Are you ready to ditch the crowded public transportation and start pedalling your way to work? Road cycling in a busy city centre can be a great way to get your daily dose of exercise and fresh air. But it's important
to stay safe on the road and avoid any potential mishaps.
Not only is road cycling a convenient and eco-friendly way to get to work, it can also be a fun and exciting way to start your day. Here are twelve tips for road cycling safely to work in a busy city centre:
Invest in a good quality helmet. It may not be the most fashionable accessory, but it could save your life. Plus, it's a great way to protect your noggin from any unruly kamikaze pigeons or low hanging branches.
Stay visible on the road. Wear bright and reflective clothing to make sure you can be seen by other road users. You can also add reflective tape to your bike or use a flashing light to make yourself more visible in low light conditions. There's nothing wrong with looking like an over-sized disco ball if it means other road users can see you coming from a mile off.
Plan your route in advance and stick to it. Avoid busy roads, narrow roads, and roads with poor surface conditions. Apps such as Strava and Garmin are great for this. You can create routes before you set off, so you can ensure you avoid everything suggested here, before setting off to work.
Make sure your bike is in good working condition before hitting the road. This means checking your brakes, tires, and lights regularly to ensure that they are all functioning properly. Better to know if you your brakes work or not before setting off vs. when approaching a red traffic light!
Be well-prepared for your journey. Have the necessary tools, such as a pump, spare tube, and repair kit, to deal with any issues that may arise during your commute. If you haven't done it for a while, practice changing a tyre in the warmth of your home. Realising you don't know how to do it when it's 5 degrees; you're stuck on the side of a road, and your hands are frozen really isn't a great look.
Invest in a decent quality rucksack to carry your work stuff in. If you're commuting on a road bike then you'll be more hunched over than upright. To stop your bag swinging around and putting you off balance, use one that has adjustable straps for your waist and chest. I use one of these and it keeps everything nice and snug and, more importantly, I don't end up with a bag baby if ever having to make any sudden moves to avoid hazards.
Always be on the lookout for potential hazards. Keep an eye out for potholes, debris, cars coming out of site roads, and slippery surfaces that could cause you to lose control of your bike. And if you do happen to encounter any of these things, try to avoid them or slow down as much as possible. Or, in the case of cars at junctions, make yourself as big as possible by sitting upright in your saddle to increase the chances of you being seen.
Use clear hand signals to let other road users know your intentions. This will help prevent any misunderstandings and keep you safe on the road. It'll also let crazy Uber drivers know exactly what you think of their driving 'skills' (using the term very loosely!)
Where possible, use cycle lanes to help keep you safe and reduce the chance of an accidents. Admittedly, some of them are in of serious repair but in the main, they're in better nick then riding in the middle of a busy road full of potholes.
Avoid Distractions. Avoid listening to music or using your phone while riding. This one drives me nuts when I see other cyclists on the road with earphones in. Even if you can still here things around you, it's best to have ears fully open for any sounds of other road uses. Especially with the rise of electric cars, which aren't as noisy as their petrol /diesel counterparts. Being fully aware and focused on the road will help reduce the chance of an accident.
Follow the rules of the road. This means stopping at red lights and stop signs, and give pedestrians right of way when legally necessary to do so (or even if it isn't, if you just want to be nice and courteous).
Finally. Try to have fun! Cycling to work can be a great way to start your day, so enjoy the ride, keep things nice and steady. There's no need to trying smashing any Personal Bests. Safety is the priority here, not performance so take it easy and make the most of it.
Remember, road cycling can be a fun and healthy way to get to work, but it's important to
stay safe and aware of your surroundings. By following these tips, you can make your morning commute a breeze and arrive at work feeling energised and ready to tackle the day ahead. Unless you're starting from a place of being unfit. Then you might find that you feel utterly shagged at the start of your day following a ride into work, but stick with it... A cycling commute will make you feel more energised for the rest of your day if you stick with it. Promise.
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