Safety tips for a better ride

  • Dedicate some time to learning how to ride safely and with endurance.  The Copper Triangle may be one of the more challenging rides you’ve attempted – both physically and mentally.
  • Always stretch before and after riding.
  • Have your bike in the best mechanical condition possible. A touring or road bike is going to be the easiest to ride and is the most common type seen at the event.
  • Safety involves several items. The first is your helmet. DON’T GET ON A BIKE WITHOUT A HELMET. Safety equipment also includes gloves. If you fall they protect the palms of your hands. It’s also strongly encouraged to have a mirror on your helmet or your bike.
  • Carry a spare tube in case you have a flat. There are repair vans along the route, but chances are you will be waiting in line. Even if you do not have the knowledge to change a tire yourself, someone will be glad to help.
  • Ride to the right. Leave room for others to pass on your left. There have been close calls in years past because a passing rider was forced into the lane with oncoming traffic.
  • The greatest threat to your well-being on the route is not necessarily vehicles but other cyclists. Many riders may be participating for the first time and are not accustom to being surrounded by a few thousand cyclists. While this environment promotes certain euphoria, it also holds hidden dangers (i.e. running into each other and falling down).
  • Before you stop, pull to the side and make sure there are no bicycles or motor vehicles immediately behind you. Stop at the right edge of the roadway and immediately move off the roadway. Stay clear of the roadway. Stopping is especially dangerous at the crest of a hill or on a curve.
  • Call out to fellow cyclists when you are going to pass on the left or right or up the middle, or are pulling off or pulling on.
  • Be predictable and don’t weave. Ride in a straight line to make it easier for those riding behind you.
  • Don’t draft. Drafting in a crowd is dangerous to yourself and others around you. Drafting vehicles is also dangerous and will not be tolerated.
  • Obey signs, route marshals and traffic control.


Food and Hydration

You should always carry some type of high-energy food. Refreshments are available at aid stations, but there may be times between stations when you need a boost.

Please don’t put yourself in danger because you’re not drinking enough fluids. The temperature, wind, distance and previous day’s events all will determine your need for fluids. One rule of thumb is that a bicyclist should hydrate every 14 minutes. We recommend that you carry at least two water bottles; one with water and the other with an energy mix.  It’s important to replenish those precious minerals when exercising.

Sugar and carbohydrates keep your body going on the Copper Triangle, but don’t try to intake them all at one sitting. It’s much better to eat several times a day than to try to pedal on a full stomach. And, as all seasoned Copper Triangle riders know, there’s always an aid station just up ahead.


Road Signs

Understanding the meaning of each of these signs not only helps you, but also your fellow riders and drivers. Please take a moment to review these signs as you will see them all along the Copper Triangle route.

Obey Traffic Regulations

As a cyclist in Colorado, you are responsible to follow the same traffic regulations as other vehicles. Yes, bicycles are vehicles! This means stopping at red lights and stop signs, not crossing solid yellow lines and obeying all traffic laws. Ride on Right Side of Road; cyclists should always ride on the right side of the road because the course is open to motorists. There are townspeople commuting to work, farmers tending to fields and others that should not be hindered by cyclists taking up the roadway. Hogging the roads might anger motorists and create a negative image of cyclists and give our event a poor reputation. Be a courteous guest and please share the road.

You should ride as safely as possible and as far right as possible. If you hear a cyclist sound off, “ON YOUR LEFT”, this means they are attempting to pass you on your left. Do not turn your head to the left to look as you could collide with the approaching cyclist, but rather acknowledge them with a simple “THANK YOU” and let them pass. Be courteous and let faster riders pass. Do not force them into the left lane of the highway. If you want to hold a conversation, do not block the entire shoulder, please leave room to allow others to pass. And NEVER cross a solid yellow line.

The solid yellow line indicates that it is unsafe for motorists to safely pass in this area because it is difficult to see oncoming traffic due to hills, curves or other challenges. Likewise, it is extremely dangerous for cyclists to ride left of the solid yellow or double yellow lines. Cyclists should ride always ride right of solid yellow lines.

Car Up Car Back

These commands should be sounded off to alert fellow cyclists that a vehicle is approaching from up ahead “CAR UP!!!!”or from behind “CAR BACK!!!”. Cyclists should ride with caution, as far right as possible and single file to allow vehicles to safely pass.

Sound Off When Passing

If you intend to pass a cyclist or group of cyclists, please be courtesy and sound off, “ON YOUR LEFT”. This lets them know you are approaching and intend to pass them. If you rapidly pass them without signaling, the cyclists could be startled and steer into you causing a collision that could have been avoided. Make sure you signal enough in advance that you do not startle them with your announcement.

Sound Off When Stopping

When stopping, you should signal with your arm straight down and your open palm towards the rear and sound off, “SLOWING!!!” and then “STOPPING!!!”. If you are pulling off the road, please sound off, “RIDER OFF!!!”. Cyclists should pull completely off the road and shoulder to not block the road. Cyclists should not pull into a driveway and stop as this is a danger to the cyclist and a potential motorists.

Drink Water

Dehydration is a big concern for cyclists. You should always drink plenty of water before, during and after bicycling. A fatigued or dehydrated cyclist could cause injury to themselves or other cyclists. Even if you are consuming some type of an energy drink, you should still be drinking plain water.

Heavy Bike Traffic Ahead

This informs motorists to expect very heavy bicycle traffic. It does not tell the motorist that the cyclist has the right of way! It is there as a courtesy to the motorist and cyclists still need to obey all traffic laws.


Rules of the Road and Rider Etiquette

This list of rules for safety and etiquette has been developed as part of an overall Copper Triangle bicycle safety campaign. When combined with the legal rules of the road and when adhered to by riders, these rules make this event safe and more enjoyable for everyone. This section outlines these rules and gives some suggestions for physical preparation. For additional help, you might also like to visit our new road signs page!

1. The legal RIGHT

Obey traffic laws. In Colorado, bicyclists enjoy the same rights as motorists. In accepting those rights, bicyclists also assume the responsibilities for riding in a safe and legal manner by:

• Stopping completely at stop signs.
• Obeying yield signs.
• Not crossing yellow lines in your lane.
• Riding to the right.
• Signaling for turns.
• Not cutting corners.
• Riding in a respectable manner.

2. The RIGHT stuff

Keep your bicycle in good repair. Have it readied for Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle, and then keep it safe to operate. It is especially important to make sure your brakes work well.

3. The RIGHT gear

Wear a protective helmet. It is estimated that 84th % of bicycling accidents result in injury to the face or head.  Wear bright clothing to be noticed.

4. The RIGHT communications

Signal turns and stops. The law says you must, but this point can’t be emphasized enough. Most accidents on the Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle involve two or more bicycles and most are the result of riders not letting others know of their intentions.

Sound off when passing. Use phrases such as “on your left,” “on your right,” or “coming through the middle.”

5. The RIGHT riding

When stopping along the Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle routes, let those behind know of your plans. Make sure no bicycles or motor vehicles are immediately behind you when you stop. Stop at the right edge of the roadway and immediately move to the shoulder. Stay clear of the roadway, and park completely off of the roadway to make repairs, rest, visit, etc. Stopping is especially dangerous at the crest of a hill or on a curve, so be careful.

  1. Don’t weave. Ride in a straight line to make it easier for those riding behind you.
  2. Ride to the right. Leave room for others to pass on your left. There have been many close calls because a passing rider was forced into the opposite lane.
  3. When turning, turn left from the center of the roadway, turn right from along the curb or shoulder, and stay to the right.

6. The RIGHT frame of mind

Stay alert and use your brain when you ride. You must be constantly thinking and aware of what’s going on around you.

Pace yourself. The Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle is not a race. Not all riders travel at the same speed, so don’t try to keep up with someone who rides too fast for you. Riding too fast or in too high a gear is tough on your knees, heart and lungs.

7. The RIGHT attitude

Be considerate. The bicycling skills of those participating in the Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle cover the full range of the spectrum. Each rider must look out for someone else, as well as for himself.

Be a predictable rider. Don’t keep other bicyclists and motorists guessing about what your next move will be. A predictable rider is a safe rider.

Be courteous to passing vehicles and other bicyclists. Instead of riding several abreast, go single file and let those behind you pass.

Cooperate with Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle officials. State troopers and other law enforcement personnel will be present at busy intersections. Obey their signals.

Please stay on the marked route. The Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle route has been selected for your safety. Services are not available to you if you are off the route.

8. The RIGHT attention

Keep your head up and your ears open. Do not wear radio headphones while riding!

Give the right-of-way to emergency vehicles. Pull to the right and stop if you hear a siren.

Beware of loose gravel and watch for debris on the pavement. Trucks carrying sand, gravel and rock often spill some at intersections. It is sometimes necessary for the Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle to take unpaved stretches of road in order to avoid busy highways. Take extra care on unpaved roads, watching for loose gravel, rocks, soft spots, holes and ruts.

Avoid wide cracks in the pavement. Narrow bicycle tires can easily get caught in wide cracks. Be especially careful on roadways paved with concrete. Center cracks on concrete roads are dangerous.

Look out for railroad tracks and cross them at right angles. There are fewer tracks these days, but there are still rough tracks and some at bad angles. Raise yourself off your seat and stand on your pedals to absorb the shock and lower the center of gravity. Unclip from your pedals as you prepare to cross railroad tracks. Watch out for other riders and let those behind know of your intentions. Angled tracks and low shoulders are major causes of accidents.

9. The RIGHT condition

Get yourself in good physical shape. You should be in good shape and capable of riding those distances before you come on the ride. A good way to get ready is to join a local bicycling club. A sports health clinic can also provide you with suggestions for a good conditioning program.

Eat and drink frequently. Rather than loading up once in the middle of the day, stop frequently for fluids and food. Carry water with you.