In the UK, we love cycling. Around 7.5 million people enjoy their bikes every year.
More than ever, people are getting out on their bikes and clocking up the miles. For some, this includes daily commuting by bike. If you’ll be returning to the office soon and are considering cycling to work, you may be overwhelmed by all of the info out there.
We created this handy bike to work guide to help people feel safer when incorporating cycling into their commuting routine. From cycling for beginners and cycling safety to accessory must-haves, our guide will ensure you can have all the gear and plenty of ideas.
What is the cycle to work scheme?
To start cycling to work, you’ll need a bike. If you have a bike that’s looking a little worse for wear, the Government Cycle to Work scheme is a great way to upgrade. Your employer can register with a scheme provider and then allow you to buy a bike through the company. Over an agreed amount of time, you pay for it directly from your wages each month, interest-free. The cycle to work scheme also:
- Promotes a healthier lifestyle and can improve overall wellbeing
- Reduces your carbon footprint
- Moderates the number of cars on the road, easing congestion
- Saves money on fuel and parking
- Includes all bike types including e-bikes, mountain bikes, and specialist cycles
What are the Cycling safety equipment essentials?
Your priority when biking to work should be cycle safety. It’s important to be confident on the bike before you head out onto the road. Take your bike for a spin around the block or to your local park to familiarise yourself with cycling again, so you’re fully prepped for your commute. You’ll also need to get your hands on these cycle safety essentials:
- Reflectors and visibility accessories
- Bicycle gloves (weather dependant)
- Clear or tinted shatter-proof eyewear to protect your eyes from the sun, dirt, and bugs.
- Weather-ready clothing
- Water bottle holder and water bottle to stay hydrated
- Front light
- Puncture repair kit
- Bell to alert people around you
- Vodafone Curve bike light and GPS Tracker
- A multi-tool to tighten loose screws, adjust saddle and more
- Bike Lock (you can find out more about the best bike locks here.)
Cycling for beginners
Being a beginner at anything means the only way is up. Once you have your bike, kit and tools ready to go, it’s time to start spinning those wheels. The Government cycle safety website is a good place to start. It has all the latest guidance and advice on how to stay safe and explains your responsibility as a cyclist. You may think you know all there is to know about cycling safety. Put your knowledge to the test with this cycling safety quiz.
Here are some more safety and security tips to get your cycle to work journey started:
Keep track of your bike
It’s important to keep track of your bike for your safety and peace of mind. The Vodafone Curve bike light and GPS Tracker helps you keep an eye on your bike. The built-in Vodafone Smart SIM means it can send alerts to your phone from far away.
Carry your info with you
Keeping your medical information and ID with you while cycling to work, you can easily call for help. You can register your medical information on your iPhone or Android device so it can be easily accessed in an emergency.
How to register your bike
Register your bike on the Bike Identification and Database register to help reclaim your bike if it’s lost or stolen.
Find the best bike route
Research is key to finding the best cycling route. Have a chat with other cyclists that may know a great route, or visit sites like Bikemap that has over 8 million cycle routes planned out. If you’re London based, the cycle highways website has great information on the safest and quickest routes.
Insure yourself and your bike
Insurance is there to protect you. If your bike is stolen and you’re left without a ride home or to work, insurance plans can help cover your transport. Third party liability insurance can protect you as well – it can cover costs if you have an accident with a vehicle or third party. It’s not a legal requirement, but the costs of being found at fault for an accident can be expensive. Visit some insurance comparison websites to find the best plan for you and your bike.
Maintain your bike tyres
The correct tyre pressure and how often you need to pump them will depend on the bike type, brand, and usage, so it’s difficult to recommend a one-size-fits-all PSI. It’s a good idea to check your bike over before every use and get your bike serviced regularly to ensure it’s in peak condition.
And finally, here are our top 3 tips and tricks for commuting by bike…
1. Be prepared for all weather
British weather, isn’t it great? One minute you’re searching for your sunglasses and the next you’re wringing out your jacket in the staff room sink. Cycling to work means you’ll be exposed to the elements. Mudguards will keep you and your bike mud-free and a waterproof Pac-a-Mac like this one is lightweight and easy to carry.
2. Get into (appropriate) gear
Wearing cycling-friendly clothes is obvious, but don’t forget a change of clothes. That important meeting you have might not hit the mark if you’re dressed in bright high-vis and Lycra. The right shoes are essential too. Good quality trainers work great, but clip-in cycle shoes are available if you’re a more advanced rider.
3. Bike luggage
It’s not a tiny suitcase for your bike, but also, it sort of is. Small bike-friendly bags can be attached to your bike to carry all your bike to work essentials. They carry the essentials and make it easy to find what you’re looking for. Cycling accessories are also available through the Cycle to Work Scheme.
Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to consider commuting by bike or feel safer doing so with these tips. And remember, even Chris Hoy had to start somewhere. Next stop, the Olympics.