Cyclists versus Drivers. An age-old feud as epic and tumultuous as the Capulets versus the Montagues. But as our health conscious/ environment conscious/ money conscious society progresses, more and more lifelong drivers are starting to make the switch from four wheels to two. While there are a lot of benefits to changing your daily commute to a daily pedal, there are definitely some important things to keep in mind when you first start out. So, this is for all you newbie cyclists; a comprehensive beginner’s guide to the world of biking to work, or cycle-ology if you will (a terrible pun, we know).
We don’t have to tell you that you become a lot more vulnerable when you start riding your bike to work, so here are some important tips to keep in mind when you kick off your journey.
Ditch the Sidewalks
While you might be further away from the cars on the street, you are much closer to pedestrians even more vulnerable than you, who may not see or hear you coming around that corner. We recommend instead sticking to the bike lanes where you’ll find much less foot traffic.
Always Watch for Parked Cars
They may seem unassuming, but all it takes is for one distracted driver to open their door without checking for a cyclist first, for a nasty accident to happen. So, we recommend always trying to keep at least 3 feet of distance between you and the parked cars.
Lose the Tunes
We know, this one is especially hard to do. That morning jam sesh made those early morning commutes more tolerable. But in the bike lane, it is important to have your wits about you, so ditch the AirPods and reschedule that jam sesh for when you get home.
So, you have the obvious; bike and helmet, but there are a few other gadgets that we think every cycling commuter should own.
A Good Quality Bell
Some may say nerdy, we say necessary, especially if you are commuting on busy streets. Announce your presence from miles away to give people a chance to move out of your way and enough time to appreciate how cool you look zooming by.
Depending on how much gear your carrying, you might want to take your backpack, messenger bag, or sling bag. The most important thing to consider is weatherproofness. Make sure your carry of choice is equipped to protect your valuables from the elements. Of course, your bag will also need to feel comfortable.
Flat Changing Supplies
A flat tyre is pretty much inevitable in the life of a cycling commuter, so we recommend that it is best to familiarise yourself with the flat tyre changing process, as well as keeping a little kit on hand, (perhaps in your new bike basket?), filled with different sized patches, sandpaper and vulcanizer, which acts as a strong glue.
Stash Supplies in Your Office
One of the aspects of riding your bike to work that most likely puts people off is the idea of coming into work a sweaty, smelly, mess, and not having enough energy to make it through the day, let alone to cycle back home. So, to avoid this, prepping your office with supplies is an absolute must!
This one is a no brainer. Things like baby powder to de-funkify your damp feet, body wipes, extra deodorant and dry shampoo to refresh your helmet hair, will all become Godsends at one time or another.
This one is more for the end of the day, when the idea of pedalling and pushing is the absolute last thing you want to do. Giving yourself a little fuel before you ride could make the difference between a winning Tour de France ride or a slow one with lots of huffing and puffing. Healthy snacks in your office like bananas, nuts or granola bars could give you that extra zip you need to get started.
This is definitely a tip all commuting cyclists should implement. Newspapers can be fantastic for stuffing into your cycling shoes, helping them dry before you need to step back into them at the end of the day. We cannot think of anything worse than sliding your feet into a pair of still damp shoes, can you?