One of the most common answers I get to my “you should ride there on a bike” (frequent!) comment is “I’m scared to ride it”, “I don’t like the idea of riding around in a city”, “I don’t feel confident enough”. This is sadly predominantly from a lot of my ladies. If you know me you know I’m never off my bike. Noteably more so when I have a Canyon bike to my name! Sadly when I look around at the traffic lights at other cyclists, 90% of the time they’re men! Come on ladies we got this too.
It’s hands down the nicest most efficient way to get around. More often than not it beats the bus, tube or car! So buh byyyye smelly sticky space invader tube, hello, fresh(ish!) air and commute based workouts. Just 30 mins of cycling to and from work 5 days a week adds up to a kushty 5 hours of exercise, which doesn’t really even feel like exercise when you’re cheating your tube ride home. Oh and you save yourself a ton of money! You. Are. Welcome!
Heres my 5 top tips for how to start riding your bike around town, whether your a girl or a guy!
- Get yourself a bike! It doesn’t have to be a fancy bike (less devastating if it gets stolen anyway!), but one you feel comfortable riding, and one that does the job it needs to. Get yourself a D lock – work out how to use it (it’s not as hard as you think it will be). Practice a couple of times before you leave the house. Before you know it you’ll be locking up your bike without thinking about it. One important point to note is that you need to place the D lock around the BACK wheel, INCLUDING the rear frame to keep it safe. Bare in mind it’s smarter to park in more obvious public spaces than dark alleys where thieves have more time to tamper!
- Map your route first – Knowing roughly where you’re going helps a lot. Google maps has a lovely little bike icon that maps out the best route for you by bike. Our dear friend Boris in London (that funny shaggy little/large politician) has worked a treat for cyclists! London’s “Cycle Super Highway” (see signs that say “CS…”) are just what we need around busy city like London. Start watching out for the blue cyclist signs and soon enough you’ll see pretty much everywhere you look there’s a completely different world for cyclists than motorists. My main thing I was “scared of” read: used as my biggest excuse to not cycle (along with 20 odd others – rain OBVS a fantastically constant one) was the HUGE roundabout near ours. We’d driven around it enough times for me to think – my God you must be bat shit
crazy to try and cycle around this (and thereafter London in general). Hey…what dya know…I don’t have to cycle in the roundabout (bit) at all, yes I go around it, it’s on my route to work but the cycle highway allows me to hop, skip and a cycle on the pavement NEXT to the mad crazy bat shit roundabout, notably not in it. So that’s that excuse out then. The only qualm is if there isn’t a Cycle Superhighway on your route…usually there is some sort of lane and if not…I’m afraid it’s a fly by the hair of your seat type jobby…but I promise that gets less terrifying the more you do it! If you drive the rules of the road are basically the same.
- Practice in the park first, even better go with a friend whose more clued up on the road. I recently took my Mum on a short loop along the river and into Battersea Park. She got to practice riding on roads and built her confidence up in the park itself. Just note with riding in parks there are often signs that tell you where you can and cannot cycle (you can be fined if you cycle in the wrong areas).
- There are a lot of courses available to you to help build your confidence. These provide a safe learning environment, try Cycle Confident or TFL.
- And before you ask….YES you need to wear a helmet – its your brain. Protecting you brain and your life is always cool,
There is SO much more to see in your city on a bike. Get out there, enjoy it! Find more of my tips on my blog post: Breaking Bike! Including how the bike lanes work and giving you (even more!) reasons why you need to get on your bike.
Don’t wait till tomorrow, start today! It’s beautiful weather for it! Stay safe. Have fun!
Sending health & happiness,
Bike provided by Canyon Bikes