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Margaret Boylan is the Gear Up Girl SA ambassador and gives her run down of quick tips to get ready for an organised bike ride. 

1. What is your current level of health & fitness?

If you have a relatively good level of fitness right now, no serious pre-existing injuries or health issues & have an active life off the bike right now then you’re got a good base to train from already, even if you’ve not done much yet!

If you’ve not regularly active right now (and/or have a serious pre-existing injury or health issue) & you’ve not been able to start your training yet, or not done much I recommend you talk with your GP about your Gear Up Girl ride plans. Aim to get their advice on things to watch out for or focus on as you train for & participate in the ride. Alternatively, choose one of the smaller rides so you don’t push yourself to the limit.

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2. Is your bike mechanically fit right now?

If you have been riding your bike regularly at least a few times a week & not having any problems then you could use the information in the Bike SA document “Is your bike fit” to check your bike & answer this question yourself.

You could also get some hands on experience in dealing with things that must be right on your bike for your safety & enjoyment by going along to a Bike SA Bike Care course. There is one on 25th October, which is good timing ahead of Gear Up Girl SA.

If you haven’t ridden your bike for quite a while, or if you are having problems of a mechanical kind when you ride, now is the time ask your bike shop to check your bike & make any changes required. The timing is important as, depending on what the changes are, they may take you a bit of time to get used to.

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3. Does your bike fit you well?

As we get fitter & we spend more time on our bikes, our shape and our riding position can change. Now is a great time to check your bike fit.

If you are feeling good on your bike in your training right now use the information in the Bike SA document “Preparation” to ensure you are in your optimum riding position. If you have any bike fit niggles or problems at the moment sort them out before your Gear Up Girl SA ride. You could ask your bike shop for help or see a professional bike fitter. The timing for doing this is important too as, depending on any bike fit changes required, they also may take a bit of time to get used to.

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4. Do you have the right kit for your safety, to fix things as you ride & to enjoy the ride?

Your Helmet

Now is a good time to check your helmet to make sure it is fit to ride in still. I feel strongly about this as I am alive & able to talk with you today because I wear a good quality & well fitted helmet … so you’ve probably heard it before but I’ll say it again 🙂

– wear a helmet that meets the Australian Standard – look for a sticker inside with AS/NZS 2063 on it.
– wear it correctly fitted to your head – 3 points to watch are
(1) allow 2 fingers width between your eyebrows & helmet
(2) have the straps join in a “V” just below your ears
(3) allow 2 fingers between your helmet strap & your chin.
– replace your helmet if
(1) it’s been dropped onto a hard surface or involved in a crash, or been with you for a long time (more than a year or two) and /or has been out in the sun or in a hot car a lot.
(2) you see any cracks or dents in the surface or foam
(3) the straps look worn or are frayed.

Have a look at mac.sa.gov.au for some great general information about safety.
See Roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au under the “helmets & safety gear” section for
some good pics about fitting your helmet as well lots of great information too.

Other Kit

A great place to start is:
– the Bike SA document “Secret Womens Business“.
– this USA commercial site for a checklist of the basics & some good information.
https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bike-gear-essentials.html

Margaret was drawn to cycling at a later stage in life, switching from horse riding to cycling in 2005.  She is now a Cycling Coach and Personal Trainer & has set up First Principles Fitness and Coaching. You can join Margaret for Gear Up Girl SA on Sunday 20 November. 

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