After one of the hardest, longest Indiana winters in a long time, it looks like the Spring riding season is finally ready to get started.  We are sure to have a set back  (or two), but April is when we can at least hope to ride every weekend.  So here are some tips to make your spring coming-Volunteer Dolly Craft organized CIBA's First Ride of Spring.out trouble free and fun.

Where Is Everything?  Give yourself a few extra minutes to get organized and find your biking gear.  It has been patiently waiting all winter, but gloves, glasses, shoes and jackets may not all be in the same spots you were leaving them when you were riding regularly.

Pre-Flight Your Bike:   The League of American Bicyclist’s ABC Quick Check is a great “pre-flight” check for your bike, especially if it has been hanging in the garage all winter.  If you are driving to a ride start, check your bike before you load the car; more than one rider has found out the hard way that their last ride of the fall ended with a flat tire.

Your Road Skills Are Rusty:  Whatever your fitness regimen, if you have not been on the road, your cycling skills will need some refreshing.  It may take a ride or two to reacclimatize to road and group riding.  Please give everyone some extra room, and remember to communicate and watch the road and riders around you.

Pace Yourself at Your Pace: Along with road skills, April is when couch potatoes and winter long “pain-cave” riders end up mixed together.  So not only are group skills rusty, many riders may be in their “red-zone” while hanging on to strong riders and groups.   While challenging yourself is part of training, if you can’t pass the “talk test” – speak a complete sentence or hold a conversation, you may be riding at pace you will not be able to maintain for the entire ride.

Rough Roads Ahead:  The roads in town and on our favorite county roads have taken a terrible beating, resulting in countless chuck holes and lane-wide sections of broken and crumpled pavement.  Stay heads up and ready for unexpected hazards.  And the left-over sand, grit and broken pavement is very hard on bikes tires, especially if they have already been ridden for a season or two.  And by the way, if you ride in the US 31 corridor in Hamilton County, there are already a lot of new traffic patterns, stop signs, and traffic lights on many nearby roads, with more changes ahead with the start of the cone-zone season.

I hope these tips help you enjoy your first ride of the season.  It has been a long winter, and we all deserve some fun!