After an especially harsh winter, particularly the cold snap that swept through nearly the entire nation, most of us are probably looking forward to some beautiful, springtime weather. Yes, it’s sad that we’ll be ditching our snowboards and skiing equipment, but there are plenty of activities for you to enjoy.

Springtime cycling is a wonderful way to take advantage of the warmer weather and get some exercise while you’re at it. However, it’s always a good idea to go over a few safety tips that you might have forgotten while you were out hitting the slopes or drinking hot chocolate in front of your fireplace.

Give the Bike a Tune-Up

Since your bike has probably not been used too much over the past few months, give it a little tune-up to make sure that it’s in good working order. What you basically want to do is check the frame for damage, ensure that the tires are in good condition, and properly lubricate the appropriate parts of the bike.

Watch Out for More Cyclists

Springtime is a great time to start cycling thanks to the improved weather. But, guess what? Many other people will have this exact same idea, too. While most cyclists don’t have any problem sharing bike lanes and bike paths with others, it’s important to remember that you might have to share these areas with more riders than usual as people break out of their cabin fever.

Pay Closer Attention to Traffic

We can all picture that first truly nice spring day — cyclists are out and about, people are driving with their windows down, and motorcyclists are taking their bikes out for the first spin of the season. Be vigilant. When the weather turns warm, travel of all kinds increases, and that means more to pay attention to on the road. Drivers may be distracted, and they may be out of practice with sharing the road with cyclists. Give yourself more distance from other vehicles, clearly signal to drivers, and give yourself more time to get from A to B.

Helmets: Yes! / Cell Phones: No!

You can’t discuss springtime cycling safety without bringing up helmets and cell phones. Many cyclists know that there is no law in Colorado that says you must wear a helmet when riding a bike, and there is also no Colorado law that says you can’t talk on a cell phone while riding. Common sense, however, should tell you that helmets are always a yes and cell phones are always a no. This is for your safety and the safety of others.

Stay Hydrated

Now that the weather has started to warm up, your body will begin to require more water to maintain hydration levels, especially as if you increase your activity levels. Many bikes come with a water bottle holder, but if yours doesn’t, you can easily purchase and install one. You should always drink a little before setting out on the road, and if you’re cycling for an extended period of time, rest along the way and hydrate yourself.

Make Sure to Stretch and Avoid Exerting Yourself Too Much

While it’s true that you never forget how to ride a bike, at least according to the popular saying, your muscles and joints could be a little stiff if you just hop right on and start pedaling. This could lead to an accident or injury, so be sure to stretch properly before activating those cycling muscles that you have not used for several months. Also, be sure to ease yourself back into cycling. Many people are hurt every year by attempting an activity they’re accustomed to at the same level they were achieving before a lapse in the activity. Unless you’ve been actively partaking in a similar activity, you should start at a leisurely pace and get yourself back up to where you were prior to the new season.

By following these springtime cycling safety tips, you’ll be able to increase your chances of avoiding an accident while out on the road. Stay safe, cyclists!