Bike Safety & COVID-19

Think Safe

Think Safe

The safety of our cyclists is the number one priority at Bike MS which is why we made Think Safe our motto.

Bike MS is for everyone which means there is a great mix of riders with different experience and skill levels on the road together at every Bike MS event.

To do your part to ensure everyone arrives safely at the finish line, please review this safety information about personal safety, group riding skills, cycling etiquette and bike maintenance.

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COVID-19 & What to Expect

MS doesn’t stop because of this crisis, and neither will we. But the National MS Society will implement a variety of new protocols in keeping with current guidance on event attendance from the CDC, state, city and other local agencies to keep our participants, volunteers, staff and host communities as safe as possible. These practices will be reviewed 90, 60 and 35 days from event day and may be adjusted as directed by evolving medical information to ensure your safety. 

COVID-19 has considerably effected event planning and execution details. As in-person gatherings return, the National MS Society is learning from industry experts and other nonprofits across the country. The Society is focused on following the best practices that fit the situation at the time and event location status.

Overall Safety Protocols for 2021

  • The event will be reviewed through a rigorous health and safety mitigation process with multiple checks and balances to ensure the best and safest environment for participants, staff, volunteers, vendors, and sponsors.
  • Adjustments to ride components will be made based on the current conditions of disease transmission, vaccination rates, and restrictions per jurisdiction. Evaluated 90, 65, and 35 days from the event.
  • Personal responsibilities will be communicated to participants, staff, volunteers, vendors, and sponsors prior to the event via phone, email, social media, and event website updates.
  • All efforts will take place to make sure our participants, staff, volunteers, vendors, and sponsors have the most up to date information available.
  • All celebratory pre-event activities such as kickoffs or top fundraiser gatherings will be virtual.

Event Safety Protocols

  • Pre-Event health screening of all staff, participants, and volunteers.
  • Reduced touchpoints to minimize physical interactions.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the event including packet pickup locations, higher traffic areas, and in and around portable toilets.
  • Face coverings will be required for all riders, volunteers, and staff throughout the event. Riders may remove their masks when out on the road.
  • Event signage will promote safe social distancing practices including maintaining 6 feet of distance or more between others.
  • Dedicated lanes and waiting spots will be provided to aid in physical distancing in areas where cyclists congregate such as packet pick-up, start line, and restrooms.
  • Anyone at increased risk or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be directed to stay home.
  • Staff and volunteers will be provided gloves or other PPE if their role requires additional interaction (ex: plastic shields, disinfectant.

Virtual Cycling Option Available

If deemed unsafe to hold the Texas MS 150 in person or a cyclist does not feel comfortable participating in the modified in-person experience, a Virtual Cyclist option exists for each rider to stay connected.

Virtual Cyclist: Registration Fee – $0

What to Expect at Packet Pick-Up

  • In order to decrease staff and volunteer interactions with riders, there will be no on-site registration.
  • All participants should register in advance at www.bikemstexas150.org
  • Packet Pick-up will take place Thursday and Friday immediately prior to the ride.
  • Goodie bags will include rider packet, t-shirt, completion pin, Bike MS Champs bandana and any sponsor giveaways available.
  • Packet Pick-up areas will be outdoors with enforced social distancing, crowd control and mask requirements.
  • Top Fundraiser Jersey distribution will occur in a separate area to ensure volunteer, staff, and participant safety.
  • If conditions require, Packet Pick-Up will transition to a drive-thru option.

What to Expect at the Start Lines

  • Complimentary parking will be available at all start lines. Please use social distancing protocols.
  • Entry points will be on-way with significant distance of 6 feet or more.
  • Self-serve bag drop will be available. Be sure to place a luggage tag from your rider packet on the bag.
  • Bike compound will be self-serve with volunteer oversight to confirm the numbers on rider bib/wristband and bike number match.
  • Bike shop sponsor mechanics will be available at the start lines and along the route at rest stops to ensure you have everything you need for the day.
  • Start windows for rolling starts vary by start location.
  • All participants will receive a designated start time window. Times will be closely monitored.
  • Wave sizes will be based on jurisdiction requirements.
  • Consideration will be taken for teams to start together.
  • Portable toilets will be staged apart from one another with touch free handwashing stations and touch free hand sanitizer stations.

What to Expect on the Routes

  • Cyclists will be encouraged to follow physical distancing protocols throughout the ride.
  • SAG vehicles will be available on the route with capacity limited to 50% to ensure rider and volunteer safety.
  • Masks will be required in SAG vehicles to ensure safety. SAG vehicles will be equipped with extra masks.
  • Cyclists must bring their own water bottles to fill at touchless Water Monsters at rest stops and lunches.

What to Expect at Rest Stops and Lunches

REST STOPS

  • Masks must be worn at all times by cyclists, volunteers, staff, and vendors while at rest stops.
  • Masks will be on hand at the rest stops in case a cyclist has lost their mask on the route.
  • Individually packaged snacks/whole fruit available as self-serve for cyclists.
  • Volunteers will restock items, but not serve cyclists.
  • Touchless Water Monsters at hydration area. Cyclists must bring their own water bottles.
  • Individual packets of sports drink at the hydration area to mix into your water bottles.
  • Plastic sheeting or enhanced distances between volunteers and cyclists will be included based on the current disease transmission rates by location.
  • Volunteers will be on site to direct cyclists to park their bike at a safe distance from the food and hydration area and put their masks on if they have been removed.
  • Portable toilets will be staged apart from one another with touch free handwashing stations and touch free hand sanitizer stations.
  • Medical staff at first aid station.
  • All cyclists will be required to dispose of their own recycling and trash in designated bins.

LUNCHES

All items noted above for rest stops with the addition of the following:

  • Touchless Water Monsters at hydration area. Cyclists must bring their own water bottles.
  • Individually packaged lunch.
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs spaced for social distance with limited seating per table.

What to Expect at the Finish Line

  • Top Fundraisers and VIPs will have special recognition throughout the event; may include special signage, VIP parking and more.
  • VIP tent located on Kyle Field set-up for social distancing protocols.
  • Beer garden located on Kyle Field set-up for social distancing protocols.
  • Ample seating available in the stadium. Please follow social distancing protocols.
  • Teams will be given an opportunity to reserve a team tent, tables, and chairs.
  • Teams will have the opportunity to reserve seating inside Kyle Field on the East side of the stadium.
  • Individually packaged food for cyclists and volunteers will be available on the Plaza.
  • No shower trucks, massage services or sponsor expo available this year.
  • Changing tents will be provided set-up for social distancing protocols.
  • Portable toilets will be staged apart from one another with touch free handwashing stations and touch free hand sanitizer stations.
  • Hand sanitizer stations located throughout the finish line site.
  • Medical staff will be located at first aid stations.
  • Masks will be available in case cyclist lost their mask on the route.
  • All cyclists will be required to dispose of their own recycling and trash in designated bins.
  • Buses to Start Lines will be limited to 50% capacity for safety.
  • Masks will be required on buses. Hand sanitizer will also be provided on buses.

We will continue to share the most accurate and reliable guidance possible to help people with MS find their best path forward through this unprecedented crisis. Learn more about COVID-19 and MS or download the complete Safety Protocol


Safety Resources


Bike Care

More Cycling Tips from Bicycling Magazine

Check these things after each ride, and next time you'll roll without a hitch.

5 Minute Inspection

Written by Natasha Grief, Bicycling Magazine

Most cyclists, if they check their bikes at all, wait to do it five minutes before the group is about to start rolling. What's the point? No one's going to wait for you to fix a cracked frame or a torn sidewall. Be one of the smart ones: Give your bike this once-over after each ride, so you're ready to go at the drop of a hat—or helmet.

Quick-Release

Check for: Side-to-side play in the wheel; QRs or skewers that aren't tight or secure
How? Make sure quick-releases are closed all the way, and that bolt-on skewers are securely fastened.
On your next ride: Your wheel won't come loose and detach from your bike midride.

Wheel

Check for: Trueness
How? While spinning the wheel, watch the distance between the rim and the brake pad. It should be uniform for the entire rotation. If it wobbles, the wheel needs truing. (Watch our pro true a wheel at http://www.bicycling.com/maintenance/bike-washing/subtle-art-wheel-truing.)
On your next ride: Your wobbly wheel won't lead to more serious problems, such as a shudder while descending or brake pads rubbing.

Brakes

Check for: Grit on the pads, caliper alignment
How? If your brakes feel gritty, clean the pads with a rag and degreaser; replace pads if the grooves are worn more than 50 percent compared with new pads. Calipers are aligned if the pads are equidistant from the rim.
On your next ride: You won't go to grab the levers only to roll right through the stop sign at the bottom of the hill.

Tires

Check for: Low tire pressure, embedded glass, slices in the tire or sidewall
How? Inflate tires to proper pressure, and carefully remove embedded debris with tweezers. A cut tire or sidewall is prone to a blowout and shouldn't be ridden; replace it.
On your next ride: Your chances of flatting will greatly decrease, and you may have prevented a nasty midride blowout.

Seat Bag

Check for: Supplies you may have depleted on your ride
How? If you used something during a ride, replace it so it's there for the next ride. If your spare tube has been in there for a while, give it a quick inspection to make sure it's still intact.
On your next ride: You'll have a spare tube and CO2 cartridge to lend to the guy who didn't follow this postride checklist.

Cleats

Check for: Loose bolts and overall wear
How? Worn-out cleats won't engage as crisply. You'll know when they've just plain quit on you, then it's time for new cleats. Bolts can loosen over time. If your cleat isn't secure to your shoe, tighten the bolts.
On your next ride: Your foot won't pop out without warning, and you won't tumble to the ground because you couldn't disengage your cleat.

Frame

Check for: Cracks, especially at the joints
How? Using a rag and bike polish, wipe dirt and moisture from your frame. Look for cracks, flaking paint and other irregularities.
On your next ride: You'll either be on your bike because you didn't find a crack, or you'll be on your way to the shop for a pro evaluation. If your carbon frame is cracked, don't mess around. Failure could be catastrophic.


Basic Bike Maintenance

Learn the Basics of Bike Maintenance, brought to you from our friends at Bicycling Magazine.


Check out these additional articles to help you prepare for Bike MS!


Safe Cycling Quiz
The Safe Cycling Quiz is an educational tool designed to increase your knowledge and awareness of safe cycling practices you are likely to experience during training rides and the Texas MS 150. 

As you prepare for the Texas MS 150 on May 1, check out the Safety Resource Document

  • Topics include safety protocols, Safe Cycling Quiz, Bike Safety Inspections and more.

League of American Bicyclists Online Learning Portal Smart Cycling Lessons 

  • NO COST: Smart Cycling curriculum builds on itself through Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced sections of bicycling education.
  • Wide variety of methods to learn the material - videos, presentations, quizzes, worksheets.
  • Review all curriculum to prepare for the Smart Cycling Exam.
  • Pass the Smart Cycling exam score of 85% or more to print your certificate of completion.
  • League members will be able to login directly to the site using the same login as the League member portal.
  • Not a League member? You can still access the Learning Center for free: need to create an account and validate the account through email.

Basic Level:
Get Ready to Ride
Riding Tips
Riding with traffic
Bike parts & maintenance

Intermediate Level:
Riding in a group
Sharing paths & trails
Riding in inclement weather
Night riding
Rural road riding

Advanced Level:
Shifting gears
Climbing & Descending
Riding long distances
Limited access highways
Hazard avoidance maneuvers

* The virtual Smart Cycling courses are hosted by The League of American Bicyclists, a non-profit organization promoting education programs to improve cycling safety skills. These no cost safety courses offered at 3 levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced) are not organized or supported by the National MS Society.  This information is provided as a safety educational resource only.


Safety Resources



The Basics of Riding in a Group

Group riding takes practice. Riding with other cyclists all around you may cause you to feel trapped. It is important to relax and remember to create your own safety zone. Your safety zone may vary depending on the speed and ability level of the people with whom you are riding, so be flexible.
Group Riding Skills Group Riding Skills Group Riding Skills

Your responsibilities in a group include:

  • Being aware of others around you
  • Communicating well in advance, using hand gestures in combination with verbal commands
  • Riding with your head up looking down the road and not at the person in front of you
  • Maintaining control and speed of your bike, even when going downhill
  • Knowing your limits; accidents can occur when inexperienced riders do not have the bike-handling skills to make quick decisions in a group
  • Safety starts with you; a group mentality is not always the safest
  • Expect to stop at all red lights and stop signs—it is the law! Each cyclist is responsible for verifying that the intersection is clear for them to proceed
  • Adjusting your safety zone to fit the conditions of the road, weather, and traffic; and always plan an escape route
  • Never overlap your bicycle wheels with another cyclist
  • Not using aero bars while riding in a group
  • Being aware of how weather will affect your bike; riding in wet conditions requires slower speeds and greater breaking distances
  • Being respectful of other riders and help others when needed

Signaling
Image courtesy of League of American Bicyclists 

Know the Lingo

Group cycling has a unique form of communication. The presence of road hazards, directions, and need-to-know information is relayed through the group of riders by hand gestures and words. Remember to pass all communication on to the cyclist behind you in the group. Always speak loudly and clearly.

The following are the most common terms you may hear on group rides:

  • "On Your Left" This means a rider is approaching your left side. Move to the right side of road (as able) to allow room for the other rider to pass.
  • "Car Back" This means a car is approaching from the rear. All riders make an effort to move to the right in single-file to allow the car to pass. (In most states, the law requires cyclists to ride no more than two abreast, ensuring easier and safer passing of cyclists by automobile traffic.)
  • "Gravel"/"Pothole"/"Sand"/"Tracks" Each of these messages is intended to alert the riders behind you of hazardous road conditions. Relay these messages not only by words, but also by hand gesture, pointing to the hazard well in advance.
  • "Flat" This indicates that a rider has a flat tire and needs room enough to slow down and move to the right side of the road for repair. Offer assistance as needed.
  • "Slowing" The cyclist in front of you is slowing down; use caution and prepare to stop. (The common hand signal for "slowing" is to display the palm of your hand toward riders behind to indicate slowing and stopping.)
  • "Stopping" This indicates that a rider ahead is stopping. When at a stop, do not forget to unclip from your pedals.

*Group communication between teams and between individual riders is vitally important to ensuring the safety of all riders. Remember: Headphones, cell phones, radios, or similar devices are NOT permitted while riding.

Safety Equipment

All participants are responsible for keeping their cycling equipment in good working order. If you have questions or concerns, visit your local Texas MS 150 Bike Store Sponsors.  Our Official Bike Store partners' personnel are cycling enthusiasts with the experience and knowledge to help make your Bike MS: Texas MS 150 safe and enjoyable.

Table of Contents
Click the headings below to be taken to the corresponding section:
ABC Quick Check
Bicycle Safety Inspection
Cycling Equipment
Cycling Clothing

ABC Quick Check

ABC Quick Check
Image courtesy of League of American Bicyclists
Always check your bicycle before starting out to avoid unpleasant surprises during your ride. The term "ABC Quick Check" (LINK TO PDF "ABC Quick Check" for view/download) will help you remember what to do:

  • "A" Is for Air
    • Inflate tires to the pressure listed by the tube/tire manufacturer.
    • Use a pressure gauge to ensure proper pressure.
    • Check for damage on tire and replaced if damaged.
  • "B" Is for Brakes
    • Inspect pads for wear. Replace if there is less than one-quarter inch of pad left.
    • Check for cable tightness, frayed cables, and alignment of the pads with the rims.
  • "C" Is for Cranks, Chain, and Cassette
    • Check your pedals and cranks for tightness.
    • Check chain for looseness and bad links.
    • Check derailleur for worn cogs and needed adjustment.
    • Check that your gears change smoothly.
  • "Quick" Is for Quick Releases
    • Make sure all of your quick releases on your wheels are closed.
  • "Check" Is for Check It Over
    • Check your helmet for cracks and make sure it fits properly.
    • Check your shoes for tight cleats and confirm straps and buckles are in good repair.
    • Make sure your saddle (seat) is at the right height and the bolt is tight.

Bicycle Safety Inspection 

In addition to your body being in the best shape possible for the Bike MS: Texas MS 150, your bike should be finely-tuned and safe. Take your bike and your cycling shoes to one of the Texas MS 150 Bike Store Sponsors for a FREE† bicycle safety inspection.  Pedal inspection is a critical component of the overall safety inspection, so don't forget to bring your cycling shoes.

Cycling Equipment

  • Bicycle: Proper bicycle size and fit are very important to your overall riding experience. Be sure to get fit for your bike. Bicycle fit sessions are available at your local Texas MS 150 Bike Store Sponsors. Be sure to bring your cycling shoes!
  • Helmet: You should always wear a helmet when riding. Head injuries are a special concern for cyclists: Even falling at a slow rate of speed can cause a serious head injury. A helmet must be on your head and strapped securely while riding in the Bike MS: Texas MS 150. There are no exceptions. Participants found not wearing their helmets will be disqualified from the event and removed from the route.
  • Sunglasses: Although any type of sunglasses will protect eyes, shatterproof are ideal.
  • Water Bottle: Placed in bottle cages mounted to your bike or use a hydration pack with refillable "bladder" and tube with mouthpiece (backpack or fanny pack type).
  • Cycling Shoes: Find the shoe type that works best for you
    • Clipless pedal systems: Allows you to push and pull your pedals for more efficient pedaling.
      • SPD®-compatible This style is recessed into the shoe, making for easier walking; often found on gym spin bikes.
      • Look®-compatible Protrudes from bottom of shoe; difficult to walk in; wears down faster, needing replacement.
      • Cages Attach to flat pedals and allow you to wear tennis shoes; more efficient than using flat pedals alone.
  • Floor Pump: Bicycle tires should be aired up before every ride, usually around 100 psi (check your specific tire tube for psi requirements).
  • Bike Frame Pump or CO2 Cartridges & Dispenser: For low-pressure or flat repair on-the-road.
  • Under-Seat Bag (Saddle Bag) or Bento-style Bag: Bag mounted on your bike to store items such as bicycle tubes, tools, CO2 cartridges/dispensers, etc.
  • Cycle Computer: Tracks distance, cadence (how fast you're pedaling), speed, and various other metrics.
  • Tire Tubes: Correct size and valve type for your bike; carry at least TWO tire tubes with you in your saddle bag for flat repairs.
  • Bicycle Tools:  Basic tools including patch kit, tire levers (removing tire from wheel for flat repairs), multi-tool, Allen wrenches, etc.
  • Other items to carry with you include:
    • Chamois cream, applied liberally to skin prior to and during a long ride, and/or a cycling shorts chamois pad, both to prevent chafing. There are many brands on the market; find one that works for you
    • Small tube of sunscreen and lip balm (recommended SPF 30 or higher)
    • ID, insurance card(s), credit card, and cash
    • Any necessary medications

Cycling Clothing

  • Cycling Shorts: Cycling shorts have a chamois padding, providing additional comfort over regular shorts; road-cycling-style shorts or mountain-bike-style shorts will suffice. Try on several brands and styles to find the right pair for you; it is worth investing in a good pair of cycling shorts!
  • Cycling Gloves: Hand cushioning provides shock absorption and protects hands in case of fall; fingerless-type gloves for warmer weather and full-finger gloves for colder weather.
  • Cycling Jersey: Jerseys help pull moisture away from your skin and traditionally feature back pockets, providing a place to stash snacks, cell phone, jacket, etc.

    If you choose not to wear a jersey, consider wearing a top (long enough to cover your back when reaching forward on the handle bars) that will wick sweat away from your body; examples include tech-type t-shirts.
  • Socks: Cycle-specific socks provide moisture wicking; wear woolen socks for cold rides.
  • Arm and Leg Warmers: Provide protection from the wind and cold; easy to remove as the day warms up.
  • Cycling Jackets: Jackets can provide protection from wind, water, and cold. A variety of types are available on the market; back pockets on the jacket are handy for storing items, and some jacket models feature removable sleeves, turning the jacket into a vest while still providing protection for your core.

Team Safety Coordinator

The Team Safety Coordinator (TSC) serves an important role in assisting the Team Captain with the planning and execution of safety education, training and awareness for the team members participating in the Texas MS 150.  As a part of the team's leadership, the Team Safety Coordinator is a major contributor to the success of your team and the safety of its riders.

If you have any questions regarding the Team Safety Coordinator program, please email the Safety Committee at texasms150safetycommittee@nmss.org.

Team Safety Coordinator responsibilities include:

  • Setting safety standards and expectations for the team
  • Setting team safety goals and encouraging team members to set personal safety goals
  • Creating individual and team incentives to promote safety
  • Communication to team of all available safety education information and resources available through the National MS Society using team newsletters, website, email, social media

Team Safety Coordinator competencies:

  • Supportive of the mission of the National MS Society
  • Passion for cycling and safety
  • Safety related experience or a willingness to acquire safety knowledge
  • Good communication skills, organized

The Team Safety Coordinator can make a significant impact on the health and safety of each team member and their team overall. As part of their team's leadership, the Team Safety Coordinator is a major contributor to the success of their team and the safety of its riders.

Safety Resource Document

  • Safety Resources listed and linked to location on the Texas MS 150 website.
  • Topics include safety protocols, Safe Cycling Quiz, Bike Safety Inspections and more.

Safety Session

  • Topics include the event safety protocols, start locations, routes, finish line, safety resources available on the Texas MS 150 website, and more.