Shining a New Light on Road Cycling Safety.

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PT Product Spotlight by David Bright, PT, MPT, COMT, SFMA and Chief of Physical Therapy

Cycling, whether it be road, gravel, or mountain is an amazing way to get fit. You can gain strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, and enjoy the outdoors while loading up on some vitamin D! It also allows an opportunity to exercise with others and creates social opportunities to connect with friends and family. Looking back, COVID did a number on many peoples mental and physical well being. Anxiety and depression are at an all time high for a number of different age groups. Being active and finding safe methods to exercise is a natural treatment for both of these conditions. Recently many have sought out cycling to help with both their mental health and physical wellbeing. A difficulty that many cyclists have run into is cycling safety on the road.

I have recently discovered, thanks to a gift from a great friend, the Garmin Varia TM RTL515. This device is a powerful light to help with visibility, but also has a radar mechanism that Bluetooth connects to, specific Garmin bike computers and alerts when cars are approaching. The device is great in that it alerts you to an upcoming vehicle and gives a color indicator for the speed of approaching car. It also has a visual dot indicator on the distance of the vehicle behind you. By being alerted to the vehicle before you hear it, I have found it lowers my stress and anxiety level when dealing with traffic and passing vehicles and increases my desire to spend more time on the cycling.

Product Specifications

  • Rearview radar with taillight provides awareness of vehicles approaching from behind up to 153 yards (140 meters) away
  • Pairs seamlessly with your Edge bike computer and compatible smartphone as well as select Garmin wearables or the radar display unit
  • When used with your compatible smartphone, the Varia app provides graphics — plus tone and vibration alerts — that indicate approaching cars
  • When used with a compatible smartphone, Varia radar integrates with third-party apps such as Ride with GPS to overlay your maps with rearview radar alerts
  • Daylight visibility up to 1-mile alerts motorists to your presence as soon as possible
  • Compact vertical design mounts easily to most road-use bicycles
  • Peloton mode provides a low-intensity light flash that is perfect for cycling in groups
  • Battery life: up to 16 hours in day flash mode, up to 6 hours in solid mode

Cycling is an amazing form of exercise that makes many of us feel like a kid again and experience speed and distances we cannot replicate on foot. While there will always be risks and challenges to spending time road cycling, finding tools and techniques to increase enjoyment and decrease risk and stress of the experience are always worth sharing. Adding the the Garmin Varia TM RTL515 to your cycling tool kit allows you to ride your bike as stress free and as safely as possible.

Excel Rehab & Sports has the therapists and training to serve you, whether you are seeking treatment for an injury, illness, surgery, or sports enhancement. We take care of patients in all phases of the healing process, from initial diagnosis through treatment and preventive stages of injury. Physical therapy may be a standalone option, or it may support other treatments you receive. Either circumstance, we work with our patients to return to a healthier version of themselves and achieve their fitness goals.

David E. Bright, PT, MPT, COMT, SFMA a co-founder of Excel Rehab & Sports, earned his Master of Physical Therapy from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. David specializes in orthopedic care with an emphasis on foot and ankle conditions and is skilled in biomechanical analysis and custom orthotic fabrication. David has earned accreditation by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Performance Enhancement Specialist and holds manual therapy, Therapeutic Dry Needling (TDN), Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) and Advanced SFMA certifications