But what happens if those trails don’t take you where you need to go? You’ll have to get comfortable with what makes a bike friendly road and start finding the best routes for yourself. Whenever you are walking or driving you’ll want to start keeping an eye out to your surroundings. When you take note of streets as you pass by, a few things to look out for are:
- Bike lanes- a dedicated space on the road for bicyclists marked by stripes and signs, keep an eye out for solid and dotted lines.
- Sidewalks- might seem like a good idea but can sometimes be more dangerous.
- Street parked cars
- Construction- try to avoid all together.
- The quality of the road (pot holes, rocky pavement, etc.)
- Intersection visibility
- Narrow roads
- Shoulder space- this is extra important if there are no bike lanes or sidewalks.
- Heavy traffic- if is not safe for any bicyclist, but beginners should take extra precaution.
- Heavy pedestrian crossings
While you will want to do your own assessment, Google Maps also has a feature that will give you bike routes, and if you need extra help, your local bike shops are full of people who are familiar with the roads. Bike smart.