It’s apparently “do construction on every road simultaneously” season in Orange County, at least around my neck of the woods.  Which wouldn’t be a problem if the construction projects weren’t scheduled to last until 2014 (I’m looking at you Sand Canyon grade re-alignment).

 So, if we’re determined to get out and ride our bikes, what are the best strategies for staying safe?
Be Predictable
Handle your bid in an assertive and sure manner.  Signal all turns, lane changes and stops (use hand signals).  Also, travel in ways cars are used to seeing other traffic travel.  Stay to the right (unless you’re taking a lane – more on that in a minute), ride with traffic – NEVER against it (“bike salmon-ing is a quick way to die”), don’t weave between cars, stop at signals and signs. All common sense stuff.
Take the Lane
California Vehicle Code Section 21202 states that “When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side”.  If you find yourself in a cone-zone with no shoulder, signal your intent and take the lane.  As soon as it is safe for you o move to the right again, do so, but don’t feel pressure if you’re holding up traffic.  It’s your right to do so.
 
Be Visible
I highly recommend using a flashing bike light on the front and back of your bike day or night.  For the front, use a white light, preferably 100 lumens or more.  On the back use a red light such as the planet bike super flash.
 
 
These tips should help you during your rides.  There’s no substitute for solid bike handling skills and awareness,  stay focused and practice emergency and evasive bike handling skills before you hit the roads, especially if you’re pulling your child(ren) in a trailer.
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We have had some gloomy days this past week here in SoCal, which honestly makes me want to curl up with a warm cup of tea and a good book on the couch. Reality check… I have a three-year-old daughter and a 100-pound lab that make that vision nearly impossible. But it’s alright, being a Colorado native, I grew up knowing and loving most of mother nature’s elements (wind would be the exception). I am grateful to live in a temperate climate to enjoy almost year round outdoor activities; rain definitely won’t keep my family inside!

Remember jumping in puddles? Why does that just have to be a memory? My daughter and I grab our rain boots and jackets and take the dog on a puddle hunt. Yes, we all need a warm bath/shower afterwards, but it’s totally worth it when we’re breathless running from puddle to puddle. Trust me, when it comes to running, I need as much motivation and distraction as possible. If there isn’t a margarita on the line this time, at least I enjoyed some quality kid time with a decent running work out!

Grab your mountain bike when there is a break in the light drizzle that fell earlier in the day and enjoy the tackiness of the dirt. When the rain is light, the dirt gets slightly tacky, which helps improve your lines; it’s honestly my favorite way to ride. If the rain picks up into more than a drizzle, stay off the trails though. Once the dirt turns into mud, all your accomplishing is rutting out trail and creating erosion to the surrounding greenery.  That just leaves a headache for following riders once the ground dry’s out and can result in closing access to Mountain Bikers if the trails sustain damage.

Paddle out and enjoy yoga on a SUP board. What’s more relaxing than being on calm water, listening to rain, and performing yoga? Granted you need to acquire SUP skills and yoga skills to actually make this relaxing, but honestly, just being on the water and sitting on the board is relaxing and will help you clear your head!

Go for a hike. You won’t believe how fresh your surroundings smell and your senses will be invigorated. Find a good spot that gives you an amazing view at the top.

So, stay off the couch and get moving, because there is plenty to do outside when it’s raining! Just make sure you have the appropriate clothing to stay [mostly] dry.

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