Anyone can start cycling. All you need is a bike and a sense of adventure. Cycling is not only a great way to travel; it helps you keep fit too, so read our tips to help you to get started and keep safe.
Try before you buy
A bike is a great investment; cycling regularly and replacing car journeys with a bike ride can help you get fit, lose weight and save money. But, how do you know if it’s right for you?
Before you buy, we recommend that you rent a bike for an hour or borrow one from a friend or family member. Start off small by riding to the shops or the park. It may take a few goes before you get the hang of it but as your body gets used to it you will begin to relax and enjoy the experience. The more you practice, the more your confidence will grow and the further you will want to explore.
When you’re feeling brave enough, why not try cycling to work or school? Swapping your usual bus, car or train commute for a bike ride not only saves you money, it will give you a much needed boost for the day ahead.
Choose the right bike
It’s important that you buy a bike that’s right for you. You should consider size, budget and the type of cycling you will be doing. Seek advice and try out different bikes to see how they feel. If you’re planning on using your bike every day you will need something more durable and should view the purchase as an investment. Think how much money you could save on bus fares, petrol and train tickets.
Plan your route
Before you set off on a bike ride, take a little time to plan where you’re going. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to stick to purpose built cycle paths or quiet roads rather that busy main roads.
Be Capable, Confident and Consistent
Cycling requires a combination skill, confidence and awareness. You need to keep safe, not take unnecessary risks and use common sense. Below are some simple tips on how to stay safe when cycling:
If setting out on your own, let someone know where you’re going and when you will be back. If possible, take a mobile phone with you.
Always be aware of what is happening around you; try and anticipate what other road users and pedestrians might do.
Get training. Local authorities, private instructors or even bike shops may offer road skills or Bikeability training courses
Be safe, be seen
You should always make yourself visible to other road users and pedestrians. Wear bright, reflective clothing if you can and never ride at night without any lights. If you want to be heard as well as seen, a bell is a great way to signal pedestrians and other cyclists.
Whether you’re going for a short ride to your friend’s house or a long trek through the woods, it always pays to be prepared:
- Take suitable waterproof clothing to allow for any changes in the weather
- Carry drinks and snacks to keep you hydrated and energised
- Take a puncture repair kit with you – just in case.