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Starting to cycle to work

Andy Cawdell

#Cycle2Work – So you want to prepare for our bike to work day – #Cycle2Work.

What should you think about?

People ask us is it safe? Will I get tired? What happens if it rains? What’s the best route in? What about the traffic?

Here is some of our advice – more if you ask on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/southwarkcycle/

Safety

  • we do a bike train because there is safety in numbers and experienced cyclists to keep you out of danger and show you the way
  • Southwark provide one to one cycle training see https://www.cycleconfident.com/sponsors/southwark/
  • use lights during the daytime as well as in the dark. They will help to make you visible to other road users
  • don’t fear traffic, always hold your position on the road and only give way when it is safe for YOU to do so

Motivation

  • prepare everything the night before: kit, shoes, bike, and lunch, whatever you need. You’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of it if you can just get up and go!
  • you may start off with great intentions, but after a month of riding to and from work daily become disenchanted as you find you become more and more tired and have had a few soakings.
  • Your bike then disappears in to the shed only to appear on eBay one year later. So for a commuter newbie we suggest a slow progressive build up, with any variance of days riding to suit. Perhaps like ….
  • Week 1, ride to work Tuesday. Leave bike at work. Ride home Wednesday.
    Week 2, ride to work Monday, ride home Tuesday. Ride to and from work Thursday.
    Week 3, ride to and from work Monday. Ride to work Tuesday and home Wednesday. Ride to and from work Thursday.

    Repeat weeks 2 and 3 alternately for a month or so before increasing to a daily commute or as many days as you are is comfortable with.

    And be organised: if you are going to change leave your clothes and shoes at work for the next day so you have less to carry on the way in.

    Or Mike Daney on cyclingweekly.co.uk/news;

  • find out if there are showers at work
  • consider using Google maps to look at alternate routes.
  • drive a variation of different bike routes to and from work a few times to get an idea of dangerous spots and or possible alternative street paths
  • pack what you’ll need for the day in a backpack or a bicycle pack
  • ask wife or husband to drop and pick up kids the days you ride. As a trade-off, cook a good dinner those nights
  • enjoy your ride

Work issues

  • make sure your boss knows you are trying cycling to work so you may be late, wet whatever
  • decide if you are  going to cycle in work clothes or change when you get there and work out where to do it – see below
  • If you don’t have a shower at work use baby-wipes?
  • does your work place have bike parking – if not why not!!  See securing your bike and BUGS below

The bike

  • find a good local bike shop and stick with them
  • buy a basic hybrid to start with – perhaps £500
  • mudguards, locks and lights essential!
  • invest in a set of puncture resistant tires they prove their worth by preventing a lot of time wasting puncturesSecuring your bike
  • is there indoor storage – part of a car park perhaps, the old broom store? – this is best
  • if you have to park and lock on the streets – if so get two good locks – see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxBmfvwJnZM
  • or get a folder and put it under your desk or next to your workstation – see “the bike” above
  • Your clothes
  • if you change for women use dresses?  – Easy to roll up and carry, ready to put on. Keep shoes at work. Ditto spare knicks, bra, tights etc.
  • for men keep work shirts in the office, takes clean stuff and brings last week’s dirties home all on one day meaning you only carries a back pack once a week?
  • if you change clothes, keep some dry gear cycling gear at work just in case you can’t dry it before your home ride.Money
    Want more Money? Then cycle to work. You save money that you would have spend on petrol for the car or train, tube and bus fare.  Just take care not to spend more now on bike gear and upgrades  than you save!

    Updated 14/2/2017

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