Tips for summer cycling from British Cycling
Interested in getting to cycling? British Cycling have provided some essential tips and advice.
Summer is the perfect time to dust off your bike and explore the many cycling paths and routes around the UK. Cycling is a great experience, enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life.
Beginners guide to buying a bike
If you're just starting out, buying a bike can be a little confusing. With so many different bikes available from hundreds of manufacturers, and lots of price points, where do you start?
Generally appearing at £400 plus, road bikes are very lightweight, and usually have thin tyres and drop-handlebars. They're great for speed and long rides on tarmac.
The mountain bike is the most popular type of bike on the market and with good reason. It can go anywhere thanks to its strong frame and wheels, powerful brakes, knobbly tyres, wide range gearing and confidence-inspiring riding position. While slower than a road bike on tarmac, a mountain bike can be easily adapted for road duty by swapping to slick tyres.
These, are a cross between a road and mountain bike. They generally have the larger wheels of the road bike, with tyre widths midway between a road and mountain bike, which means a comfortable, fast-rolling ride.
If you're pushed for space or would like to combine your cycling with other forms of transport, a folding bike could be perfect for you. They pack down small and will fit in car boots, on trains and under desks.
Essentials when out riding your bike
Staying hydrated is important on a ride of any length, so don't forget to pick up your water bottle before you head out.
Tools and tubes
Be prepared for getting a puncture, with a spare inner tube, puncture repair kit and a set of tyre levers. You will also need a bike pump to inflate your tyre once you have made the repair. Carrying a multi-tool is also a good bit of kit to have with you.
Money & ID
It's always handy to have a bit of cash on you while you're out, and having some form of photo ID is useful should anything happen to you while out on the road.
If you're riding early in the morning or late at night it's vital it's vital that you take a set of lights with you, not only to improve your own vision but to make yourself as visible as possible to other road users.
There may be the odd occasion when you suffer a mechanical problem or are involved in an incident when you will need someone to come and get you. Having a fully charged mobile phone is essential in this situation.
Keep it secure
Planning a stop for a coffee and a cake? Make sure you have a bike lock with you. The last thing you want is to be stuck miles from home with no bike.
Is my bike safe to ride?
5 things to check before going for a bike ride.
- Check your brakes - apply both front and back brakes firmly, which should stop the bike in its tracks if they're working effectively.
- Wheels secure? Check both wheels are firmly attached to the frame by rocking it from side to side.
- Something to hold on to. Check your handlebars are secure in the stem and the stem's secure in the front forks. Try to rotate the bars forward and backward and side to side. If there's any movement, tighten the bolts.
- Try out your gears. On smooth, flat ground, away from traffic, check that you can change easily from one gear to another.
- Shine a light. Has your bike got working lights? Remember if you're riding your bike at night you need a steady or flashing, fixed white light on the front and a steady or flashing, fixed red light on the back.
In the saddle
Hobbyists, families, road cyclists, mountain bikers, commuters and keep fit enthusiasts – all have one thing in common; their love of cycling exposes them to the UK weather. Key to preparation is keeping a close eye on the forecast and the Met Office offers cyclists a range of weather information and weather-related warnings to be able to help them travel safely. As Sam Jones at Cycling UK puts it, “If you cycle frequently in the UK, there’s one thing you nearly always do before leaving the house – check the weather. It’s all very well saying, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing,’ but an accurate forecast can help you make the right decisions that will allow you to enjoy your ride.”