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Cyclist Knowledge
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    Ride Ratings

    How to interpret ride titles and see what best suits your level

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    What to bring

    Items to bring to ensure you're equipped and prepared for the road ahead

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    Rules of the Road

    Cycling etiquette best practices to have in your back pocket when riding (group or solo)

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    Glossary

    Definitions of commonly used words in the cycling community

Levels/Ride Ratings

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Note: This is only how CIRCA categorizes rides. 

Hilliness / Pace / Mileage (ex. 3/B/34mi)

A "Local" ride is a ride for which the start location is accessible by bicycle or BART.

An "Away" ride is one that would require a car to reach the start location.

The ride conventions are as follows:

Hilliness (% in average gradients)

1: 0-2% Essentially flat, just cruising - 0- 1,000 ft

2: 2-6% A few low hills, start putting in some effort - 1,000-2,000ft

3: 6-8% Moderately hilly,  entering climbing territory- 2,000-3,000ft

4: 8-12% Very hilly, must have sufficient fitness and have done level 3s - 4,000-6,000ft

5: 12+ % Extremely hilly with steep sections, for those who face hills with a smile - over 6,000ft

Pace

A: 14-16 mph, Fast pace, for strong experienced riders, maybe one stop. 

B: 11-14 mph, Steady pace, 14-17 mph on mostly flat rides, fewer stops, for experienced riders

C: 8-11 mph, Easy pace, average speed on rides with hills, 12-15 mph on mostly flat rides, frequent stops, good for new riders

Distance

Short      10 -  25 miles

Medium  25 -  50 miles

Long       50 - 100+ miles

What to bring (recommended)

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  • Water, snacks, sport drinks

Staying hydrated and fueled is important on any length. Carry a water bottle with you in any weather. Stash an energy bar in your bike bag or jersey A water bottle and snack can go a long way in the last leg of your ride when you need that final push. 
 

Spare inner tube, tire levers, patch kit, mini-pump, and a folding multi-tool. Even if you are not familiar with fixing your own flat or making adjustments, a Good Samaritan will be able to help you along. 

  • Credit Card/Cash/Personal ID/ Health Insurance Card

In case you take a pitstop or need to make a small purchase somewhere, having this on hand will give you the option to refuel or even repair your bike on the road if you happen to be next to a bike shop. Personal ID with emergency personnel/health insurance card (if possible),  would be helpful in case of an unfortunate event. 

  • Mobile device (smart phone)

They've come a long way from just making phone calls.

- Have a plan b in case you're stranded and need to phone a friend or family. 

- Navigating unfamiliar areas and need to pull up maps

- Emergency calls and contact information are automatically shown and available w/o unlocking

- For taking those memorable pictures to show off to your friends :)

Rules of the Road

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Safety First

Be Predictable - this is crucial for letting others (drivers and riders around you) know your intention prior to doing it.

Signals

- Hand - using your arms as indicators are universally understood (turning right, left, slowing, stopping, potholes, glass, etc)

- Voice - used to vocalize if a car is coming from the back ("car back"), both hands are on your handle bars and you are coming to a stop, ("stopping")

Visibility

Day - consider wearing brightly colored items and investing in a rear tail light (which is always on day and night)

Night - View blog for tips on riding at night​

Obey traffic laws - as cars follow the rules of the road, cyclists are also subject to these rules as well which means, always stopping at stop lights and signs. 

Be aware of your own surroundings at all times - through practice, your situational awareness will improve as you continue riding outside and practicing above. Do not wear ear/headphones. 

Glossary

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In-progress

 
 
 
 
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