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Starting to cycle to work

Southwark Cyclists

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/

Safety

  • 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.

At work

  • 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.

Clothes

  • 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.

Motivation

  • 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!

 

Updated 12/04/2017

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