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Everything you need to know to ride a bike to work

According to the National Travel Survey, two-thirds of people in the UK over the age of five never cycle on average, or only once a year, and a European Commission survey found that only 4% of people in the UK go cycling daily. These are not impressive figures – in the EU only Cyprus (2%) and Malta (1%) have a lower percentage of daily cyclists.

As the numbers increase, they approach the 43% of Dutch cyclists Every day, the benefits for both individuals and society at large are incredible – think of lower air pollution and a healthier population that puts pressure on health services reduced. And as more and more people start cycling, the infrastructure will continue to improve, which in turn will result in more cyclists cycling in safer environments.

There is no better time than August to ride a bike to work, as the streets become much quieter during rush hour without them children being brought to and from school and workers having to go for their vacations take free. Then there's the annual Cycle-to-Work Day on Thursday, August 8th, where you can win a sweet Specialized e-bike this year as you record your trip to the online community Love To Ride.

The Cycling UK membership group is also active in the Big Bike Revival until August, which offers free repairs and services at events across the country to help people get back on their bikes. Be sure to wear sunscreen if the UV index is high for your skin type ̵

1; and do not forget to go to your knees.

So, ask yourself, why do not you ride your bike to work? And hopefully, the reasons you come up with are discussed below. Unless the reason is that you work at home. You are off the hook.

Why should you go to work by bike?

"Biking to work allows you to include in your weekly training schedule, without expensive gym membership or personal trainers," says Luke Harper, head of British Cycling Partnership at HSBC UK. "You get stronger, endorphins go through your body, and you start the day at a natural high.

"A bicycle is also cheap to buy compared to a car, especially with so many employers taking part in the work cycle-to-work scheme, and it's a lot cheaper to run. Many UK cities also have bicycle sharing programs that make using a bike easy and affordable.

"Cycling has numerous advantages, but perhaps makes cycling the most fun . Most of us learned cycling as a child, as it was an activity that offered a sense of freedom. "

So you can get fitter, save money, and have fun." It can also help with long-term, sustainable weight loss. "According to University of East Anglia, you could lose seven pounds in two years if you throw the car away in favor of a bicycle. if your daily commute takes more than 30 minutes.

Self-directed commuting can also improve concentration and, according to an analysis by 18,000 British commuters published in the journal Preventive Medicine the stress is said to be The investigation also found that "the longer people travel by car, the worse their mental well-being is."

We would also suggest that most people in cities ride bicycles to work at least as fast as with public transport If you are traveling at a loose pace, because you have a more direct route can choose and the only unexpected delay can be a flat tire.

Is cycling dangerous to work?

A common fear, especially in London, but the dangers of cycling are overplayed. Take it slow and your self-confidence will build up quickly.

"Our perception of the dangers of cycling far surpasses reality. For many of us, these are mental barriers that prevent us from getting on two wheels, "says Harper.

"You do not have to be a cyclist to ride a bicycle. If you are nervous about going to work, there are ways to boost your self-confidence. This also includes practice rides on the weekends, where there is usually less traffic. In this way, you can familiarize yourself with the route. We often think about cycling to commute but, in fact, cycling in your local park or on national cycling routes can help you to relearn the skills or techniques that can be rusty if you are not for one Cycling are on the way and help to boost your confidence before you use the streets.

These three tips for safe urban commuting by Chris Sidwells, author of The Complete Bike Book should also be helpful.

"In heavy, slow traffic, get into the vehicle flow and drive further away from the roadside," says Sidwells. "This prevents drivers from pushing you to the side of the road and shunts pedestrians."

"When you turn to the left in a bend, you drive lightly on the lane so subsequent vehicles will not force you." If a van or truck has no rear window, he has a blind spot to the rear, "says Sidwells being extra careful. If you can not see the mirrors, the driver can not see you.

Some statistics from Cycling UK show that cycling is safe with only one cyclist killed on British roads for every 47 million kilometers traveled by bicycle, and mile after mile the risk of death is about the same as walking Moreover, cycling is so good for your health that, statistically, years of life gained outweigh those years lost by injuries by about 20: 1.

Do cyclists have to worry about air pollution?

We recently received Andrew Grieve interviewed Senior Air Quality Analyst at King's College London, who cited a study examining whether pollution is ever so bad that it's worth taking to the streets – and the answer is positive "The study found that air pollution in London and other European cities is so low that running and cycling are always beneficial," says Grieve.

In extremely rare cases, TfL will issue alerts in London if air pollution is very high and very high It's worth not biking outdoors (you can sign up for SMS alerts or download an app via airText) , In general, however, the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the potential risks of air pollution. And the more people ride, the lower the risk.

"Cycling can be a solution to many of the problems facing cities across the UK, be it obesity, depression or pollution," says Harper. "Ultimately, more cyclists can reduce the number of cars on the road, reduce pollution and contribute to a greener, fitter and healthier UK."

How fit do I have to be?

It depends on how far away you are from your work and if there are massive hills along the way, but we'll tell you a little secret – that does not fit at all. Cycling in the city is usually associated with short, light exertions that are interrupted by traffic lights often enough to keep you out of breath. Of course, you can push up and down the intensity of your workout while cycling, but if you want to tick your 30-minute daily moderate activity, cycling is ideal.

You do not have to cycle Everyday work – when you get tired first, change the days until your fitness and confidence increase and you feel like doing more. And if you live too far away from work to cycle the entire route, a folding bike can be a clever solution to part of the journey, and it can be stowed more easily at home or at work than ordinary bicycles.

Am I on the way? Sweat?

Make yourself comfortable and do not need a shower when you get to work. And when you get sweaty, buying a bike shell helps you, as lightweight, sweat-wicking materials really make a difference. You do not have to rely on Lycra everywhere – a winter top and jacket will help you find what you're looking for, and they're usually odorless, so you can wear them all week without having to wash them. There are also many stylish cycling gear that have the technical details you need to stay cool and sweat-free while being fashionable enough to wear off your bike.

If you do not want to sweat on your way, there is always the possibility of an e-bike. Driving with some support is still a good exercise, but it's just in the intensity of walking so you do not sweat. If e-bikes are completely new to you, check our e-bike shopping guide for the information you need.

Do you need to wear a helmet?

There's no law that says you need to wear a helmet In the UK, cycling campaign groups are very active against any attempt to introduce such a law. The argument is simple: forced helmets make fewer people ride bikes, and the best way to make cycling safer is to engage more people.

Regardless of the legal requirements, you may choose to wear a bicycle helmet – they can save your life in a certain type of accident, although you should not expect it to do much good if you are hit by a motor vehicle. If you really want to take a helmet with you at the end of your ride, a flip-up helmet that you can put in a bag might be the thing for you.

Which lights do I need?

The minimum requirement under British law is a front light, a taillight, a reflector and reflectors on your pedals. The lights may blink, but must flash between 60 and 240 times per minute. There are some more detailed rules on the amount of light emitted, but in practice you do not need to worry about it. Just buy some lights and bring them from sunset to sunrise on your bike.

If you want to do more with your bike lights, there are many great options. Lights projecting laser images onto the ground several feet in front of your bike, wheel lights, reflective clothing and ankle straps are all things you should try to make absolutely sure that you are visible on the road.

Do you need special equipment?

In short, no. Apart from bike lights and a bicycle, you do not have to buy anything you need, although you probably also want a helmet and a bike shell. In addition, fenders are the next purchase you could consider if your bike is not included. When you cycle in your work clothes, you do not want them splashed on the way to the office. Also, the people who drive around you, do not want to be spattered.

Once you get into the pendulum movement, you may also want to buy a bike backpack. This is light and has some kind of airflow system to prevent your back from getting too sweaty while driving. If you do not want to have such concerns, you can invest in luggage bags and store all your gear on wheels.

Another type of equipment you may need is a route planner. This could be a bike app that records the best routes – whether you want the fastest or quietest roads – or a full-featured bike computer that's attached to your handlebars to track and guide you.

How much will I have to spend on a commuter bike?

The good news is that there is something for every budget. Ollie Glover, an adult bicycle expert in Halfords, says, "Generally, for 300 to 700 pounds, you'll get something reliable, robust, and hopefully less thieving target if you lock it out."

If you can figure out how What do you want to spend? Think about how much you want to spend on repairs. "Put simply, the more you spend, the better the ride will be, but the more expensive the repair work will be," says Glover. "A bike worth £ 100 to £ 200 can be used on one or two days a week, and repairs over one year do not add up to more than the cost of the bike, and bikes that cost over £ 1,000 are fast, light and perfect for the terrain, but repairs are costly and may be more of a target for thieves. "

If you have an employer, you should look it up before handing it in. It can be a bit of a complicated process, but essentially Get tax-free cash on any bike – including e-bikes – and accessories you would use for commuting.

What are the hidden costs?

We see that nothing passes and we like it. In addition to the cost of a bicycle, the cost of equipment, maintenance, new parts, and possibly insurance may be incurred.

Merlin Cycles has one impressive piece of coaster mathematics carried out and the cost of 30 km determined Two-hour drive by car and bicycle over a year. The online bike store and manufacturer has collected things like the cost of a bicycle over its lifetime (which was thought to take a little over four years), the average cost of adding your ride to your home insurance and a laundry list of extras – many in which we did not invest.

The people of Merlin put everything in a pocket calculator and there was £ 4,011 for the pleasure of sitting in a car stuck in a traffic jam for a year £ 268 cruising along with the wind in your hair. You have not even deducted the cost of a gym membership that you do not really need to worry about now.

In our experience, the cost of annual maintenance has brought us over this value, but then we've shrunk a bit of error. For example, do not assume that you know what the pressure in your rear tire will be – this can lead to problems that can be … more expensive.

Nevertheless, Merlin has reservations about cracking the numbers. Here's how economical it is to cycle to work if you want to check the function.

How much maintenance does a bike need? What is the absolute minimum that someone can get away with?

"Keep the bike clean and lubricated, and you'll find that the parts last longer," says Glover. "As a bare minimum, they fix things when they break, but repairs are more expensive if you replace parts instead of waiting for them. If you commute about 50 km a week, every six months (or if something does not feel or sound right), have your bike checked out. Regular cycling checks can help identify a problem before it occurs. The wheels and powertrain can spin during everyday grinding, and waiting or replacing parts before they break prevents further damage.

Will not my bike be stolen?

A legitimate question. After all, there is no surefire way to make sure your bike is never stolen, but you can cut the odds massively. The most effective strategy is to make stealing your bike more stressful than it pays, or at least more stressful than the bike parked next to it. Every year nearly 400,000 bikes are stolen in the UK, so every cyclist is out there.

Make a note of your frame number and other important details such as those of your bicycle manufacturer before registering for your ride on bikeregister.com. Color and all unique identifiers. You can also attach a coded label to your bike to identify it and deter thieves. The police often have events where they do it for you for free. Try to search the website of your local armed forces.

When it comes to your castle, do not save. Locking a 1,000-pound bike with a 10-pound lock is not a smart move. In an ideal world, you always have a secure indoor area where you can park your bike, at least at work and at home. However, you also need at least one lock if you need to keep it outside.

Sold Sure, a The nonprofit company run by the Master Locksmiths Association rates locks as gold, silver or bronze. It determines how long they stay a thief – gold is five minutes, silver three and bronze one. It may sound depressing that even the best locks cost you only five minutes, but if you park in a well-lit public place, five minutes' work will hopefully scare off potential thieves. Purchasing two different types of gold locks – a chain lock and a D-lock – gives you the highest level of security, as a thief needs different tools for each lock.

Always make sure you lock your bike into something solid and firm – and make sure it's not a short pole where a thief can lift, lock and carry your bike anywhere you go! Lock first your frame (it is the most expensive part of your bike), then the rear wheel (ideally the frame and the rear wheel can be locked at once) and then the front wheel. If you have wheels with quick release, a lock is required for each, because thieves can jump from the wheel within seconds. The less space there is between the lock and your bike, the better, because that means there is less room for thieves to maneuver against the lock.

I'm not sure if I can ride a bike.

If you have ever ridden a bicycle, you will probably only need a short drive to get going again. If you're worried about it, you should not commute the first time – follow in the footsteps of the National Cycle Network of Sustrans, such as the short rides recommended for people living in London, Manchester and Newcastle ,

If you want official coaching, you may receive it for free. Cycle Confident offers sessions in most London districts. For more information, visit the website or your community. Cycle Confident occasionally holds meetings outside of London. So it's worth looking at your community's website for ways to re-learn cycling with Cycle Confident or another organization.

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