Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 5 seconds
When you plan tour trip overseas, chances are you don’t think about the dangers of cycling overseas. Nope, chances are, all you can think about is the glamour of the Tour de France, the challenge of Etape du Tour, or climbing the epic mountains of France.
Oh, and croissants (don’t pretend you hadn’t).
It’s pretty unlikely you give much thought to a holiday accident, beyond getting some insurance “just in case”.
After all, a cycling holiday is supposed to be about riding big mountains, sunshine and Heinekens (or pastries, or both).
It’s not supposed to be dangerous.
You might be aware that the 2012 edition of the Haute Route has just finished.
Sadly the 2012 event was marred by the death of Protus Schultz of Sweden, on the final descent of the final day.
The cycling community is pretty close, and it always cuts to the core to hear of the death of one of our fellow cyclists. Often we don’t know the person, but still feel some sort of connection or bond to them due to our love of this magnificent thing we all share.
Reader Steve from the UK, participating in his first Haute Raute dropped me a poignant email this morning about what had happened, as well as the rest of his Haute Route adventure (you’ll hear more about Steve’s epic adventure soon on the VeloNomad site).
Sure you get insurance (just in case) but you always expect to come home.
As cyclists, we sometimes can take the simple joys and freedoms that cycling afford us for granted. We take for granted that we’ll rise the next day to jump on the bike.
When I used to ride to work when I lived in Melbourne, there were rarely a few days that went past without some close call with traffic. Melbourne is not a cyclist friendly city in the same way many European countries are, so close calls, near misses and hits were frequent occurences.
And if I didn’t have a close call, there was always someone at work who had a similar story.
It’s easy to forget we’re a small bag of skin and bones on a bike.
Likewise, bombing down the big Cols of Europe, or any mountain really, it’s easy to forget how tenuous our grip on life is. One simple mistake, one overshot corner, a car coming the other way, and things can get very ugly very quickly.
- Overshoot corner on big descent – likely if you’re not careful (can even happen to great descenders)
- Terrorist attack – unlikely
- Taken out by fellow rider – not an insignificant possibility on Etape du Tour
- Get sick – well, that could happen anywhere
So, as you plan your cycling trip, please do a few things to make sure you come home safe and sound.
- Insurance – get good insurance for yourself and your bike. Read more in Taking Your Bike Overseas and How to Insure Your Bike and Save Money.
- Ride within yourself! Some of us are confident, capable descenders. But even so, fate is a capricious beast and can snuff our time out in the blink of an eye. Even if you can descend well, be careful. Know how to descend properly and make sure you have great breaks (like SRAM Force + Yokozunas)
- If you’re doing a sportif, be careful at all times. Like when you’re driving and riding on the roads, you’re relying on the skills of others, which may or may not be up to scratch.
- Have ID (like the cyclist ID bracelets) with any conditions etc on it. And contact for your loved ones.
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