October 2005 Safety Talk

Sharing Knowledge - Tips On Backing Your Bike

Safety Officer, Dave Hansen

On a recent group ride, a new member was having difficulty backing her bike into a parking spot.  The reason wasn’t because she couldn’t do it.  It was simply a matter of technique.  After a few minutes of instruction, she learned a couple tricks that made the task much less challenging & she was able to back up the bike into the spot without a problem.

Many times we experienced riders simply take for granted new riders should already know what we know when it comes to things this simple.  Granted, we have certain expectations for riding skills from all riders that plan to participate in our chapter’s group rides.  I’ve discussed that subject several times in the past.  And I’ll cover it again in the future, because it’s an important subject that directly influences the safety of our group rides.

But today I’d like to share some strategies that will make backing up your bike a bit easier & safer:

  1. Once stopped & in position to back up, shift into neutral
  2. Hold the bike squarely upright with the forks straight
  3. Apply the front brake
  4. Shift your weight forward onto the handlebars in order to compress the front forks
  5. Shift your weight rearward to begin moving the bike backward & release the front brake as the front forks decompress
  6. This will get the bike moving backward
  7. Steer the bike as you move backward
  8. If you lose momentum, repeat the procedure

Finally, use your mirrors as you are backing the bike.  Only look over your shoulders when the bike is squarely upright & not moving.  Just as the saying “you go where you look” applies to riding, glancing over your shoulders while backing up causes you to look to the side at a downward angle.  That will sometimes result in the bike going sideways at a downward angle.  Not necessarily a good thing.

Park Safe,

Ride Safe!

Words of Safety