8 Tips for Novice Cycle Commuters

8 Tips for Novice Cycle Commuters

We are all being encouraged to cycle to work these days, which is great because it is so much fun. Certainly more fun than being squashed into a train carriage! If you're new to it, check out our tips to make it go smoothly. You can also find some great commuting electric bikes here. 1) Embrace Colour. British drivers are still not that used to seeing bikes on the road. Until they are, it's a good idea to do as much as you can to stand out. Orange gives the greatest contrast to the urban environment, so an orange helmet or panniers can help you to be seen, even if they don't match your outfit! 2) Posture Perfect. You don't want to arrive at work already with backache and stiff shoulders yet it's very easy to ride to work with a poor posture. Relax your shoulders and bend forward from the hips, not the lower back. Good posture helps you breathe better too, so you'll find you don't have to huff and puff so much when you improve your seated position. If in doubt, book an appointment with us and we can make adjustments to how your bike fits you and show you saddles and grips that will encourage you into a better position. 3) A courteous call out. If you need to pass a fellow cyclist, it's a good idea to call out to them with a friendly, "(passing you) on the right!" before you do so. Try to give them a wide berth of course. It all helps to make the cycling community work together in harmony. 4) Keep tyres pumped! The last thing you want on a trip to work is a puncture. You can’t control whether there will be thorns or broken glass on your route, but you can control the pressure in your tyres. Look on the side of the tyre and it will have a guide pressure stamped on it eg. 40-60 PSI. You’ll need a pump with a pressure guide to get it spot on, but failing that use the ‘basketball test’: give your tyres a sharp tap with your fingers. If it sounds and feels like a basketball, the pressure is about right. 5) Use your eyes. It goes without saying that you should look where you’re going, but you would be amazed at what a difference it makes if you make eye-contact with other road users. Research is showing that motorists will take more care around you if you can make eye-contact with them. Also, learn to perfect the act of looking over your shoulder often when riding. You can get mirrors for bikes but none give as clear a view as taking a moment to glance back. 6) Keep your hands warm. Even in summer, your hands can get cold during a ride. Cold hands tend to lose dexterity when they get to around 12 degrees Celsius and below. Wear gloves and you’ll feel in control of your bike. 7) You may use the full lane. Cyclists do not have to ride in the gutter. Right beside the kerb is where you’re likely to ride over things which will puncture your tyres, and riding very close to parked cars can leave you vulnerable to having a car door opened on you. Pedestrians will sometimes start to cross the road without looking, especially during the rush hour, so give yourself ample margin between your bike and the pavement. It might feel at first that you are holding cars back, but cars can quickly make up time once they can safely pass you. A driver’s impatience is not worth risking your safety over. 8) Feel your way into it. It’s a big ask to become a full-time cycle commuter from scratch. Give yourself plenty of time for your first attempt and even arrange with your employer a later start on your first cycle to work day if possible.

All comments

Leave a Reply