We talk bike safety with the Philippine representatives for this year’s upcoming Prudential RideLondon

By Catherine Orda | Photo courtesy of Pru Life UK

Bike safety is not only about the decisions you make during a ride but also about the ones you make before hitting the road. The key is to equip yourself with essential safety gear—and a comfortable, sturdy helmet doesn’t even cover half it.

What is considered essential when it comes to safety gear is more specific than general, more specialized than basic. Helmets are the bare minimum, and, as is rightly the case, safety equipment can be customized according to a cyclist’s unique quirks.

In the recent athlete send-off for this year’s upcoming Prudential RideLondon, we got to talk to some of the cyclists who will represent the country. The cycling festival, which is considered the largest of its kind, will take place over the weekend of July 28 to 29 in the capital of the United Kingdom. Here’s how the Philippine delegates will be ensuring their safety (and hopefully, their victory) in the upcoming race:

The Basics: Good Eyewear, Right Bike Fit

It may seem like a small thing, but the two-time gold medalist Jermyn Prado swears by the indispensability of a good pair of sunglasses. “Sakin talaga shades ‘yung pinaka-importante. Especially kung may dumapo sa mata mo or may mga tumalsik na mga debris. Kailangan safe talaga mata ko kapag nasa bike ako.” Speed is in the nature of this sport, so it’s a given that random particles and the harsh swiftness of the wind will deter a cyclist’s vision. Stark, oppressive shards of sunlight also pose a challenge—especially when it comes to cycling in a tropical country.

The Philippine representative for the Brompton World Championship Jun Minagawa always heavily prepares for his races:  “For the long rides, I always have my bike tools just in case I encounter flats and other technical concerns. I want to be able to fix them right away on my own. Aside from that, I always bring water to keep myself hydrated. I also always bring bananas”

Jeremy Maraña, the 17-year-old national champion for Individual Time Trial Women’s U-23, also values eyewear: “Kailangan talaga lagi ko suot yung glasses ko.” The young athlete has also grown accustomed to always ensuring that the most fundamental aspects of a bike ride are secured: “‘Yung bike ko siyempre kailangang tama yung fit sakin. Kailangan komportable ako during training and during the race.”

The Specifics: Bike Tools, Nutrition, Lights

The Philippine representative for the Brompton World Championship Jun Minagawa always heavily prepares for his races:  “For the long rides, I always have my bike tools just in case I encounter flats and other technical concerns. I want to be able to fix them right away on my own. Aside from that, I always bring water to keep myself hydrated. I also always bring bananas.”

For the upcoming race in the UK, Minagawa will be doing the same. “Siyempre I don’t know the route, baka mamaya walang stores, at least may dala akong bananas and water to nourish myself.”

John Kenneth Cruz, another delegate for the UK race, believes in a particular value when it comes to ensuring safety: “Kailangan talaga na maging self-sufficient ka sa ride eh. Walang ibang tutulong sayo kung di sarili mo lang. So in the upcoming race, I will be bringing bike tools, blinkers, safety front lights. Mahirap na pag wala kang makita sa dilim.