Tips for Safer Cycling

White Lightning Bike Maintenance Pros Warn Riders to Safe on Bike to Work Day 2012 and All Season Long

Cycling season is here. Many people dusting off their bikes for the year's first ride may not know that some simple maintenance can keep them safer. 

"It's a great time for cyclists to re-educate themselves and learn more about the activity," said Hank Krause, owner of White Lightning, a company that manufactures bike maintenance supplies. "Accidents send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. Most can be prevented by learning basic bike safety and proper maintenance."

  • Safety Basics
    Always wear a helmet. If riding in lower light, apply reflective decals to bike parts. Invest in a bike light to help with visibility.
  • Rules of the Road
    Never ride against traffic. It confuses drivers and disrupts normal traffic patterns making it three times as dangerous as riding with traffic.
  • Check Brake Performance
    Use sandpaper to remove glaze from brake pads. Glazed or hardened brake pads won't provide enough stopping power. If pads show significant wear, replace them. Keep wheel rims clean to give brakes a surface to latch onto.
  • Clean & Lube the Chain
    Regularly use a cleaner and lubricant specifically formulated for bikes. Other products can attract dirt. Grit and grime will wear down bike chains, possibly causing them to fail. Dry-wax lubricants prevent chains from leaving greasy marks on clothes or skin. Lubricate chains every few weeks when used regularly and after wet weather rides.
  • Tires
    Maintain proper tire pressure, which is usually printed on the sidewall. Underinflated tires are more susceptible to flats. They also affect steering and braking.
  • Protect the Bike Frame
    Keep the bike frame from rusting and wearing down, with a bike-specific wash that cleans and protects delicate topcoats and frame materials. Grime on a bike's frame can erode components and cause them to fail. Sweat eats away the finish.

"If you regularly clean your bike frame, de-gunk the gears and lube-up the chain, your bike will be safer, it will last longer and it will shift and pedal more easily," says Krause. Learn more at: