There are more people than ever cycling in London; from daily commutes to little weekend pootles around the major parks, to fairweather cyclists and lycra-clad single speed junkies. It’s a fantastic way to improve fitness, improve mental health and well-being and often fits nicely into daily routines. Plus, it’s cheaper than going to the gym! And now it’s easier than ever with dedicated cycle paths, cycle super highways and bike hire schemes.
However, cycling in the UK’s capital city could be daunting if you’ve never done it before, so ofo, the dockless bike hire company is sharing some top tips for those who want to get to grips with their first time cycling in London.
Plan your route
Planning ahead is a great way to save time on your journey. It also gives you the opportunity to look for quiet streets or canal towpaths which can help break up a longer cycle. The London Cycling Campaign route planner is a great place to start if you’re looking for an easy to use tool to help you plan your first route.
Over the past several years, London has grown a network of dedicated cycle lanes that allows cyclists to ride whilst separated from traffic, however where there are no cycle lanes, keeping at least a metre away from the curb is best practice when cycling on a main road. Doing so will enable drivers to see you, and it’ll also help you miss the drain covers and any debris on the side of the road. Holding your line makes your movements more predictable and lets traffic pass safely. Ride in a straight line past any parked or stationary cars, instead of dodging in between them. Make sure you also allow at least a full door’s width between you in case a car door opens suddenly.
Plan your route
Planning ahead is a great way to save time on your journey. It also gives you the opportunity to look for quieter streets, cycleways & canal towpaths which can help break up a longer cycle. The London Cycling Campaign route planner is a great place to start if you’re looking for an easy to use tool to help you plan your first route.
Concentrate on your surroundings
Although you’re not behind the wheel of a car, you still need to signal when turning. Make sure you do so well in advance, and try to make eye contact with drivers if possible. Hold your whole arm straight out at a right angle to your body and use the whole of your hand rather than a single finger when signalling in order to avoid any confusion.
Red traffic lights mean stop for ALL road users. Cutting a red light is illegal, dangerous and could leave you with a hefty fine to pay.
Finally, enjoy your cycle journey, travelling by bike is one of the quickest ways to get around London, and you’ll discover some parts of the city you never knew existed before. Take your time whilst taking in the sights; there are some fantastic cycle routes past the London icons, as well as through parks and along the canal.