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Safety Tips

General

Beside being a low impact sport with great cardiovascular benefits, cycling is also an excellent way to explore the environment and see Atyrau from a different perspective and breathe some fresh air. Lots of people bring cameras and you will notice from the many articles that there are lots of nice spots, most of them not too far away, and many types of animals. Feel free to explore outside of the city by yourselves, but DO go out with at least 2 and preferably 3 riders if you go offroad, and bring at least one mobile phone.

Equipment

Always wear your safety helmet. Your cycling friends and family will thank you for that. Be sure to bring more water than you think you will need. A general rule is 1 liter for every hour in the summertime, and maybe  a bit less in the spring and fall, and a lot of the rides take at least 2 hours. (exceptions are the evening rides and the morning rides) As a good habit and certainly on rides that take you off road and/or far from home please always carry a spare tube, tire levers, and a pump as a minimum as else you may hinder the ability of your group to continue and finish the ride. Your bike is important, so keep it in good shape, wash it down regularly and inspect it for damage. After washing or hosing down with water, please ensure you use some oil or WD40 to get rid of moisture and keep the mechanical parts greased and protected.

Sunscreen and Mosquito repellent

Especially from end of April to September, there are quite some mosquitoes or horseflies and you should apply repellent before the ride and/or bring some extra (spray) with you. With the temperatures and the sunshine we are subjected to in that same period, you should use sunscreen, also for the children on the family rides. 2 hours on a bike without any shade does not do your skin any favours.

Biking Etiquette

You should limit using the boulevards along the river, but if you do you should always monitor your speed due to interaction with pedestrians. There have been some recent reports of near misses and some incidents (not involving our group). One had a concussion as result, when a race biker ran into a pedestrian, another involved a pram that was knocked over. In short, please use your common sense, especially when other traffic is involved.

Greeting pedestrians

Greeting pedestrians while riding is fun and may help build a positive sense of community.
However be aware that especially greeting children along main roads in town may lead to dangerous situations: Children like to come close to the road and extend their hands horizontally, so that the rider can brush the hand of the child. DO NOT do this, this can be very dangerous, for both child as well as rider by exposing them both unnecessary to other riders and/or cars. This behavior should be strongly discouraged. Just wave with your opposing hand vertically up in the air and all is fine!

Riding with GPS

Riding in Atyrau beyond the tracks close to town puts you at risk.  Although we stress riding in a self-supported mode there are inherent benefits to riding in larger groups for safety and support in case of major failures of mind, body, machine or electronics.  First time riders find the terrain flat, featureless and very disorienting.  Losing line of sight with the major skyline features of Atyrau can result in becoming totally lost.  Even experienced riders can get disoriented when old landmarks are altered or removed and tracks covered over with snow or dust.  Know your limits, use an abundance of caution and familiarize yourself with the terrain and all the ways it can change with the seasons before setting off on new and exciting adventures.

Cycling in groups

Here are some simple tips to make every cycling trip a fun and safe excursion:

  1. Communicate: Call out potholes, cracks, road kill, parked cars, stray animals and other obstacles. Use hand signals to point out road hazards. Some of the commonly used commands are: “Car back”, “Car up”, “Gravel/Sand/Glass”, “Crack”, “Slowing”, and “Stopping”. 
    Note:
     when hearing other riders call out an obstacle or warn about coming vehicles make sure you pass it on and continue the call until riders down the line from you acknowledge the communication by repeating it.
  2. Be seen and predictable:
    Wear bright color cycling outfit and use light if riding in the dark. Hold a straight line and don’t weave in and out of traffic. Don’t make sudden movements. In Atyrau it is important to ride single file on the normal roads due to the narrow road and limited shoulder.
  3. Be courteous:
    Be courteous to both motorists and other cyclists. Stay to the right and give sufficient space for passing cyclists and motorists. Faster cyclists should always give advance warning “On your left” and pass with as much space as possible. Yield to ALL motorized vehicles at intersections, and remember that no one is left behind in all group rides in Atyrau.
  4. Beware of your surrounding:
    Even on roads where traffic is light accidents can still happen. Always give appropriate hand signals when making turns, and check for motorized vehicle traffic from both directions before executing the turn. You need to be vigilant and stay alert especially when riding by yourself.
  5. Avoid confrontation:
    Clear away from trouble and call for help if challenged/ provoked/threatened when on the bike.
  6. Cycling is a fun exercise.
    You should go home sweaty and happy, not with bruises and scratches.

 

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