How to Feel Safe and Confident on Your Bike

Cycling is not just a mode of transportation; it's a lifestyle choice that promotes health, sustainability and freedom. Whether you're commuting to work, running errands or enjoying a leisurely bike ride, feeling confident and safe on your bicycle is essential for a positive experience. In this article, we'll explore strategies and tips to help you ride with confidence and security.

Bike Ride Safely + Communicate

First and foremost, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel safe, slow down, move to the side of the road, and look for a better option.

Stay alert and vigilant at all times, scanning the road ahead for potential hazards such as potholes, debris and parked cars. Assume that drivers may not see you and be prepared to react quickly to unexpected situations.

Maintain a safe distance from parked cars to avoid the "door zone" and the risk of being struck by a suddenly opened door. When approaching intersections, always yield to pedestrians and be cautious of turning vehicles. 

Make eye contact with other road users to ensure they are aware of your presence, and to let them know you see them. Smile and wave if someone yields the right of way to you.

Use hand signals to indicate your intentions when turning or changing lanes, and make your presence known through audible signals such as a bell or verbal warnings. 

Understanding Your Bike

Ensure that your bicycle is properly maintained and fits you well. A well-tuned bike with appropriate adjustments to the saddle height, handlebar position and tire pressure can significantly enhance your comfort and control while riding. Your local bike shop is always happy to help get your bike in tip-top shape, and they’ll offer suggestions along the way.

Be Seen + Ride Predictably

One of the best ways to be safe on the road is to be seen. Use bright lights and reflectivity at night, and consider a bike light in daytime if you’re on long stretches of open road.

We recommend investing in rechargeable lights. It’s easy to keep them continually juiced up so you’re never caught in the dark.


Being seen also means riding predictably. Avoid sudden maneuvers and erratic behavior that may confuse or startle motorists. Ride with traffic, signal your turns with your arm straight out. Convey your intentions boldly and clearly as you point to the direction where you’re going.

You may see other cyclists bend their arms to signal their turns. This motion originated in the time before cars had turn signals and it was impractical to lean out each side of the vehicle to signal a turn. EVERYONE understands what you mean when you point where you’re going, that’s why we recommend it.

When waiting to cross a street, make sure people know you’re trying to cross. Pull out as far as is legal and safe. Continually and boldly look left and right to make it known that you’re trying to cross. If you’re turning, keep your arm outstretched to signal that turn. If you’re turning left, be sure you’re in a good position to turn and that you don’t have to cross over any traffic to do so, or head to the sidewalk and cross at a crosswalk.

Relax and Slow Down

Are you freaking out because you think you missed your turn? Are you getting overwhelmed by traffic or otherwise confused?

Slow down. Look for other road users, then calmly maneuver your bike to the side of the road, the sidewalk or the shoulder. Once you’re out of the way of other road users, take a deep breath. Let the tension go. Then do what you need to do to get back on track - consult your phone, gather your thoughts or ask someone for directions. When you’re ready to resume riding, find an opening in the road then slowly merge back into the flow.

Plan Ahead

Plan your route in advance, choosing roads and paths that are bike-friendly and well-maintained. Google maps is a place to start, but can’t always be relied upon for the best bike friendly routes in all cities. 

Build your route in an app like Ride with GPS that vocalizes the turn-by-turn directions. This helps you stay focused on the road, not your phone.

Avoid high-traffic areas whenever possible, opting instead for designated bike lanes or multi-use trails. Use online maps or cycling apps to discover new routes and avoid busy streets. Our Tussey Phone Bag is a handy little bike bag for navigating the streets while you - check it out here!

If you’re planning a bike commute route or other regular route and encounter difficulty finding safe streets, ask around. Your local bike shop and biking groups will have suggestions. And one things for certain: Bike people love to talk routes!


Confidence-Building Strategies For Bike Riding

Building confidence as a cyclist takes time and practice, but there are several strategies you can employ to boost your self-assurance on the bike. Start by riding in familiar environments with minimal traffic to acclimate yourself to the sensation of cycling. Gradually increase the complexity of your rides as you become more comfortable and confident.

Set achievable goals for yourself, whether it's mastering a new skill like riding in traffic or completing a longer distance ride. Celebrate your progress and accomplishments along the way, and don't be afraid to challenge yourself with new experiences and adventures.

Use the Right Bags to Carry your Gear

A well positioned bag that securely holds your gear will not only make you feel more confident and organized, your bike will also handle better.

A Po Campo handlebar bag helps you keep your essentials up close for when you need to access them quickly. This is a great spot for chapstick, snacks and gloves.

As mentioned earlier in this post, the new Po Campo Tussey is a phone bag with a clear cover that’s touch screen friendly. That means you can see your map and use your phone without having to hold it in your hand. It’s a game changer.

A trunck bag or pannier attaches to your rack. All of our bags are made to mount securely and hold a lot of gear.


Mental Preparation and Mindfulness

Stay positive and maintain a "can-do" attitude, even in challenging situations. Visualize yourself riding confidently and safely, reinforcing a sense of self-assurance and competence. Remember that every ride is an opportunity for growth and learning, regardless of the obstacles you may encounter.

Feeling confident and safe on your bicycle is not just about mastering technical skills or following safety protocols; it's about cultivating a mindset of empowerment and resilience. By understanding your bike, practicing defensive riding techniques and building confidence through experience, you can enjoy the freedom and joy of cycling with peace of mind.

So, saddle up, embrace the open road, and ride with confidence knowing that you have the knowledge, skills and mindset to stay safe and secure on your journey. 
Share your ride with us on social media. We’d love to hear about your journey, and offer tips along the way.

Happy cycling!

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