12 tips for a first-time cycling commuter
1st Sep 2022
We are sure that #CycleSeptember is going to prompt many people to cycle to work for the first time.
Here are our top tips for those of you who haven’t braved the rush hour commute before:
BEFORE YOU GO
- PLAN YOUR ROUTE. Take a couple of minutes the night before to see whether there is a non-main road route available. Look for quiet streets or canal towpaths. We suggest checking out https://www.cyclinguk.org/journey-planner or an app such as Bike Hub
- LIGHTS!!! If it’s dark, then by law you need to have lights on your bike. It’s also common sense to make sure that other road users can see you.
- PREPARE YOUR BIKE. If you don’t use your bike very often, it’s worth spending 10 minutes pumping up the tyres and adding a bit of lubricant to the chain. Our in-house engineer, Dan, has a handy video to help you make sure that your bike is ready to go.
OUT ON THE ROAD
- KEEP LOOKING. Obviously, this includes aheadfor road obstructions, such as potholes and drains so you don’t suddenly have to swerve to avoid them, and other road users as well as upcoming traffic lights and roundabouts etc. Don’t forget to regularly check what’s going on behind you as well.
- BE READY TO BRAKE. Keep BOTH hands on your brake levers, so that you are ready to use them. Use both at the same time and apply pressure evenly, taking extra care if it’s wet or icy or if there are leaves on the ground.
- SIGNAL CLEARLY. Well in advance of turning, look behind you, then signal and manoeuvre when it is safe to do so.
- NEVER UNDERTAKE LORRIESon the left-hand side, especially at junctions – even if there is a cycle lane and advanced stop line tempting you to sneak up the inside. You are likely to be in the driver’s blind spot. If you feel confident to overtake, do it on the right.
- KEEP AT LEAST ONE METRE FROM THE KURB. This gives you more room to get out of harms way if a car tries to overtake you when it is not safe to do.
- KEEP AWAY FROM PARKED CARS. A parked car doesn’t mean an empty car! Avoid collisions with opening doors by keeping as far away from parked cars as possible.
- EYE CONTACT. This may tell you if the driver has seen you.
- PEDESTRIANS Slow down and give pedestrians lots of space on shared paths, where they always have priority.
- IT’S NOT A RACE. There’s no need to cycle aggressively or turn up to work drenched in sweat, he says. Leave yourself a little bit of time and enjoy the ride.