Beat the rat race…Commute on 2 wheels not 4

Top 5 tips for starting with Cycle Commuting

Traffic free, fresh air, freedom and occasional sunshine. These are all the things you can have by riding the bike to work and leaving the car at home.

Here is a 5 step guide to getting what you need to start you off.

Step 1 – The noble steed

A rigid, lightweight hybrid bike is all you need.

Forget suspension and big fat tyres, don’t get me wrong it does look cool, but it will slow you down. If you want to be the fastest on the road and let’s face it, we all do, then when buying your commuting bike less is more.

A hybrid bike will offer a bigger wheel with a thinner tyre, allowing you to cover more ground quicker, with less friction and therefore less effort.

Hybrid bikes start from around the £250 mark and go up when more “bling” is added.

Step 2 – A fashionable hat

A lightweight, good fitting helmet.

Trust me, they don’t all look bad. Most people you will speak to about wearing a helmet, will express their joy and excitement of how it makes your head look twice the size it actually is.

Maybe 10 years ago this was a problem, but now there are a fantastic selection of helmets which can look good and keep you safe.  Safety is of the upmost importance when on the bike and that’s what we are aiming for, but if you can feel comfortable in it as well, then it all helps.

Helmets start anywhere around the £20 mark and are all built to the same safety standard.

Step 3 – The repair kit

A multi-tool, spare tube, micro pump and puncture repair kit.

Above are the essentials you will need in getting from A to B without any problems.

Some people may never get a puncture and others seem to attract them, but either way carrying these tools will ensure you can survive.

It’s a fairly simple job to change a flat tyre on a bike and if you’re unsure then there’s plenty of tips and advice on the internet, failing that you could always source help from your local bike shop.

Have a practice before hand and you’ll know exactly what you’re doing for the big day.

A good quality repair kit will cost in the region of £35.

Step 4 – The route

Planning a good route can save time and be a pleasure.

If you plan your route, you can firstly save time on your commute by finding the easiest way to the office, or more importantly the fastest way home. There are lots of places a bike can go that a car can’t.

Secondly, incorporate the parks and other pleasures along the way. If you ride with the traffic, apart from rubbing it in that you are better than they are, as you fly through all the queues, it can have its hazards. By utilising the back roads and parks you are safer and it’s far nicer.

Step 5 – All the gear…no idea

You may have heard this statement before, it’s not true. If you get the right gear, not only will you look the part, you will also feel the part. This is essential in making your ride to work a pleasure and not a chore.

So don’t be afraid, embrace the lycra!

Good luck and enjoy your ride.