8 Top Tips to Prepare you for Commuting on your Bike

New to commuting by bike? Read up on these 8 handy tips

We may be a little biased when we say cycling is probably the best mode of transport to get you to work, but it’s true. Once you’ve got your bike, lock and helmet, you can forget all about parking, bus tickets, oyster cards, noisy commuters and delayed departures.

And if you’ve ever experienced a smelly, stuffy London tube, you’ve probably decided to look at one of the only positives of the London tube strikes – ditching the manic buses and jumping straight onto the saddle is pretty liberating.

Beginners Buying Guide: Buying your First Bike

We’re welcoming novice cyclists into the commuting world with open arms. But we do understand it can be pretty daunting if you haven’t been out there for a while. And whether you’re affected by the tube strikes or not, live in London, or nowhere near, here are 8 simple tips to help you on your way.

Check your bike

Make sure you check your bike before beginning your commute. Are the tyres pumped to the correct pressure? Does the bell ring? And is the seat in a comfortable position?

It’s important to check your bike over and to carry out a basic safety bicycle M-Check. This check will highlight any areas that need to be taken care of for it to be safe. As we like to say here at TWC: ‘Take care of your bike, and your bike will take care of you

Get into gear

Not all women can get away with an outfit like this on a bike, props to her!

However, this woman is not wearing what we or any cyclist would deem to be practical for a cycling commute, trust us when we say we’ve seen people actually pedal around like this!

Many associate cycling to Lycra and high-vis which is just not to everyone’s taste. Fortunately for the fashion and style conscious people out there, there’s a number of great cycling specific, and totally trendy, pieces out there to keep you safe, cool and looking fine.

Layering up

Our fabulous ever changing British climate likes to keep us on our toes. Your morning journey may be full of blue skies and chirping birds, only to be followed by an afternoon ride home in a chilly drizzle.

Learn to love base-layers and the comfortable warming properties of merino wool. Thin, temperature controlling and pretty, these base-layers can be worn under most clothing.

Keep away from the kerb

Try and keep roughly 50cm away from the kerb. Staying too close is dangerous.

This means you can avoid obstacles like drains and reduce the likelihood of clipping the gutter. It will also ensure that drivers are more aware of your presence because you won’t be tucked away at the sidelines.

Keep eye contact

Look directly at drivers, particularly at junctions and side roads, so that they are aware of and acknowledge you. 

Check out the New EU Law Means Mandatory Safety Features on New Lorries for a bit more of an insight on what’s being done to improve safety for cyclists.

Be careful when turning

Don’t cycle next to the inside of large vehicles. They won’t be able to see you. If you must move past them, overtake them on the outside.

Use lights and reflectors

Summer may be on the horizon but misty mornings and riding at dusk can still very be dangerous. Visibility on the road is key to any cyclist so grab yourself a good commuter light for your journey.

7 Most common bike light mistakes to avoid

Even parked cars can be dangerous

Photo: A View from the Cycle Path

Don’t ride near the ‘door zone’ otherwise, things could suddenly get a bit too close for comfort. Where possible, leave a door’s width between you and any parked cars. This can also go for pedestrians stepping out into the road from in between cars.

Cycling around town to the shops and to work can be fun and freeing, not to mention great for saving the pennies.

If you’re still keen on hopping on the saddle, we have further information and an in-depth beginners guide that will see you off to a flying start.

You may also enjoy:

10 things all cyclists wish all drivers understood

Defensive cycling tips to boost confidence

7 Things you need to be able to do for a safer commute

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