Tyler Farrar’s Tips for City Biking

Tyler Farrar is in the news for winning Stage 3 of a French bicycle race known as the Tour de France. This is of local interest because back in 1984, Farrar was born in the sleepy hamlet of Wenatchee, and he has not stopped bicycling since. Also, it’s his first Tour stage win. It’s kind of a big deal.

There are 21 stages to the Tour, so Farrar can’t relax yet. Actually, as a sprinter, his objectives change dramatically throughout the Tour–on the flats, he’s the man of the hour, but during the mountain climbing expeditions, his team will present a different strategic face. (Here’s a great shot of Farrar leading his team, Garmin-Cervelo.) Let’s let AP catch you up on the action:

All this reminds me that back in 2008 I got to interview Farrar via email, and decided to pick his brain about cycling in the city. (He lives now in Belgium, so grain of salt. He didn’t know what a “sharrow” was.) This is all great advice, from the current Tour stage winner.

MvB: Tips for the urban biker! Say a friend of yours came up to you and wanted to know 5 things they should know/do as a city biker. What would you tell them?

Tyler Farrar: 1. Keep your head up! Too often I see people riding through traffic without even looking where they are going. How are you going to avoid the car that just cut you off if you are staring at your feet?

2. Ride like you drive your car. Sometimes people seem to think that the basic rules of the road don’t apply to them when they get on a bike. Don’t run red lights, don’t cut people off, look before you change lanes, just like you do when you drive.

3. Don’t ride at night without a light and reflectors. I can’t believe it when I see some guy riding down the street in the dark wearing black clothes.

4. Always be on the lookout for new rides. If you do the same three rides over and over you will eventually get tired of them no matter how good they are. Check out a map and try some new roads, you might find some cool places.

5. Have fun!