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“We had a long winter,” but now it’s warm enough to get on those bikes! Tips on cycling safely

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The gorgeous weather we saw this weekend may have had you thinking about a bike ride -- or maybe even taking one. Spring is here, and it's finally getting warm enough for folks to get out and ride. It's important for both bicyclists and drivers to be conscious of each other, and to make safety a priority.

This weekend, State Fair Park's Expo Center played host to the 31st annual Wheel & Sprocket Bike Expo Sale.

"We had a long winter and people are itching to get outside again," Amelia Kegel with Wheel & Sprocket said.

The Bike Expo featured 2,000 bikes to choose from -- from road bikes to mountain bikes.

Those looking for the perfect bike had help from technology that utilizes infrared LED lights to capture your movements as you ride to find the bike that fits you best.

Once riders found that perfect bike, it was time to think about accessories -- like a bright, flashing light that can be visible up to a mile away.

"You`ll want to have a red blinking light on the back of your bike and a white blinking light on the front," Kegel said.

Because whether it's a commute to the farmer's market or to work, or simply a leisurely ride to relax, safety should always be a priority.

"What that means is stop at a stop sign. Stop at red lights. Obey the same rules as the road," Kegel said.

It is also good to wear bright, reflective clothing when you ride.

"Every pop of color that you can have against traffic is really going to help you out. So be bright. Be safe. Be loud. Be out there. Be a proud cyclist," Kegel said.

Olympic silver medalist Nelson Vails is a proud cyclist. He is the first African-American man to win an Olympic medal in sprint cycling.

"It`s truly an honor to actually be living cycling history," Vails said.

Vails was in Milwaukee this weekend to share his passion for the sport of cycling.

"The cycling passion comes from just having the freedom to be outside. I encourage everyone really to come out and just enjoy the bike paths that they have and the bike lanes that they have," Vails said.

The Milwaukee County Parks Department just released a new bike trail map this season.

"Park People," Friends of Milwaukee County Parks is hosting an "Oak Leaf Discovery Tour Passport" event, which begins on May 1st and continues all summer. Cyclists must purchase the Oak Leaf Discovery Tour Passport -- a pocket-sized book with photos and information about 26 Milwaukee County Parks locations along or near the Oak Leaf Trail.

When cyclists visit these destinations, they collect special stamps or keywords in their passport. Those who collect at least eight stamps or a combination of eight stamps and keywords are eligible to win prizes at summer's end.

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