Cycling on the Shore
Jun 07, 2011 01:04PM
● By Anonymous
Besides the bike itself, the essentials of cycling are a helmet, bicycle repair kit, water bottles, and a water bottle cage.
Bikes: With so many types to choose from these days, deciding which bike to pick is not easy. Before buying one, ask yourself why you want to begin cycling: Is it for recreational, fitness, or competitive purposes? The answer will determine which type of bike is right for you. On the Shore, road or hybrid bikes are best because the terrain is flat. Hybrids have wider tires and are more upright, while road bikes have skinny tires and are best for those who wish to compete in long-distance events. Veteran cyclists recommend a hybrid bike for the beginner who wants to experiment, particularly since they’re a less-costly initial investment. Prices for road bikes start at $650 and those designed for competitive cycling can run into thousands of dollars, while hybrids start around $350.
Helmets: Maryland state law dictates that anyone under age 16 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle—and with good reason. Falling off a bike could result in a serious injury, whereas a helmet can save your life. Whatever your age, a helmet should be worn while cycling. Make certain yours feels comfortable so you’ll want to wear it, even on hot, humid days. Ask for assistance when shopping for a bike to ensure you’ve selected the right fit and size headgear.
Repair kits: These generally come with extra tubes for tires, tire patches, tire levers, a chain tool, spoke wrench, screwdriver, Allen keys (Allen wrenches), and an emergency tire pump. It’s also a good idea to include a first-aid kit If you’re not mechanically inclined, don’t forget
Water bottles/water bottle cages: Keeping yourself hydrated is important when participating in any athletic activity, and, if it’s cycling, especially when going long distances. A water bottle cage attached to your bike holds the bottle so you don’t have to hold it while you’re riding. Cages are typically made from metal or carbon, and prices start at about $10 and go up from there, depending on the quality and material.
Bicyclists are required to follow the same rules as car drivers. Just because you’re riding a bike doesn’t mean the rules of the road don’t apply. Ride with the traffic and use hand signals when turning. Your left arm held at an upward-pointing, 90-degree angle indicates you are turning right; held straight out (perpendicular to the ground) means you’re turning left; and held straight but at a downward angle signals you are slowing down or stopping.
There are other things to keep in mind, as well. Remember to wear bright-colored or reflective clothing so motor vehicles can see you, and begin to use battery powered lights when riding at dusk. (State law requires bike lights at night.) If you’re on a road without a bike lane, keep as far to the right side of the roadway as possible. Always yield to pedestrians—they have the right of way. If you’re wearing a headset while riding—so you can listen to music—don’t cover both ears because you won’t be able to hear a car’s engine revving close behind you or someone yelling for you to stop.
The Eastern Shore’s byways are a major attraction for cycling enthusiasts. Each county is unique, with a variety of trails to explore. In the mid-Shore region, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County has several scenic routes for cycling trips, ranging from 6.5 to 25 miles. You can explore the territory while taking in the scenery.
Queen Anne’s County has two popular bike paths, both 12 miles round-trip, with water views along the way. One starts out at the Kent Narrows Bridge and the other begins at Matapeake State Park.
In Talbot County, a favorite loop for cyclists travels through St. Michaels, Easton, and Oxford. A fun diversion on this route is a trip across the Tred Avon River on the Bellevue Ferry. The Sea Gull Century, a 100-mile ride between the campus of Salisbury University to Snow Hill, Maryland, held annually in the fall, includes the Talbot County loop in the final leg.
Explore Kent County on a bicycle and challenge yourself with some hillier terrain punctuated by rolling farmland, barns, silos, and country estates.
County visitor centers typically have maps with bicycle routes. You can also visit our website at WhatsUpMag.com for further details about the Shore’s bicycle trails.