5 top tips for cycling to work safely
Cycling to work is a great way to add exercise into your daily routine. It’s fun, good for you and the environment – and can save you money on fares and petrol to boot. However, if you feel nervous or lack confidence, you’re not alone – especially if you’re new to riding on roads, or haven’t got on your bike for quite a while.
This Cycle To Work Day – now in its fifth year – take inspiration from these tips from the organisers, for building your confidence and keeping you safe. Happy biking!
1 Invest in the right helmet and eyewear Any experienced cyclist will tell you these two go together. For eyewear, avoid dark and reflective lenses; those with a yellow or persimmon tint with built in UVA/B/C protection work best. Try them on together with the helmet at the shop.
2 Wear gloves Special cycling gloves help protect your hands (as nobody wants calluses) and keep you comfortable whilst riding. Choose a pair that fit well without restricting your movement. Tired hands often cause tired arms, then shoulders and a stiff neck, so they really are worth it – and you can pick a pair up cheaply these days.
3 Balance your luggage Balancing grocery bags off your handlebars? Stop! Your first concern should be safety, followed by comfort, then practicality. Female cyclists should look for specifically designed backpacks for optimum strap location and shaping across the hips. Chest and waist straps are ideal to take the load of those shoulders; even better is to take the load off completely and fit a pannier and rack combination. Make sure everything is rain-proofed and has easy to access for pass and keys so you can dismount, lock up and get to your destination with ease.
4 Buy lights and a decent lock Lights are a legal requirement [front and rear at night] and whether you choose a cheap set of British Standard [BSEN approved] lights or an expensive high-powered alternative, make sure they are removable so you can secure them against theft.
Your bike lock should be Sold Secure rated [by the Master Locksmiths Association] and will ideally comprise a D shackle to secure the frame and wheels, with a cable extension to pass though accessories such as helmet and saddle.
5 Always remember: be safe, be seen Apart from fending off unwanted blasts of rain and frosty chills, a bright or fluoro jacket will make sure you are visible to others in conjunction with your lights and the reflectors fitted to your wheel, frame and pedals. Light coloured or fluorescent jackets are recommended for day-time use and add extra-reflective accessories for use in the dark. The same can be applied to legwear, whether you choose to ride in work attire, or ride in shorts and get changed on arrival. Reflective ankle bands are also very effective.