Starting to cycle to work
Is it safe? Will I get tired? What happens if it rains? What’s the best route? What about the traffic?
A few suggestions are below. Feel free to ask more questions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/southwarkcycle/
- take the Bike Train with experienced cyclists and enjoy safety and visibility in numbers.
- take up individual cycle training for advice on road positioning, communication with other road users and help in planning a safe and pleasant route to your workplace.
- plan a route in advance – you may be able to avoid main roads and bypass busy junctions.
- is there any indoor cycle parking in a car park, covered yard or broom store?
- if you have to park on the street, lock up securely with ‘two good locks‘.
- consider a folding bike that can tuck under a desk or in a corner. You can hire one from some stations, including Peckham Rye, or try one for a day for free.
- Is there a Bike Users’ Group at work? If not, we can help you set one up to encourage your employer to provide facilities like parking and showers.
The bike (etc)
- find a good local bike shop. Ask around for recommendations.
- get advice about the bike that suits your needs. Don’t splash out right away but try (or hire) a few different styles.
- look at the tax-free Cycle Scheme to spread the cost of purchasing a bike and accessories over a year and save money.
- locks and lights are essential.
- mudguards make wet weather cycling much more pleasant.
- a rack takes the weight off your back – add panniers or bungee a rucksack onto the top.
- consider investing in puncture-resistant tyres.
- most of the year, an average London commute at easy pace won’t leave you sweaty.
- if you need formal work clothes, consider keeping shoes and spare shirts at the office.
- your everyday waterproof may be fine to ride in – try it before investing in cycle-specific kit.
- gloves are essential in winter, but also help reduce jarring on wrists and shoulders.
- prepare clothes, bike and lunch the night before. You’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of it if you can just get up and go!
- try out different commute routes on a Sunday when streets are quiet.
- allow plenty of extra time in the early days while you’re learning the route.
- build up slowly: try cycling in to work one day, leaving your bike there and cycling home the next day.
- build your confidence and stamina with rides to the park, the shops and with other people
- enjoy it!