You could have had a new bike, or maybe it’s cause the weathers lifted, but if you’ve just started cycling to work these small mistakes could be holding you back. These are the most common mistakes we see novices make on their cycling commute, so hopefully you’ll be able to pick up a thing or two.
Not only will this slow you down, it can be quite dangerous. It’s one of the most common things we see, people that have under inflated tyres. A proper track pump isn’t expensive and can be invaluable to helping everything run smoothly.
Having under inflated tyres can massively damage your rims, which is a much more expensive fix than pumping a bit of air in. Air is free after all! Low tyre pressures can also increase your risk of getting a puncture.
The Wrong Tools
It’s easy to assume that because you’ve got a new bike, you’re not going to get a puncture. Or maybe you haven’t had a flat for years, so you’ll be ok. But there’s nothing worse than getting caught out bang in between the office & your house and having to walk the rest of the way. Trust us, it’s a long way back from there.
Having the tools to repair it can be a real game changer, and they don’t take up much space at all. Anything that could come loose or break is worth carrying an extra multi-tool for. You don’t have to bring the whole tool box but you’ll thank yourself for having the essentials. Also learn how to use them!
The Wrong Kit
Though it’s often best to start out cheap to get you off the ground, high quality kit is worth the investment. It’ll keep you comfier, warmer, drier. It’ll greatly improve your riding experience and you’ll really thank yourself for it. Don’t let the kit let you down when you’re out on the road. Small items such as arm or leg warmers can make all the difference.
You can slip them off at a moments notice, and put them back on if the weather quickly turns. It’s all worth considering, cause if you get caught out, you’ll pay the price. Another tip is to check the weather before you leave. It might be sunny outside for the way in, but if you’re coming home in a thunderstorm you’ll want to be prepared. We are in the U.K. after all. A lightweight jacket that can fit in your bag could make a huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to change gear, it’s your friend. You wouldn’t see the top cyclists in the tour de France trying to climb a mountain in the big ring. You’re only going to tire your legs excessively. Learn to use the gears and use them as your friends. Unless you’re on a fixed gear bike, make sure you learn how to use them.
Ideally change in anticipation of the hill, bend or traffic lights. So it’s much easier to get going when you get there, and you don’t have to clunk through the gears putting a lot of pressure on your chain. Make sure you keep your legs spinning at a pace that feels comfortable will make the whole ride smoother. And it can keep you shiny side up when you get to traffic lights (if you’re clipped in)
The Wrong Heights
Whether it’s your handlebars, saddle or even the crank length on the pedals. Making sure you have a bike that fits is really important for a number of reasons. There isn’t a definite fit for a bike, but there’s certainly an optimum window. This can help you ride faster, smoother and prevent injury or any long term damage.
Make sure you get the most out of your legs by getting someone to have a look at your position and buying a bike that fits. And if you can afford it and you’re planning on riding more, it’s worth considering a bike fit. It’s not just performance riders that need one. Even leisure riders should consider a bike fit to avoid injuries and discomforts when they’re out in the saddle.
A Poorly Maintained Bike
You’ll hear them before you see them, the brakes catching on the rims, or the chain clunking through the gears. It’s no surprise that something is just waiting to break on these bikes and you’re wasting a lot of energy. By performing a few simple tasks at the end of the week, you can make sure your bike is running smoothly. This is even more important if you’re riding when the weather isn’t at its best.
Even if you can’t do it yourself, the local shop will be able to quickly check your brakes, put some lube on your chain and check it over for you. It’s much cheaper to keep the bike maintained than to repair any broken parts.
The Wrong Locks
This isn’t a fun one, unfortunately there are still people out there that like to take things that aren’t theirs. This is an especially big issues in larger cities such as London or Manchester. Just because its locked up outside a busy office doesn’t mean it’ll be ok. Thieves are getting smarter & it’s no less common.
Making sure you have a big lock can quite literally save your bike. Even if you have to carry it on the train on the first day, and leave it locked in the office, you won’t regret it! There’s nothing worse than heading out to ride home and finding half of your padlock.
Share The Path
We’re all in it together, make sure you share the road or path. Cyclists are the most at risk on the roads, so always be aware of your surroundings. Give way to families & pedestrians, but be wary of cars. Make sure you don’t get over confident, cars can very easily take you off the bike.
Often cars think they have right of way as they’re bigger than bikes, but it’s not always the case. Be mindful & careful to make sure everyone gets from A to B safely.
If you need any new gear to get your from A to B as well as possible, we’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.