"Avoid dangers by recognizing them"

Couple sit on bench next to their racing bikes

"Avoid dangers by recognizing them"

Severin Schefer, managing director of the Swiss Bike School, gives safety tips for racing bike riders.

What are the biggest risks in riding a racing bike?

Road traffic is definitely the most dangerous part, because there is always the risk of being forced aside by a motorist or motorcyclist. Obstacles on the street, like gravel or potholes, can be dangerous because the thin racing bike tires have less grip than broad mountain bike tires, for example. Racing bike riders also start to skid quickly under wet conditions.

What mistakes should I avoid as a racing bike rider?

If possible, you should avoid riding during rush hour as well as on busy streets. Both considerably increase the risk of motor vehicle collisions. Furthermore, you should never underestimate the high speeds you can reach going downhill, especially on a racing bike. This does not increase the stopping distance proportionally, but rather squared – i.e. twice the speed: four times the stopping distance.

What can I do to increase safety?

Good equipment makes a great contribution towards safety: helmet, gloves and glasses ensure that less can go wrong in a fall. Keeping your bike in good condition is important too. Because who wants to have a brake cable snap suddenly while they're going downhill? And last but not least, safety training is also worthwhile.

Why is safety training worthwhile – after all, we all learn to ride a bike as a child?

Training provides me with safety, and that means confidence in myself and my bike. If I assess myself realistically, I can react better in dangerous situations and avoid many dangers before they arise.

What is your personal riding tip for racing bikes?

Good preparation is half the battle. You should plan in advance when and where you want to ride and with whom. If the bike and equipment are also in a good condition and you've got a phone, spare parts, beverages and snacks with you, there's nothing to stop you enjoying your ride.

Severin Schefer
Severin Schefer has been the managing director of the Swiss Bike School since 2017, which he manages together with his father, Daniel Schefer. His mission is: "As a former top athlete, my wish is to pass on my wealth of experience and my passion to the cyclists." He runs courses and tours in Switzerland. He is particularly fond of being out and about in Sölden, Davos and Winterthur.

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