Proper biking safety, helmet precautions and rules of the road before you venture out on two wheels. Advice for safe riding.
Biking is an exhilarating sport, great exercise and fun for the entire family. If you know the rules of the road, you can enjoy many years of biking safely and pass responsible biking etiquette down to your children as well. Following the rules of safety will prevent accidents and injury to you, your bike and other bikers on the road. A bike is a vehicle and it is your responsibility to ride it as safely as you would drive a car, using all of the proper equipment necessary and respecting others on the road as well as pedestrians.
Before you even get on your bike, be sure it is properly equipped and in good working order. Be sure your tires are inflated properly, your brakes are working correctly and that you have reflectors on the front, back and sides of your bike. Make sure your seat is tightened as well as the bolts holding on the tires and pedals.
Your equipment is also very important. Never ride a bike without a helmet. In most states, helmets are the law and you can receive a summons if you are caught without one. The most severe and most preventable biking injuries are those to the head and there is no reason not to wear a helmet. Helmets are quite inexpensive and are an essential safety element, don?t skimp on them. Make sure your helmet fits well and is in good condition. Your helmet will make you more visible to drivers and other bikers as well as protect your head in the event of a fall. You can almost guarantee that you will crash at least once while riding a bike and if you do fall, you should replace your helmet. Be sure you wear close fitting pants or biking shorts, never ride a bike with loose pants that can become caught in the chain of your bike. If you are riding at night wear clothing with reflective strips on it. You can purchase a roll of reflective tape at your local sporting goods store and make any outfit reflect.
While you are riding, there are some rules of the road that you should know to observe proper etiquette in regards to motor vehicles and other bikers. Always ride with the traffic, never against it. While you should never ride in the middle of the road, you should ride near the lane, not too far into the shoulder where you may not be seen. You must always use hand signals to indicate your turns and you should always give the right of way to any pedestrians. Observe all traffic signals and remain a safe distance from any cars and bikes in front of you. Never dart in and out of traffic and never pull out from between two parked cars. Since you don?t have a horn, it is impossible to warn other drivers of your presence, so stay a safe distance away from cars and make sure drivers see you before you pull out in front of them.
If you keep your bike and helmet in good condition, they can last for years and so can you if you follow proper safety precautions!
Orienteering, the sport of compass and map started in Scandanavia is popular around the world and is now gaining adherents in the United States.
The sport of orienteering began as a military training exercise in the Scandinavian forests in the last decades of the 19th century. The term "orienteering" comes from the military practice of orientation, finding ones way through unfamiliar ground with a "chart and compass."
The Tjalve Sports Club, based outside Oslo, Norway, staged the first public orienteering meet on October 31, 1897. Thereafter orienteering clubs began appearing sporadically across Norway and Sweden.
Major Ernst Killander is recognized as the "Father of Orienteering." As President of the Stockholm (Sweden) Amateur Athletic Association in 1918, Killander noticed a declining interest in track and field among Sweden's youth. To stimulate interest in running outside a track environment he integrated the orienteering principles of map and compass with a cross-country competition. In blending the mental agility and navigational skills addition to the strength, stamina and running ability of cross-country, Killander created modern orienteering.
Scandinavians became skilled orienteers, so much so that Adolph Hitler banned the sport during German occupation of Norway in World War II because he feared their extensive knowledge of Norway's wilderness terrain would be assisting the resistant movements. After the war, orienteering spread to other European countries and the International Orienteering Federation was formed in 1961. The next year the first European Championships were held in Norway.
World championships, held every two years, began in 1966. In 1988, orienteering became an Olympic-affiliated sport and is awaiting full entry into the slate of sports at the Olympic Games. Today the International Orienteering Federation sports 41 full members and 8 associate members from around the world.
Harald Wibye, a Norwegian, is credited with beginning public orienteering in the Untied States by staging the first event on November 5, 1967 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Orienteering gained its first foothold in America through the military, especially the Marines, who won the first six national men's orienteering titles beginning in 1971, and cadets at the United States Military Academy.
Wibye only stayed in North America two years but helped establish orienteering clubs in several states and founded the first Canadian orienteering club in Montreal. Today there are 70 orienteering clubs around the United States with some 8,000 members but Wibye's original Delaware Valley Orienteering Club, with 700 members, is easily the largest.
An orienteering course usually consists of between five and twenty checkpoints which the orienteer must locate in order with only a topographical map and compass for guidance. In competitive orienteering, the finisher who successfully finds all the checkpoints in the least elapsed time is the winner. The course can cover anywhere from a mile to up to ten miles.
The elite of the sport, with compass strapped to a thumb, can race through dense undergrowth, across streams, around cliffs at a pace of about six minutes per mile while marking off all their control points. But orienteering is hardly a sport reserved for the elite. Families are encouraged to participate and if one wants to walk a course while studying the map and compass, so be it. And orienteering is no longer just for runners; ski orienteering is now gaining adherents around the world.
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