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9 tips for bicycle commuters

Bicycle commuting is becoming popular amongst those seeking a more active and environmentally friendly method of getting to work.

Man commuting to work

If you live in a large city, the thought of bicycle commuting might put you off, but as long as you follow the rules, there should be no reason why this method of transport can't be as safe and reliable as any other.

We're constantly encouraged by the government and society in general to become greener, with many incentives now in place to reduce the amount of pollution on UK roads. Newitts has put together a short guide to the 9 things to consider when bicycle commuting.

Which Bike

If you've made the decision to cycle to work, your next big decision is which bike to choose that's best for commuting? You can ride to work on pretty much any bike you want, but spending time researching into the right type of bike to suit your route and your build is a better idea, particularly if you want to get there quicker and more comfortably. Spend time researching the different types of bikes available and obtain an explanation of the best choice for you.

The law

Make sure you are fully aware of the laws for cyclists on the roads. Larger cities such as London will post their own rules and recommendations online for cyclists, so it's well worth taking a look at these in order to stay safe on the roads. If you are unaware of the general rules of road cycling, enrol on a course to brush up on your skills, it could save your life.

The route

Before you embark on your commute, its best to spend time planning your route. Take a look at a map and work out in advance which route may save you the most amount of time and which route is the safest and will keep you away from potentially dangerous situations. Less experienced cyclists are advised to plan a route with bike lanes and less trafficked streets to avoid busy intersections. Google maps provides the option to display directions specifically for cyclists.

Bike-sharing

If you decide to participate in a bike-sharing scheme, it's well worth checking out the official website for routes and station maps. Some bike-share programmes even have apps for your iPhone.

Clothing

You should never ride a bike either on the road or off it without a helmet. You should also wear reflective clothing where possible, even in the daytime. Wearing protective clothing which is specifically designed for cycling is also very important. Newitts offers a large selection of cycling clothing ideal for your daily commute. For further information click here.

Be Prepared

On a bicycle, you'll be far more exposed to the elements than in a car, bus or subway. It is therefore important to take precautions to make sure you aren't caught out. Make sure you always carry a breathable waterproof jacket and trousers to ensure you are prepared for the rain. Carry a small towel to wipe the seat to avoid a wet bottom in rainy weather.

Road rules

Always obey your road rules to avoid getting into any sticky situations with other road users. Remember the golden rule - if you wouldn't do it in a car, don't do it on a bike. Always look behind you before pulling out - never assume a driver can see you. Be aware of pedestrians stepping onto the road in front of you at any given time, and never wear headphones whilst cycling.

Be courteous

Even if a car has almost hit you, remain courteous at all times to other road users by making the right gestures, moving into correct road positions early and making it obvious to drivers what you intend to do. If you experience an angry or irrational driver, ignore them and try to stay out of their way. Remain calm and avoid acting out of anger and adrenaline.

On arrival

Unless you're on your way to the gym, you'll probably be keen to look presentable on arrival at your destination. In order to achieve this, make sure you keep a full set of clothes at work to change into, including underwear and socks. A further tip is to carry baby wipes and deodorant if you really want to dress to impress!

 

Do you cycle to work? What tips do you have for people considering commuting to work on a bicycle?

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