Top Tips for Starting Bike Commuting

Plan your route

Spring has finally made its return (well, officially at least), and for many that might mean thinking about starting (or returning to) biking to work, study, etc. We’ve posted various things over the years about cycle commuting and I thought it might be useful to collate here some quick top tips for getting the most out of your ride:

  • Plan your route, and perhaps even practise it on a quiet weekend before your first “real” run. In many cases, the best route for cycling is not the same as the one you would drive.
  • Keep an eye on the city rebuild roadworks via Transport for Christchurch; you might find that you have to take a temporary detour for a while.
Keep dry and warm
  • Perhaps you’re still a “fairweather cyclist”, but if you are going to ride when it’s a bit wet or cold, make sure you’re suitably prepared clothing-wise.
  • Need to carry stuff? A backpack, a basket, or a bike-rack might do the trick; if you need to take more, then a pannier or two might be a great investment.
  • Follow the road rules! It’s not a good look for your fellow riders if you flout the basics about stopping and giving way.
  • Keep your distance from those parked cars; otherwise they could cause you more grief than the passing cars.
  • Protect yourself from these

    See a maintenance or safety problem on your journey? Let someone know, so that it can be fixed soon.

  • Have a spare tube or repair kit handy in case you have a puncture on your way (don’t forget a mini bike-pump either!).
  • Enjoy the ride! It’s a pretty great city for cycling already, and things are only going to get better

What other tips do you have for those getting into commuting by bike?

4 thoughts on “Top Tips for Starting Bike Commuting”

  1. Stay calm! It’s easy to get angry if someone cuts you up or does something stupid when you’re driving. This anger can be enhanced by fear when you’re on a bike, but don’t lose your temper! Ride defensively, and if someone does something stupid (including if you make a mistake), staying calm and being able to explain to fellow road users is far more constructive, shouting just escalates a situation and no one learns anything…

  2. Good tips – I’ll indulge in a bit of shameless self promotion and point out that Everyday Cycling in Aotearoa New Zealand (Awa Press) has more information and advice if you want it. Details at [moderator – feel free to delete if inappropriate]

  3. Once you have got over the stress of fending for yourself in traffic you might start to find carrying your work clothes, shoes, towel etc tiresome. A luggage rack and saddle bag are a revelation. They are often sold in pairs but one is fine and won’t make the bike feel lop-sided. True, they don’t look cool – unlike a basket on the front – but they are literally a load off. Let the bike carry your stuff and you will feel so much lighter and freer.

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