Commuting by bike

Keen to join the thousands of people starting their day with an invigorating ride to the office? Check out our top tips for getting your day off on the right foot.

1. Plan your route

Plan your route using one of the many online tools, but don’t just look for the most direct way to reach your destination. Consider using dedicated cycle routes – when you’re head is fully of deadlines and upcoming meetings, it can be much more pleasant than dealing with the hustle of busy traffic. Or to keep things interesting, why not alter you route from day to day?

If you're more at home with a map rather than an app, download our East Staffordshire route maps and start planning your journey today.

Once you’ve planned your route, it’s worthwhile testing it out over the weekend, when the roads are relatively quiet compared to rush hour.

2. Ride safely

Riding a bike is a relatively safe activity, but you always need to make sure you're well protected, just in case something goes wrong. Make sure you always wear a suitable, well fitting helmet, suitable clothing and always observe the highway code.

3. Be prepared

A saddlebag or backpack with a few spares, tools and mini-pump is a perfect insurance policy, as riding always beats pushing!

Check the weather forecast and get your gear ready before you go to bed. The easier it is to hop on your bike and get out of the door in the morning, the less likely you are to decide against it.

4. Pack smart

Keep a lightweight waterproof jacket in your bag along with a spare tube, some basic tools, a mini pump and some latex or nitrile gloves to protect your hands from dirt should you need to fix a puncture.

5. Check your pressure

Slogging along on squidgy tyres is no fun and will make your ride to work harder than it needs to be. The recommended pressure for your tyres is often written on the sidewall, so make a note of the number and regularly pump your tyres up to the suggested figure.

6. Make a change

Did you know most bike commuters wear their regular clothes?

Commuting in day-to-day clothes is fine. But if you do ride in cycling kit, keep extra clothes, socks and shoes at the office. You don’t necessarily need a specific set of clothing for riding your bike but it can still be nice to switch to clean, dry clothes when you arrive. Leave some baby wipes and deodorant in your desk drawer for freshening up on arrival if your place of work doesn’t have a shower.

7. Accessorise your bike

Installing mudguards on your bike will stop you getting wet and muddy if it rains.

Mudguards can make cycling in the rain bearable – even pleasurable. Also, don't forget to add front and rear lights to make sure you’re seen if you're riding at night.

8. Use all your senses

Use your ears, not just your eyes. Leave the headphones at home and pay attention to your surroundings. You can’t see what’s behind you but often you can hear traffic approaching.

9. Be considerate

When pulling up at a junction, don’t overtake all the other cyclists patiently waiting at the lights and head straight for the front of the queue. Manners shouldn’t go out the window just because you’re on a bike – a considerate cyclist is a good cyclist.

10. Love your bike

A clean bike is a happy bike. Your components will last a lot longer and you’ll enjoy smoother rides if you take care of your machine. A quick wipe down of the front and back rims will remove grit that can ruin your brakes and a dot of oil on your chain will keep things running smoothly. Please visit our bike maintenance page for tips on maintaining your bike.