Bikes are becoming more and more the best way to get around the city. They are not only sustainable, but they also allow to avoid traffic, the search for parking and, not less important, the nervous of endless queues. However, there are some little-known precautions that make cycling even more comfortable in the cities.
The perfect bicycle
Electric or pedal-assisted, foldable, city bikes. There are many types of bicycles and the only thing that really matters is to choose the perfect one for us. It all depends on different factors, how many kilometers we have to travel, the type of road, the use we make of it. For example, if you have to do many kilometers and you do not want to get tired, the bike with pedal assistance is the best choice. If, however, the journey also involves taking the train, the most convenient solution is the folding bike whose compactness is the main advantage.
In principle, city bikes are lighter than mountain bikes and have wheels with a wider diameter that allows a more aerodynamic position and, consequently, to go faster. As for the choice of frame, it is generally recommended the low frame when you move around the city because it allows you to easily and quickly get on the saddle during the many stops.
The location before the start
Once you have chosen the bike that suits you, it is good to place it in the most comfortable way possible and check that the tires are sufficiently swollen.
First, you have to choose the right seat position. In principle, the stretched-out leg should always remain slightly bent to ensure that it does not make a vacuum movement and therefore allow recovery. On the other hand, however, the knees must remain far apart. There are saddles of all kinds, the ideal is to go to a specialized store and try the most convenient for us. The choice of seats, in fact, depends not only on the type of use we make of the bike, but it mainly concerns the physical conformation of each.
As for the wheels, we recommend sturdy wheels and not thin tires. It is always good to check the tire pressure before leaving. But how to figure out how much to inflate a tire? The first indication is given by tire manufacturers indicating the maximum tire pressure. Inflating more than the maximum is risky, and not because the tire can explode, but because a tire too swollen loses grip and is more difficult to control. In general, the right pressure varies from seven to eight atmospheres. When it rains, it is preferable to deflate the tires of the middle atmosphere so that the tread touches the ground more and is more adherent.
Bell and lights
Bells and lights are mandatory according to the road code. If you are not equipped, it is mandatory to ride the bike by hand. In particular, the rear intermittent red light should be kept on even during the day. And it is advisable to buy a powerful front light to get noticed by cars. As doorbell and lights are mandatory by law, sanctions are provided for those who do not comply with the rules that reach up to 102 euros.
Clothing and helmet
The helmet is fundamental. For the moment, unlike in other European countries, in Italy the helmet is not mandatory for those who ride a bike, even for children under 14 years. Nevertheless, it remains of great importance to avoid serious consequences. Accidents, in fact, also happen with bikes and in these cases, it is always the cyclist who has the worst. So, we strongly recommend its use, especially for children.
Comfortable clothing is also important. In particular, the recommended feature is breathability. In winter, for example, merino wool is comfortable because it warms up a lot and it is light and transparent. Also useful is a rain jacket that you can comfortably have at hand by mounting a side bag to the bicycle.
Where to move? Cycle path.
The bike paths are useful to avoid traffic. Fiab has created an online map of the routes suitable for Verona bikes.
The highway code and some rules of good use
According to the road code, the bicycle is a real vehicle and therefore cyclists must respect all the signs, so stop at the stop sign and at the red light or give way, even to cars.
In addition, cyclists must proceed in a single row, never side by side because they could not only create obstacles to cars but also be a danger to vehicles attempting overtaking.
It is also forbidden to transport other people by bicycle, unless the vehicle is designed for this, except for the transport of children under eight years in the appropriate seats (front or rear).
Also, the use of the mobile phone is prohibited and you can run into fines up to 660 euros. The highway code permits the use of headphones, as for other vehicles, to answer calls. However, it is not recommended to ride a bike listening to music because not hearing the noise of cars can be dangerous and cause accidents.
It is also advisable to always maintain the safety distances.
Watch out for thefts
The danger of theft is always around the corner, how to defend yourself? First, the bicycle must be hooked into some fixed structure, but beware of bike racks. The most common mistake is to secure the front wheel by leaving the rest free. In this case it would be enough to loosen the hub to steal the chassis and front wheel. It is therefore advisable to attach to the rear wheel which is more complicated to remove due to the presence of the gearbox. The simplest thing is to tie the bike to a pole, especially when in the city, or to one of the parking bollards inverted U.
Another fundamental aspect is to carefully choose padlocks or chains. No system is 100% safe but of all the preferable one is the U-Lock, the U-shaped padlock that opens with a key but must be large enough to hug pole and bike. The chain is another secure system if it is not too long. Comma-coated cables with a padlock, generally in numerical combination, are the easiest to cut with a wire cutter.