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Cyclists Urged to Take Care as More NZers Take Up

Monday January 14 2008

Cyclists Urged to Take Care as More NZers Take Up the Sport

The warmer weather sees a huge influx of people choosing cycling as their preferred mode of transportation and exercise.

But because of cycling’s growing popularity, injuries relating to the pastime have markedly increased, and it is now one of the top five injury sports. That’s prompted Jen Brown, an ACC Injury Prevention Manager, to appeal to all cyclists to take care.

“Nearly 1300 road cyclists and mountain bikers were moderately or seriously injured between July 2006 and June 2007. Cycling, especially mountain-biking, is a demanding sport – it requires a high level of fitness and very good understanding of what both rider and bike are capable of,” she said.

“Most cyclists wear helmets as standard practice – which is an essential safety precaution to take – but there is more they can do to protect themselves from injury. Gloves, protective glasses, knee, shin and elbow pads, along with proper cycling shoes are now readily available and really effective at reducing the chance of hurting yourself,” Ms Brown said.

ACC recommends a quick checklist for cyclists to consider before they ride their bikes. Make sure the bike is clean, and that the tyres have enough tread and sidewall, that the gears are moving well, the parts that need to be lubricated are, and that you have no loose spokes or buckled wheels.

Bikes should also be specific to the type of riding being undertaken, and the skill level and size of the rider.

“Both the ACC website and the Bike NZ website have great safety information, including a mountain-biking safety guide that was developed in response to the increased rate of injury among bikers,” Jen Brown said.

In the form of a “Smart Tips” wallet card, the information covers everything from buying the right bike and accessories, to warming up and avoiding injuries while riding, staying hydrated while exercising, and how to speed up recovery from injury.

“It’s a good resource for bikers,” Ms Brown said. “It’s handy; you can fold it up, put it in your wallet and take it with you when you go out on the bike.”

“Also, the ActiveSmart website,, has top tips and other pieces of advice for cyclists – and all other sportspeople – and helps them create a personalised training programme.”

To download the Smart Tips wallet card, and for more injury prevention tips, go to the sports injury prevention section of ACC’s website, or call 0800 844 657.


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