Do you want to start cycling to work but aren’t sure where to begin? At Shine Lawyers, we know it can be difficult to kick start a new hobby, so we’ve prepared a list of six top tips to help inspiring cyclists make a lifestyle change that really goes the distance.
Ease into things
If you’re new to riding, or haven’t jumped on your bike in a while, don’t fear. There are many ways you can ease into cycling to work. Start slow by cycling on weekends until you feel confident and steady on two wheels. If you’re still not ready to tackle the full journey, try cycling only one leg of the trip. For instance, you could ride your bike to the train station.
Once you start riding to work, you may wish to alternate cycling days. Those who can take public transport or catch a ride home can take this even further by cycling into work but making their way home another way. The next day, simply reverse the process and cycle home.
One of the biggest deterrents to would-be cyclists is the daunting thought of facing your co-workers dripping in sweat. Fortunately, this is easily avoidable. Even if your workplace doesn’t have a shower, changing into work clothing after you arrive and investing in some wet wipes, deodorant and dry shampoo will have you presentable in no time.
If, like many people, you find that you continue to sweat even after you’ve finished exercising, it’s important to build in some cooling down time. Riding gently for the last part of your journey can also be helpful.
Avoid wardrobe woes
Transporting work clothing is easier said than done. Although you’ll never keep your clothes as crisp as when they first emerged from your wardrobe, you can minimise wrinkling by rolling rather than folding your outfit. Wear travel-friendly fabrics where possible and store fussy garments in your office in advance. You can even invest in specially designed garment pannier for your bike.
Finally, make sure you keep a pair of shoes at work. This will reduce both the weight of your pack, and the likelihood you’ll forget to pack work shoes and be forced to wear your stylish commuting shoes all day.
Don’t worry too much about gear
While it’s important to have a road-worthy bike, and the right accessories can certainly make your life easier, don’t get too caught up in the quest to find the perfect gear.
When starting out, the best bike is the bike that will get you where you need to go. If you discover a love for cycling you can always upgrade, but you’ll be doing it with the advantage of knowing your own needs first.
… But make sure you have the essentials!
Most Australians are aware that helmets must be worn on the road. However, did you know that helmets aren’t the only equipment you’re required to have?
Bells aren’t just a fun way to scatter pedestrians; they’re essential tools for your own safety and the safety of those around you. You may believe your own voice can do the job, but the law is clear – just as cars must have horns, bikes must have working bells.
As the days get shorter (or your work days get longer!), also be aware that you may end up cycling in the dark and make sure you’re visible to cars.
The most important things are to obey the road rules, be respectful to other road users and be alert. Unfortunately, this usually means leaving the headphones at home.
One natural mistake is to distance yourself from the moving traffic by hugging the curb. However, you face a bigger threat from the traffic which isn’t moving – specifically, car doors. It’s important to give yourself at least a door width’s clearance. This may feel daunting, but remember, you have as much a right to the road as motorists.
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Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 25, 2018.