The Expert’s Guide to Avoiding Spills, Potholes, and Pitfalls
by: Gianna Bellofatto

After you read this, you will know exactly how to prevent yourself from falling off your bicycle, the edge of the earth, and your couch. Because that is precisely where you’ll stay planted once you finish reading.

Avoiding Spills: The best form for not falling off your bicycle is to keep your bike in the garage at all times. It’s okay to inflate the tires once in a while, but be careful the bike doesn’t start to roll away from you. Bicycles have a tendency to move forward. Once you learn the art and science of keeping a bike stationary you will most certainly not experience any spills. Oops! Watch out for that paint can your spouse left next to your bike.

Avoiding Potholes: Potholes are those annoying craters that drivers typically dodge while speeding down the avenue. They come in all sizes and shapes and are literally “black holes” waiting to snatch-up unsuspecting cyclists. Worse, an encounter with a pothole may result in a very serious injury. But typically the smaller ones just give the rider a jolt and remind the cyclist to focus on the road. Can they be avoided? Totally. Just don’t ride.

Avoiding Pitfalls: The pitfalls of cycling are many and can easily be avoided. Do not ride during inclement weather. Do not ride without a helmet. Do not ride when you’re tired. Do not ride before eating. Do not ride in the dark. Do not ride between meals. Do not ride while reading. Just don’t ride.

Avoiding Everything: Of course, the solution to avoiding all the bad things that may happen to cyclists is not to own a bicycle nor be a cyclist.

A neighbor of mine told me she was thinking about riding her bike again. She was full of questions about where I ride and what pointers I could give her. Riding her bike was something she hadn’t done in over 25 years, so she approached it with trepidation. Falling was the first fear she expressed. Then, there was the traffic. She went on to flat tires, dogs, wind resistance, and those darn hills all over the place. I was exhausted just listening to her.

How could I convey to her that riding is fun? Sure it can be dangerous—and so can just talking to her neighbor. I thought for a moment, then said, “If you want to avoid falling, just don’t ride. But if you want the thrill of the wind in your face and the beauty of gliding past a reservoir, you’ll have to get off the couch and on the saddle.”

It’s similar fear parents have as their children venture into the world. Parents want to protect them from everything. If children become so fearful of every possible bad situation it will also prevent them from experiencing all the wonderful things as well.

I am happy to report that my neighbor now rides regularly. Her approach to biking is sensible. She avoids peak traffic times, wet roads, and only rides during daylight hours. She also wears her helmet—and a smile! Life is a Bike so get out and live it.