Winds and Wet Roads

Just a quick note about the Logo below.  Part of why I started this blog was to get the word out about cycling safety in a down to earth way that can be easily understood by those of us “down in the mud”, that ride the streets and path ways. I ride, I teach and I believe in safety.

The Logo is that of my company – Tri M Sports & Consulting Ltd, I have the trade name CANBIKEBC, and that is the official logo.
It’s all about the message and the branding is just as important to give credibility to what I want to say.
My Logo will be now be on the postings from here on out. 

I can be reached at

  This past week-end here on the West Coast the first Environment CANADA Storm/Weather Warnings were issued.  Heavy rain, up to 60 mm and winds up to 90 KPH.  Just another lovely fall day!?!?  This is why they sometimes refer to us as the Wet Coast.
I have the Environment Canada weather page book marked on my computer, and in particular the satellite photos.  It is much easier to watch the storm tracks with that.
  Another aspect to safe cycling is also planning where you are going to ride and how you are going to get there.  Knowing the weather along your route and at your destination is a first step to being safe when and where you ride.
  I have started with this for a reason.  We here on the West coast have just come to the end of a great summer.  The leaves, as happens in the Fall, are turning colour and dropping. The municipal governments across the lower mainland have worked very hard at planting trees along each and every street.  With trees come leaves and with Fall comes leaves dropping. Those leaves now become a mush on the streets.  The expected heavy winds will accelerate that process.
  As the leaves drop they will stick to the wet roads, and that can make the roads much more slippery than they were.  The leaves start to rot, as leaves are want to do, they mix with the moisture and oils and smag on the roads and you have a slippery mess that is worse than loose gravel and more akin to ice.
  As the leaves are falling from the trees, they cause the sun to come through it different patterns, if at all.  This is where the shadows along the roads come into the equation.  Depending on the lighting conditions some spots are lighter than others, some are darker than others.  The distance can be just inches to feet, and each tree/over hang is different.  Now let’s complicate this, as can quickly happen in real life.
  Those same shaded spots that are here today, were different yesterday and will be different again tomorrow.
When you add the rain, wind and general lousy driving and riding conditions, this can be a recipe for problems.
It becomes very hard for drivers to see cyclists coming out of the shadows, unless the cyclists are using their lights.

  I have mentioned in this column on more than one occasion that I firmly believe in cyclists using lights at any time of the day or night.  I have also mentioned that I believe in very bright coloured riding vests. 
  You can get cycling rain jackets that are in very bright colours, such as bright green/and yellow.  You can always add reflective ties around the bottom of your legs, something that has the ability to move about.  That just might give a driver that doesn’t see you the cyclist, but he might catch the glint of something moving, that being the reflective strap.

The eye sees much more than we realise, so this just might be the piece the driver sees and reacts to, and gives a safe distance around the cyclist.

With the onslaught of the fall weather comes the shorter days and longer nights. The leaves wind and combine to clean out the tress over the next couple of months. Once you know to be cognisant of this added feature/hazard, then you will become a safer better cyclist.
  Bike paths and bike lanes are not immune to this. I fact they are likely to suffer this same fate with more leaf build-up as the paths and bike lanes are generally much closer to the trees and dropping leaves.  The problem on the bike paths and bike lanes there isn’t the volume of traffic to assist Mother Nature to break down the leaves, leaving them on the riding surface much longer than they would be on the roads.

Again here is where the four core CAN-BIKE values of
              Manoeuvrability, Visibility, Predictability and Communication

Also known as   See, Be Seen,  Be Heard,  Be Predictable

 I believe words to ride by, and will someday could likely save your life when cycling

Safety is everyone’s responsibility when you are out riding.  Be it on the roads or paths or lanes.
Lights really should be used at anytime of the day and night, when riding.
Wearing a very bright coloured reflective vest can only enhance your chances of having an uneventful ride and getting back safe.
Helmets really should be a standard piece of your cycling apparel.  If you are Avon guard and want to attach your light to your helmet, then go ahead and make the bold safety statement !!

Watching where you ride and the road surface will allow you a much better chance to stay up on your bike and not checking out the rotting leaves at a much closer view than you had planned.


Thanks for stopping by
   Safe Ride Home



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