Sunday, October 28, 2018

Bicycle Safety

Biking is fun and it is good exercise.  It is also a safety challenge.  Meet the challenge by following these four suggestions.
  1. Dress properly for bike riding.

    Always wear a bike helmet.  This is the most important measure for keeping yourself safe when riding a bicycle.  Most head injuries suffered by bike riders are preventable if they had used the proper gear.
    • You should always use a helmet that is safe and reliable. Here’s what to look for when purchasing a bike helmet:
      • A label showing that the American Standards Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundation has certified the helmet as safe.
      • Outer shell is colored bright yellow, white, orange, or red (to maximize your visibility to drivers).
      • Outer layer is constructed of hard plastic or polycarbonate, with a waterproof finish.
      • Lining is stiff polystyrene.
      • Strap and fastener are securely attached to the helmet.
      • If your helmet becomes damaged, replace it.
    • Think about the possibility of road rash if you crash.  Wear closed-toe sturdy shoes.  You might want to consider a long sleeve shirt and long pants.  Consider wearing lightweight gloves to protect your hands in the event of an accident.

  2. Choose the right bike and maintain it.
    • When seated properly on the bike, you should be able to put one foot on the ground without leaning the bike to one side or the other. Adjust the seat height if necessary.
    • Your bike should have red reflectors on the sides, rear, and pedals that are visible for 500 feet.  It should also have a headlight.
    • Examine the bike tires before each trip.  Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure.  Look for worn spots and punctures.  Fix or replace tires or tubes before setting out.
    • Check your brakes.  If they are in proper working order, you will be able to stop within 15 feet when riding at 10 miles per hour.
    • Rearview mirrors are optional, but many bicyclists find them helpful.

  3. Adopt good bike-riding habits.
    You must obey all traffic laws as if you were driving a car. If you are not familiar with the traffic laws in your state, consult the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a printed copy.  Here are some traffic laws that generally apply:
    • Ride with the traffic, not against it.
    • Stay to the right of the lane if there is not a designated bike lane.
    • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
    • Keep a safe following distance between you and the vehicle (or bicycle) ahead of you.
    • Look behind you and use hand signals before turning or changing lanes.
    • Don’t ride your bike through intersections without traffic signals. Walk it, especially if there is heavy traffic.

  4. Other “common sense” rules of the road:
    • Choose your route so you are riding on the safest roads possible to get to your destination.
    • Ride on well-maintained roads with smooth pavement, but look out for potholes, rough surface patches and debris in the road.
    • Drive defensively. Keep your eye on motorists, pedestrians, other bikers, parked cars. Look out for children or animals entering your path.
    • Always pay attention to your surroundings. If you are listening to a radio or tape player, your full attention is not on the drive.
    • Never bike while intoxicated, either from alcohol or drugs. It is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence, and just as illegal.
These four safety strategies will keep you protected as you ride your bicycle for fun or as basic transportation.

Making Bananas Last

If you buy bananas that are “just ripe” to eat and don’t get to them within a few days, they will over ripen. You can only make so much banana bread!

Instead, buy bananas that are not quite ripe, a little on the green side.  Take them out of the plastic bag and let them sit at room temperature.  If you want some to ripen faster, put a few bananas close to other ripe fruit (apples work well). When they are ripe enough, separate each banana from the bunch. Wrap each individual stem with plastic wrap to prolong their ripening process.

Exercise and Sleep

A regular exercise program, especially cardio exercise, has been shown to help people fall asleep more easily and have a more restful, better quality of sleep.  But for many people, exercising right before bedtime does not achieve these outcomes.  Try different times of day to exercise and see what works best for your quality of sleep.  In general, you probably don’t want to work out closer then 3 hours before bedtime.

Images from Pixabay.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Getting ready for cold weather

It’s time to prepare your home for cold winter weather. Consider the following steps.
  • Have your heating system inspected by a qualified contractor. This should be done annually to ensure your safety.
  • Change batteries in both carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. (Get some and put them up if you don’t have them already!)
  • Look for spaces inside and outside where cold air can enter. Check around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and wall penetrations for cables and phone lines. Caulk holes or replace worn weather stripping.
  • Add storm windows or attach plastic film on the inside to keep out cold air if windows are drafty.
  • If possible, replace old models of electric space heaters with newer ones which have automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing heating elements.
  • Be sure space heaters are at least 3 feet away from flammable fabrics such as upholstered furniture or curtains.
  • Check fire extinguishers to be sure they are charged. Make sure all family members know the proper way to use a fire extinguisher.