What do I need to start commuting by bike?
We think that riding to work is the best way to commute. And if you're still heading to a workplace, now is the perfect time to begin. Follow these expert tips to get you started
Jez Loftus, manager at Trek Bikes electrabike.com
“If you already have a bike in good working order, just pump up the tyres, oil the chain, check the brakes work, and you’re ready to roll. If it’s not seen daylight for a while, take it for a service. Some good-to-have accessories include USB-rechargeable front and rear lights, a good-quality D-Lock with cable, pannier bags, racks and mudguards plus a cycle helmet. It’s also wise to carry a few maintenance essentials in case you get stuck, including a spare inner tube, puncture repair kit and tyre levers, a mini pump, a multi-tool and charged spare lights. Remember that the best route by car isn’t always the best way by bike. To make your commute a more enjoyable experience try to reduce the need to ride on busy roads, seek out bike lanes, shared-use paths and quiet back roads. Minimise traffic lights and if time-keeping isn’t your strength, factor this into your route planning – the fewer junctions and traffic lights, the less time you lose waiting around. Also avoid passing schools at peak times when the roads are car-logged and the zebra crossings are in constant use. Check if your employer runs a cycle-to-work scheme – you can buy a bike, pay monthly through a salary-sacrifice scheme, and save up to 39 per cent on tax.”
Adam Tranter, Cycling Mayor for Coventry #BikeIsBest
“To help you commute comfortably I’d suggest fitting a rack and pannier bags as opposed to a rucksack, which will make your back sweaty. Panniers are an easy, waterproof way to carry your change of clothes, laptop, lunch and anything else you might need. For longer commutes that are still doable by cycling, you might want to look at an electric bike. They’re often more expensive but compared to a season pass for the train or the bus, or the price of car insurance, they can be really cost effective. (They’re now available on cycle-to-work schemes). I ride an e-bike and for longer journeys it means I can ride in normal clothes, not get sweaty and not have to worry about the hills or the distance. Consider what facilities you have at work too. If there is a shower you may want to mix up your commute so that you do a couple of days by bike and then the rest by another mode of transport so you can stock up with towels and a change of clothes at work. For routes I use Strava’s Heat Map function – it tells me where experienced cyclists tend to travel. It’s also essential to get a ‘test run’ in – to work out timing and make sure you’re comfortable and confident with the route. Start small then build from there. If you can swap one car journey a week that’s going to make a massive difference to your physical and mental health and the environment.”
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