Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

During 2020, I spent quite some time in the saddle, and already riding more than 3500 miles this year. While working inside during the COVID pandemic, riding outside helped me keep my sanity and also gave me many opportunities to reflect on the incredible joys of cycling while sometimes also being challenged with concerns for safety.

Culture cannot be delegated. The truth is that our “values” should drive our behaviors. Connecting the way we act with those values is something we strive for. Only with forces more powerful than the forces that keep it the same can cultural transformation occur. Behaviors are observable, describable, and recordable whereas culture is ultimately evidenced in behavior.

What we experience all throughout life impacts the perceptions we carry. The longer we carry those perceptions the more they become the truths we believe, live by, operate under, and use to help us navigate life today. This phenomenon impacts everyone and can create positive and negative biases we carry with us about life and anything in it. Thus, it is clear that it also impacts how we behave on the road; the good and the bad; and that it influences unconsciously every road user. As we all know, you don’t control what others do in this life, but you do control how you show up.

This means a couple of simple things: It means that during every bike ride, every run or walk, every car ride,… you make a difference. You might only impact one person but you never know who’s watching and learning from you. So my message to you is simple: Ride with a smile, have fun, be a friendly and inclusive rider, wave to car drivers, thank them for doing the right thing in sharing the roads with you (even if according to you that’s what they should be doing anyway; don’t take things for granted). It’s my personal belief that every inclusive act we do as cyclists will make our world a safer place!

Hope that things will change is the melody of the future. Having the faith that things will change is dancing to that melody right now

Bike happy! Bike safe!

Cycling Hand Signals

(cover photo from

Never assume…

When you learn how to cross the road safely as a little kid or drive a car as a teenager, the hardest part is learning how to correctly anticipate what other road users are going to do. The easiest environment to accomplish that in would be when all road users would be providing each other insights in their upcoming actions.


As cyclists we can play a very big role in helping other road users (including our fellow cyclists!) understand our plan of action by using hand signals. Most common used hand signals, that every cyclist should know and use, are:


To signal a left turn, fully extend your left arm out to your side. Make this signal approximately 100 feet before you turn, to alert others and so that you can get your hands back onto your bike as you turn.


To signal a right turn, fully extend your right arm out to your side. Make this signal approximately 100 feet before you turn, to alert others and so that you can get your hands back onto your bike as you turn.


The most common hand signal used by cyclists is the “stop.” This signal is necessary because – unlike motor vehicles – most bikes don’t have brake lights. To indicate that you are stopping or slowing down, simply extend your left arm out, and bend your arm down at a 90-degree angle, with your hand open.

Optional call: “Stopping!”


Some others that can be useful at times are


With your arm outstretched, palm-down, and slightly behind you so cyclists behind you get a clear view of your hand, move your hand up and down at the wrist to indicate that you’re about to slow. Use this indication when you’re confident that you’re going to be pulling the brakes in order to significantly slow your speed.

Optional call: “Slowing!”


If you are approaching a hazard in the road, for example a pothole, manhole cover or drain cover, outstretch your arm on the side that the upcoming hazard will pass your bike and point to the floor. This will sometimes be accompanied by a circling motion – if there’s time.

Optional call: “Hole!”


For specific hazards where the effect will be a potentially slippery surface, take your outstretched hand, palm down and wave at the floor. This can also be used for a broken or unconsolidated road surface.

Optional call: “Gravel!/Loose!/Ice!/etc.”


Other things you can do as a cyclist to improve safe cycling with others is the use of specific calls. Some commonly used ones are:


Used when attempting to join the flow of traffic from a junction to indicate that the road is clear and the group can begin to move through the junction without stopping but, crucially, after slowing to check for traffic. As a result, this call should only be used when the junction offers a clear line of sight in both directions.


For use between cyclists, this warns a rider in front of you where you are in relation to them on approach. For example, calling “on the right” as you approach a slower cyclist from their right flank, and vice versa.


Warns of a car approaching from up the road, usually actively travelling towards the group. This call is used when the road is narrower than a dual-direction single carriageway with enough space for vehicles to pass each other without avoiding action.


Warns of a car approaching from the rear of the group, which means it’s also the only call which originates from the rear of the group.


Before you start a group ride, it is always beneficial to repeat these to ensure there is a common understanding of these signs and calls and getting everyone on the same page.

Remember, you are the easiest person to influence, and working on how you show up yourself is likely to have a far greater impact on others than anything else you can ever do. If you can understand how your own behaviors can and are contributing to the behaviors of others we can make a true change in road safety for everyone!

How being inclusive and aware while cycling can change the world…

During quite some time in the saddle in 2020, riding already more than 3500 miles this year
(which I tried to do mostly outside to keep my sanity of working inside my house most of the
time during this COVID pandemic), I have had many opportunities reflect on the amazing
joys of cycling while sometimes also being challenged with concerns for safety.
While most people tend to look at situations from their own perspectives, I often try to put
myself in others’ shoes and ask myself the question “what can I do?”… Not always easy for
sure, but most often the best way to reach results… At the end of the day when we address
bike and road safety it doesn’t matter who is right when it means we can’t all get home
Some general life guidelines to remember that might help all of us while riding our bikes but
probably also in life in general:

  1. Preparation is everything: Know where you are going! Know the route and be
    prepared for any potential unknowns. Make sure you are well prepared with the
    route (know the tough places, intersections, … and if you don’t know them, be
    prepared to slow down to assess them correctly), decide on your time of day (what
    are the busy moments?), come with charged lights, bring sufficient fueling (food and
    drinks) and also wear brightly colored clothing so you are easier to be spotted on the
  2. Awareness leads to understanding: Whether you are riding alone, with a few
    people or in larger group, being aware of your surroundings is key. I personally
    prefer to ride with cyclists I know as the ride becomes more predictable as you
    know/understand their “style”. Critical will always be to communicate your intentions
    while trying to understand as well the intentions of your audience (all other road
    users). Just as you would seek eye contact with others, a good communicator
    should be monitoring the audience for their views and intentions and adapting
    communications accordingly. It’s everyone’s responsibility to take safety seriously
    and do whatever you can to keep yourself and others safe instead of solely
    depending on others to do that for you. We all (need to) share the road, we all share
    the ownership for safety together.
  3. Timing is key: If you don’t communicate your intentions on the road at the right
    moment, you can either create an issue by raising a change in your course too early
    or react too late, leaving your intended messaging without anticipated reaction and
    creating potentially an (unintended) unsafe situation. Taking the right action at the
    right time and making sure that your communication is clear and visible can make a
    huge difference and create positive impact on all road users.
  4. Respect rules the world: If we step back and remind ourselves that there is a
    person driving the car, then we are already removing unnecessary friction, can
    hopefully respect a different view and seek to build compromise in our
    communications to diffuse potentially tough and/or unsafe situations. If we still would
    get concerned by another road user’s behaviour, the best response is to take a deep
    breathe (and maybe a short break), and refocus and reconsider your strategy. Too
    often, as emotional beings, we let the heart dominate the head. Try to be a second

ahead by remaining calm and taking a moment to focus and center in on your
message and meeting the other road user where they are at. It pays off in life in
general and will hopefully contribute to creating a safer outdoors for everyone…
Bike happy! Bike safe!