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Some good advice for all cyclists

TOM STEPHENS

Editor: 1. Re: "Biking It - Scouts discovering America one mile at a time," Page C1, July 10. I'd like to sincerely thank the Daily Chronicle for the article and photos covering the recently completed trip by the Boy Scouts from Troop 33, sponsored by the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb. I'm sure many of the boys (young men!) are probably already looking forward to their next opportunity to go on a similar bicycle adventure. It's really great to learn what people can do and accomplish using their own mental and physical power or "steam" to cover all those miles and obstacles along the way. I'm sure a trip like that will help a boy become a better man. Thanks also to the First Lutheran Church for sponsoring the Boy Scouts - for God and country. I had wondered if our local ACLU might object to the Daily Chronicle's coverage. 2. Re: The July 14 letter to the editor from Jackie D'Onofrio of Esmond, "Some cyclists just don't know the rules of the road." In 1970 as an "old grouch" at the age of 38, I first discovered bicycling after a major surgery when I rode my son's 10-year-old 38# Schwinn Varsity for the first time, and then I started riding with a couple young teenagers in our neighborhood. From 1970-95, I bicycled several thousand miles in the United States (Michigan and Minnesota to Texas and Tennessee, Iowa to Pennsylvania), primarily on organized bike rides put on by local, state and national bicycling clubs and organizations, etc.; I took young people (ages 9 and up) and adults on organized rides; I was an officer in local (DeKalb County Bicycle Club), state and national bicycling organizations; and I taught bicycling (volunteer) at Northern Illinois University and Aurora University. I would agree with D'Onofrio about bicyclists needing to learn and obey the rules of the road - especially stop signs mean "stop," not stomp toe on pedal! Unless otherwise directed, learn to ride on the right side of the road, learn how to ride single file within a foot of the right side of the road and get off the road (if and when required) for one's own safety. My motto is that "there isn't much market for dead heroes." Some drivers hate bikers - human or motor-powered! A rearview mirror or a small one mounted on one's glasses can help protect other bikers in your group, as can one yelling, "Car back!" to alert everyone to get single file on the right side of the road. A horn of some sort sometimes scares off dogs (always look ahead for dogs, etc., which can easily cause serious bike crashes, especially if they get in the middle of a group of bikers.). Take a water bottle and tools to change a tire or tube, etc., if needed, and a light snack. Stop and rest a bit at the top of a big hill, if need be. I used to get out a small camera and "pretend" to take a picture if I needed a quick rest. Only you will know if you have film in the camera or if you're just "resting." Be good, have fun and thank God, and feel free to stop and commune with him. My motto was "Bike for life with God and you'll never bike alone." TOM STEPHENS DeKalb

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