With figures showing that more people cycle than drive during London’s rush hour, commuting by bike is clearly more than a fad. In fact, numbers are still on the rise and it’s hardly surprising…. It saves money, is good for your health and it’s fun.
Aside from the implications for cycling infrastructure, bike lanes are getting more congested, so making sure you enjoy and benefit from the daily ride might become more of a challenge. Here are some tips on how to stay sane, safe and enjoy every turn of your wheels.
1. Stay relaxed – even the parish vicar can get a little hot under the dog-collar in rush hour, particularly if motorists or other cyclists are demonstrating levels of recklessness. ‘Zen’ is the watchword here. Take your time, stay cool amidst the onset of adrenalin, and don’t rush.
2. Vary your route – You can really benefit from mixing up your route to and from work. Obviously it may be time sensitive, so try a new route in the evening and then maybe try it in reverse the morning after. Spicy
3. Look after your bike – Wash it, lock it up safely, inflate your tyres regularly and show it a little tenderness.
4. Stay alert – as obvious as this may sound, staying aware of other road users, hazards and/or pedestrians is vital. Also, avoid ‘ogling’ or observing street-life unless you’re waiting at the lights.
5. Respect the traffic – That means other people on bikes, other road vehicles and their drivers/livestock. Always give hand signals and don’t jump the lights. There’s a good reason traffic signals exist and just because you’ve not got a number plate or an engine doesn’t mean you’re exempt.
6. Brake steadily, and not too sharply, particularly in heavy bike traffic.
7. Don’t be too competitive – really, it’s fun to be first to the lights or top of the small incline but it can be dangerous and also pointless trying to overtake every rider you see.
8. Use a bell. Rather than screaming down the ear of pedestrians or other road users, a decent bell can save you blushes and also is more fun to use (singing optional). Ding ding!
9. Smile, you’re cycling.