Australia is a blessed continent when it comes to the cycling environment, trails, and infrastructure. Nature has blessed it with plenty of riding roads that swerve through coastlines, valleys, and hills all within a few hours distance from major cities. However, there is another side to this blessing - the fire season. During summers, these same environments carry a high bushfire risk that can be fatal for cyclist enthusiasts. Bike riding is definitely associated with some unique risks and it is alright to cycle through bushfire-ripe areas as long as you know how to manage and avoid the risks associated with it. If you are new to it, here are a few tips and suggestions that may come in handy:
● Should You Stop Or Keep Going: It is crucial to understand the fire danger ratings of the region you are going to for cycling. The fire danger ratings will help you understand to what extent the fire can be controlled if it begins. If the ratings are anywhere close to or bang on code red, extreme or severe ratings it means if started the fire will move fast and can become life-threatening within a few minutes. It is better to postpone your plans to ride on those days. Remember that if the fire starts, there will be low visibility, lots of smoke, an increased risk of collision with locals and emergency vehicles, etc.
● Always Plan: Whenever you are setting out to cycle in warmer months, you must keep a close eye on the potential and conditions that may lead to a fire. Keep your trip short and close to residential areas or your personal vehicle (if you are going off-roading). A foldable bike like the new Birdy standard 9-speed might be a good option so that you can just fold it and keep it in your car or in an emergency vehicle in case there is an emergency. You must avoid going deep in forests or far in off-road areas. Let your friends and family know where you are going, how far you are going and when you will be back. Make sure you know all the routes in the given area in case the fire blocks the paths. Also, keep an emergency app on your phone that can allow you to get in touch with emergency services or other authorities as per requirement.
● Know How To Deal With Smoke: You don’t need to cycle through an active fire area to be affected by its effects. Many times the smoke released by summer fires can travel long distances and reduce the quality of air in larger regions. If there are any such changes, make sure you check the air quality and see how comfortable it is for you to ride. Always put safety first as any small carelessness can threaten your, emergency services, and other lives under serious circumstances. No amount of fun or thrill is worth that risk.
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