As detailed in the sections before, TFN does a lot of things to enhance the safety and ease of the riders while they traverse the 1000 kms of the ride. But the major onus of the safety of each rider rests in one pair of hands and that is the rider’s alone. Although TFN is a fully supported ride, from a safety perspective, the riders are the same as any other cyclist on the road – fully loaded, riding light, recreational, touring, commuting…….
Since these are not closed roads on private grounds, as everywhere, the cyclist is at the lower end of the traffic food chain, so to say, as perceived by general road traffic! Riders should ride, aware of the surroundings at all times and not contest road space with any other vehicle. Riders will also need to ride predictably. Please remember that other vehicles will neither expect nor believe that cycles will travel at the speeds some of the TFN riders can reach… Much of our journey is not on straight roads with great visibility. The cyclist will end up in the blind spots of many vehicles on a regular basis. Keep this in mind too.
A lot of our routes are also interior roads which are chosen for their beauty and relatively lesser density of traffic. It is here especially that the regular everyday user will never expect cyclists on the road, especially ones that are so colorful – bike and rider! We have had instances where other road users have turned back to look at a passing cyclist and hit the following cyclists. Ride defensively – try to anticipate the other driver’s actions – the more alert and aware you are, the better you can do this.
Remember that towards the second half of the day, fatigue might set in and this might dull your senses. It is imperative to be extra cautious and deliberately alert during this time.
Additionally, it is not a wise idea to try new stuff on public roads amidst fast traffic. Please ride within your limits and do NOT try to emulate other riders on anything if you are not already proficient in that skill.
One thing that enhances safety is to ride in groups and not alone. By the end of a couple of days, you will generally be able to figure out where in the long train you figure, in terms of average speed and ability. It is a good idea to band together with people of similar abilities. The ride becomes more pleasant in others’ company. It is also less tiring overall, to take turns at leading the group where you pull and you drop back to the rear where you rest. One exception to this is the CS – you are to ride alone and not draft during the CS – don’t say you were following what the TD said – it won’t hold water!! 😊
Oh! And another thing…. There are days when the elements might make it too tough to start riding – such as being very foggy or raining heavily. We might resort to a delayed start till such a time as we deem it safe to continue. We might also come across road sections that were good enough during reccee but have become impossible to ride across now. Then, we might ferry all the riders across to where the decent roads begin. In such situations, we do hope that you appreciate the primary concern for safety and extend your co-operation to us.