On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy, a Category 2 hurricane, hit the Atlantic coast, killing over 200 people and bringing parts of New York City to a halt. In the wake of the devastation, professional cyclists took to the streets to bring food and other supplies to far-reaching parts of the city that couldn’t be accessed by traditional modes of transportation. Now, in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Floridians are finding out once again how useful bikes can be in the midst of disaster.
Bicycles have always been one of the most reliable forms of transportation in emergency situations. Unlike other vehicles, bikes require no fuel, which can be impossible to come by in a disaster-stricken area. Bikes have no engines to become waterlogged by floodwaters. Most importantly, bikes can pass over various terrains, weave through streets that are impassable for larger vehicles and can even be carried when necessary. In fact, bicycles have proven to be so useful in disaster situations that some cities now hold disaster relief trials for bicyclists to help them train and prepare to use their bikes in post-disaster emergency situations.
Although not all areas here in Florida have benefited from disaster training for cyclists, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your bike as the ultimate disaster tool in the wake of Hurricane Irma. But don’t head out unprepared! Here are some tips from a few expert bicyclists from our local bike shop in Naples, FL on how to use your bike for transportation in severe weather conditions:
- Know your route: Whenever possible, stick to a route you’re already familiar with. Rain and rising waters can quickly fill potholes, storm drains and other spaces. Being familiar with your route can help you avoid potential dangers.
- Avoid currents and moving water: A bike can tackle rising waters to some extent, but you want to avoid rushing waters and currents. If a flooded area you are approaching shows signs of fast moving water, find an alternate route and don’t attempt to cross.
- Dress properly: Plan ahead and dress for the situation if you’re going to be heading out in heavy rains or floodwaters. Some cycling suits are waterproof and can be purchased at any local source for bike sales in Naples, FL. If that’s not an option, look for a rain poncho, particularly one that can cover you and your bike.
- Get your bike ready: Use an extra thick chain grease to grease your bike chain. This will help prevent the water from washing away the lubricant and jamming your gears. You’ll also want to increase your visibility by equipping your bike with waterproof LEDs and reflecting strips to ensure that other vehicles can see you.
A bicycle can be the ultimate tool for transportation in case of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Just be smart and stay safe. For more information on bikes and bike accessories that are ideal for use in severe weather, stop in to Big Momma’s Bicycles today.