John Degenkolb: The bright side of experience | Trek Bikes (CA)
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One professional's guide to safer rides

In January 2016, while on a training ride with his Giant-Alpecin team, cycling star John Degenkolb and five of his teammates were hit by a car. The news shocked the cycling world. Many of us have had a close call on home roads, but this was a group of seasoned professionals. Weren’t these riders immune to the challenges faced by the everyday cyclist?

The harsh truth of Degenkolb’s crash, which kept him off his bike for a significant part of his season, is that pros and amateurs alike face the same vulnerabilities and hazards. We all must take measures to avoid them.

At the time of Degenkolb’s crash, Trek was focusing its efforts on teaching cyclists how to enhance their visibility with the Fundamentals of Awareness. The discussion highlighted Bontrager’s line of Daytime Running Lights, lights specifically designed to draw attention during all hours of the day and night, as the best measure a cyclist can take to stand out on the road. For Trek, Degenkolb’s news was a poignant reminder of the importance of our mission. A year later, Trek-Segafredo welcomed Degenkolb to its roster and armed the team with Daytime Running Lights on all training bikes and an all-new fluorescent training kit designed to enhance visibility on the road.

Events like his 2016 crash, according to Degenkolb, change one’s approach to riding and the measures one takes to stay safer. “I have been competing most of my life and this was the hardest time of my career,” he said of his time immediately after the crash. “We have to do our training on the roads, and there’s always a risk. You have to be attentive and do whatever you can do to protect yourself—it’s just as important as putting on a helmet. I love this sport. I love to compete. But I also love my life away from it.”

Take it from someone with Degenkolb’s perspective. Daytime Running Lights are the obvious, easy, essential addition to every bike. “It makes sense that my bike should have lights just as my motorbike does. I’m surprised now that I’ve spent so much time without them. I hope that my experience can help other people.”

Our safer training recommendations

Flare RT

Make every ride safer with the first rear light designed for daylight visibility.

Ion 200 RT

A compact and powerful USB rechargeable front bike light that's daytime visible from up to 2 km away.

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