Tips and Information
City of El Paso Transportation Plan
On March 6th, 2012 the City of El Paso, Texas formally adopted "Plan El Paso, A Policy Guide for El Paso for the next 25 years and beyond." Included in Plan El Paso is a comprehensive study of bicycling issues in El Paso and recommendations to expand El Paso's existing bicycle network. The section of the plan dealing specifically with transportaiton and bicycling issues can be accessed here - City of El Paso Transportation Plan. The full Plan El Paso document is available on the Plan El Paso Website.
Tips for Safe Cycling
- Always wear a helmet. Don't let the Texas summer heat tempt you to ride without full protection for your brain. Consider investing in a helmet with extra vents for air flow and cooling properties. Learn more about proper helmet fit.
- Drink before you're thirsty. Dehydration is a leading cause of heat exhaustion. Keep hydrated to reduce your risk and improve your performance.
- Always do an ABCD Quick Check before you ride. Checking the air pressure, tire condition, brakes, crank, chain and quick releases before your ride will reduce the likelihood of getting stuck on the side of the road with a mechanical problem. Nobody wants to fix a flat in the middle of nowhere with the Texas sun beating down on their neck. View the bicycle inspection checklist.
- But just in case, learn how to fix a flat if you don't already know how.
- Go with the flow! Ride in the same direction with traffic and follow the other Texas Bicycle Laws.
- Wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sizzling summer rays.
- When riding on trails, follow the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Rules of the Trail: leave no trace; always yield to pedestrians, horses and slower moving traffic; and never scare animals. For more information on the Rules of the Trail, visit the IMBA website. Tips provided courtesy of Texas Bicycle Coalition www.biketexas.org
(The following article appeared in the Fall 2000 League of American Bicyclists)
Among all the hazards cyclists face, few are as ubiquitous as man's best friend. Wherever you ride, whatever you ride, whether on road or on dirt, at some point a dog will conclude you are a person non grata, or worse, decide a pound of your flesh might make a fine hors d'oeuvre. Here are some tips on keeping your calves and ankles whole.
Critical concern when being pursued:
- Make sure that you do not hit the dog; you will fall, injuring yourself and the dog.
- Keep calm and stay in control of your bike; if you panic you may lose control and fall.
- Remember, like a cheetah after a gazelle, even the fastest dogs lack endurance for long distance chases and will eventually give up as long as you keep moving.
- Discretion is the better part of valor, and avoiding injury to either party is the goal here. Both you and the dog are enjoying life and doing what comes naturally; you are just riding and he or she is just being a dog.
- Continue pedaling and ride past the dog; it is protecting its territory and should stop once you have exited its domain.
- Remember that some dogs bark and chase for fun with no intentions of attacking.
- The faster you and your feet are moving, the less likely you are of being bitten.
- Yelling at the dog will usually startle it, making it cease and desist long enough for you to safely escape.
- Spray water from your water bottle into the dog's face; it will get a drink and back off.
- Physical violence and pepper spray should only be used in extreme cases. In such circumstances it is advisable to keep your bike between your body and the dog.
Threatening as they may be, irate dogs can be more rational and are certainly less dangerous than enraged or careless humans driving oversized vehicles.
Thanks to Patty Chamales!
- Tuck your shoelaces into your shoes.
- If no chain guard, tie bottom of pants leg.
- Blue jeans are hard on the body - center seam rubs much.
- Bright shirts are best.
Water - Fluids
- Drink one large water bottle about every 12 miles.
- Left turn-point left with arm straight out.
- Right turn-point right with arm straight out.
- Slow down and stop - left arm pointing downward, open palm.
Verblalize to warn those around you:
- Say loudly what you are doing - "slowing", "stopping", "left turn", etc.
- Do your turn arm signal before the turn and have both hands on the handlebars for the turn.
- Speak loudly your left, right turn and especially the slowing and stopping intention.
- Point out and SPEAK road hazards - "hole", "gravel", "roadkill", "glass", etc.
- Speak loud and clear, relay warnings from ahead or behind you to keep fellow cyclists informed.
- Don't weave. Ride in a straight line.
- Stay on right side of road. Never cross middle line in the road.
- Even when riding side by side - stay to the right and don't even get close to center line.
- Before you get to the front rider's back wheel, say loudly, "On your left!"
- Pass only on the left.
- Ride about a bicycle length behind the bike in front of you.
Position of foot and legs as you pedal:
- Ball of foot (padded area behind toes) should be on the pedal.
- Knees should be pointed straight ahead or slightly inward.
- Keep your cadence (pedaling rate) steady.
- Stopping spinning for a bit only makes it harder to get going again.
- Find a comfortable cadence (pedaling rate) and keep with it.
- Shift one click (gear) to an easier gear.
- Don't spin (pedal) so fast that you look like a hamster on a wheel.
- Don't use pure force of muscles to pedal your bike.
- Shift only one click at a time and keep pedaling.
- Don't stand up and pedal except for hills or when you need to sprint to catch up.
- Don't brake suddenly-could cause a pile up.
- Brake front and back at the same time. Braking only in the front could cause an end over.
- Change positions on handlebars.
- Loosen grip, stretch your hands, change body position.
- Go over tracks at a right angle.
- Going over a track sideways or close could cause tire to slip and you to fall.
- Check to see how rough the terrain at the track is and adjust your speed.
- Left shifter controls the chain on the front-chain rings (gears). For flat terrain, use either the middle or the big ring.
- The smallest ring in front (granny gear) is used for hills or extreme wind.
- Right shifter controls the chain on the rear cogs. Change gears as you pedal to find a comfortable gear.
- Shift one click at a time - until you find a comfortable cadence (pedaling speed).
- Knobby tires - great for off road.
- Semi-slick - smooth down the center with some knobby on the outside-faster ride with same effort that's used with a knobby tire.
- Slick-smooth tire - increases speed 2+ mph over the knobby using the same effort.