To celebrate it being Bike Week here’s how to get started as a cycling commuter.
If you’ve had a car since you first grasped your driving licence, then the idea of commuting on a bike to work can seem a little daunting.
You probably haven’t thought about being safe on the road since you passed your cycling proficiency test back when you were 10 years old, in which time you’ve been more concerned with your car’s MPG than with advancements in bike technology. You certainly don’t spend too much time worrying about signalling in a car or being squashed to the kerb either. For whatever reason, you’ve decided to bike to work. Maybe you’ve been enticed in by a tax free bike on the cycle to work scheme, or maybe you just want to burn fat, not your hard earned money on fuel.
So what do you need?
Your options are a Mountain Bike- good if you want something for weekend riding, a Road Bike, good for speeding down roads, but pretty forceful over potholes with their lack of suspension (get a good seat) a hybrid ( a mix of the two aforementioned) a BMX (If you’re under 30 in body and/or spirit) and a folding bike (handy for the car).
You’ll need a decent pair of shorts ideally, with a padded seat you can remove to wash. These do tend to feel like a full nappy, but on mile 40 on the weekend, you’re going to appreciate the extra protection between you and your seat. Seats come in two main styles, gel and foam. Selle Royal are the daddy of the seats we sell, and are so squidgy, you’ll probably be more encouraged to sit on it, even if your thighs are screaming from your last ride.
Getyourself a cycling jersey, (which is basically a synthetic t-shirt with elastication to hold it in place, and check it’s got a key holder at the back.) You might want a nice baselayer to go under it if you get cold. If it’s Winter, you should try get a windproof or waterproof jacket too.
After that you just need some shoes (clipless mean they clip in to your pedals- don’t forget!), a water holder and bottle, a saddle bag to carry your pump, multi tool, puncture kit and phone, some hi-vis or reflective gear and that’s it! Have a practice at signalling without falling into a heap at a junction, and when you ride try to get ahead of the cars at the traffic lights so you can get across first. Don’t jump lights, red means ‘something is coming’, and the chance of you reaching 0 - 30mph in 2 seconds to outrun it is both unlikely and dangerous. Check behind as you turn, and ride defensively. Make sure you have the right lights, one set to the front and rear, and also wear a helmet that fits- you don’t want to lose your brain before 9am. Cover your bike with a hi-vis cover so drivers can judge your width on the road, and don’t forget to keep a bike lock on your bike, a key on yourself, and a spare key at home!
If you need more info, click to see Bike Week Videos. (Available for a limited time)
If you’re commuting and you don’t want your meeting room to smell of your eau de puddle, we reccommend carrying: Dry shampoo, baby wipes, deodorant, a small brush – and do your make up after you arrive! (ladies). After arriving to GO HQ with cheeks smudged with eye-liner and lipstick all over my water bottle, I feel obliged to pass on my hard earned knowledge.)
Happy bike week!