THE SUBARU ELEPHANT ROCK IS CONDUCTED ON OPEN ROADS WITH VEHICULAR TRAFFIC PRESENT. THESE ROADS INCLUDE BOTH MARKED AND UNMARKED HAZARDS. THOUGH WE GO TO GREAT LENGTHS TO MAKE THE TOUR AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE, YOU ARE ONLY AS SAFE AS YOU RIDE. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOUR SAFETY IS IN YOUR OWN HANDS AND RIDE BY THESE RULES:
RULES OF THE ROAD
- Concentrate first on learning how to ride safely and building up endurance.
- Always stretch before and after riding.
- Make sure your bike is mechanically sound. A touring or road bike is recommended and will be the most common type found at the event.
- Helmets are required but for your safety, we also strongly encourage you to wear gloves and use a rearview mirror.
- Carry a spare inner tube as well as a CO2 cartridge and know how to change a flat. There are bike technicians at each aid station should you have more serious mechanical problems.
- Ride to the right and please leave room for others to pass on your left, where appropriate.
- The greatest threat to your well-being on the route is not cars or trucks but other cyclists. Many riders may be riding for the first time surrounded by thousands of other cyclists. And, while this circumstance promotes certain euphoria, it also holds hidden dangers, such as bumping into each other and falling down.
- Before you stop, make sure no bicycles or motor vehicles are immediately behind you. Signal then stop at the right edge of the road and immediately move off the roadway. Stopping is especially dangerous and not recommended at the crest of a hill or on a curve.
- Call out to fellow cyclists when you are passing, stopping or pulling off.
- 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.
- Know what all road and event signs mean and please obey them.
FOOD AND HYDRATION
You should always carry some type of high-energy food and 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 drink water every 14th minute. We recommend you carry at least two water bottles with you. That being said, water alone is not enough. When we exercise and sweat, we lose precious minerals that need to be replaced through hydration and sports drinks to replenish important vitamins and nutrients.
Understanding the meaning of each of the following signs, will not only help you but also other cyclists and motorists. Please take a moment to review these signs as you will see them throughout Elephant Rock.
OBEY TRAFFIC REGULATIONS
As a cyclist in Colorado, you are responsible to follow the same traffic regulations as other vehicles. This means stopping at red lights and stop signs, not crossing solid yellow lines and obeying all traffic laws.
Ride to the Right
Cyclists should always ride on the right side of the road. Since all roads utilized during the event are still open to motorists, we cannot ride on the left side of the road as well. There are townspeople that need to get to work, farmers tending to fields and others that should not be hindered by cyclists taking up both sides of the road. Hogging the roads might anger motorists and create a negative image of cyclists in their mind. Be a good guest and share the road!
Allow Others to Pass
You should ride as safely as possible to the right when 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 safely on your left. Do not force them into the left lane. If you want to hold a conversation, do not block the entire lane. Leave a passing lane in the right hand lane.
Don’t Cross Solid Yellow Lines
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 solid yellow or double yellow lines. Cyclists should always ride as far right as possible and safe.
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 and attempt to ride as far to the right 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. If you rapidly pass them without signaling, the cyclists could be startled and steer into you causing a collision that could have otherwise been avoided. Make sure you signal enough in advance that you do not startle them with your signal.
SOUND OFF WHEN STOPPING
When stopping, you should signal with your arm straight down and an 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 avoid blocking traffic. Cyclists should not pull into a driveway and stop as this is a danger to other cyclists and motorists.
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 drinking other energy/hydration fluids, you should still be drinking water.
HEAVY BIKE TRAFFIC AHEAD
This informs motorists to expect very heavy bicycle traffic ahead. It does not tell the motorist that the cyclist has the right of way! It is there as a courtesy to motorists. Cyclists still need to obey all traffic laws.
RULES OF ROAD & SAFETY ETIQUETTE TIPS
The following rules of the road and safety etiquette tips have been developed as part of an overall Elephant Rock bicycle safety campaign. When combined with the legal rules of the road and adhered to by riders, the event becomes much more safe and enjoyable for everyone.
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 optimal condition. It is especially important to make sure your brakes work well.
3. THE RIGHT GEAR
Wear a protective helmet. It is estimated that 84% of bicycling accidents result in injury to the face or head. Wear bright clothing to be noticed.
4. THE RIGHT COMMUNICATION
Signal turns and stops. The law says you must, but this point can’t be emphasized enough. Most accidents on the tour 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,” “slowing,” or “stopping”.
5. THE RIGHT RIDING
When stopping along the course, let those behind you 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 road and immediately move to the shoulder. Stay clear of the roadway when making repairs, resting or visiting. Stopping is especially dangerous at the crest of a hill or on a curve, so please be careful.
Don’t weave. Ride in a straight line to make it easier for those riding behind you.
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.
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. Elephant Rock 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. Bicycling skills of those participating in Elephant Rock cover the full range of the spectrum. Look out for yourself and others.
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, ride single file and let those behind you pass.
Cooperate with event officials. State troopers and other law enforcement personnel will be present at busy intersections. Obey their signals.
Please stay on the marked route. The routes for Elephant Rock have 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 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 Elephant Rock to take unpaved stretches of road (gravel route aside) in order to avoid busy highways. Take extra care on unpaved roads, watch 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 your center of gravity.
9. THE RIGHT CONDITION
Train in advance and come in good physical shape. You should be capable of riding longer distances before you come on the tour. A good way to get ready is to join a local bicycling club or work with a personal trainer/coach.