Four top tips for cycling to work

3 minutes to read

Summer is in full swing. You’ve been meaning to get fitter and healthier for a while now. Has there ever been a better time to dust off the saddle and get cycling? We think not, so we’ve jotted down our four top tips for contractors who commute by bicycle:

1. Don’t be put off by the logistics

Don’t let a long commute stop you squeezing some exercise and fresh air into your daily routine. When you snap up an amazing contract at a distance not even Chris Froome would attempt at rush hour, you could still consider cycling to the train station, or parking the car and pedalling the rest of the way.

And with cycle hire schemes popping up all over the country, you don’t even need your own wheels to get started. Check out Bike & Go, Next Bike and Santander Cycles or try searching for bike sharing schemes in your local area.

2. Plan your route

Whether you’re en route to a new assignment or cycling to work for the very first time, it pays to plot your route out beforehand.

There are a number of free mapping sites (such as Sustrans or CycleStreets) which you can use to find the closest, quickest cycle paths and roads between you and your place of work.

If you can, always do a trial run. It’ll give you a realistic idea of how long the journey will take you. No one wants to turn up on the first day of a new assignment all late and sweaty, do they? It also means you can scope out amenities such as designated bike parking or garage spots ahead of time.

3. Cycle safely

It goes without saying that cycling is a healthier way of getting around than driving or taking the bus. However, injuries can happen and there are some steps you can take to help ensure you arrive at the office safely and feeling fit.

For example, have a quick stretch before setting off, to reduce the chance of muscle strain. It’s also important to ensure you’re correctly positioned on the bike – adjust your seat so that your knee is only slightly bent at the bottom of each pedal rotation.

When you’re first starting out cycling to work, particularly in a city, the temptation can be to keep yourself over to one side, out of the way of cars and buses. But the safest approach is actually to stay out from the kerb so you’re more visible to drivers and much less likely to have vehicles press you into tight spots.

Remember to use hand signals when you’re turning, and use your bike light when you’re cycling at night. And most importantly, follow the highway code.

4. Maintain your bike

Taking bicycle maintenance seriously will save you time and money in the long run and help prevent accidents. And when you get an early morning call to say your services are required urgently, the last thing you want to discover is a puncture.

Sustrans recommend a routine where you inspect your tyre pressure and light batteries once a week, clean your chain and monitor the tyre tread once a month and pop into a reliable repair shop at least once a year for a quick check-up. We suggest finding a local maintenance expert you’re fond of and sticking with them.